named-hurricane-fran.gifAs we enter the 2016 Hurricane Season beginning June 1st, don't wait to prepare. It's important to be prepared, year-around, for whatever Mother Nature brings. History has taught us that lack of awareness and preparation is a common theme among Floridians, and Sumter County residents are no exception.

By taking the time to learn what your vulnerabilities are, you stand a much greater chance of coming out on the other side, with minimal damage to your home and your family. Even though forecasters are calling for a less active hurricane season this year, it only takes 1 to disrupt our lives, so it’s best to be prepared for every situation.

Facts About Hurricanes

Hurricanes can be up to 300 miles across, including wind span. Since Florida is 500 miles from Jacksonville to Key West, and 160 miles wide at its most distant points, a hurricane can potentially swallow almost the entire state.
Hurricane hazards come in many forms, including high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. This makes it all the more vital for you and your family to develop a plan that includes all of these hazards. Just remember to keep it simple, as it is difficult to remember a detailed plan in a high-stress situation. And the first and most important thing that anyone should do when facing a hurricane threat is use common sense.


One of the most frequently asked questions is ‘Should I evacuate?’ If you are asked to evacuate, you should do so without delay. However, unless you live in a low-lying area, an area that floods frequently, or in manufactured housing, it is unlikely that emergency managers will ask you to evacuate. That means that it is important for you and your family to have a plan that makes you as safe as possible in your home. If you live in a site-built home, as many in Sumter County do, it is strongly suggested that you secure your home as best you can, and stay put.

The National Hurricane Center, near Miami, keeps a constant watch on oceanic storm-breeding areas for tropical disturbances that may form hurricanes. If a disturbance intensifies into a tropical storm, with rotary circulation and wind speeds above 39 miles per hour, the storm center will give the storm a name.

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew blew across southern Florida at speeds of 140-160 mph (225-258 kph). In terms of property loss, Andrew was one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit North America. The property devastation was massive. Entire communities were wiped out and had to be rebuilt. Hurricane Andrew left 50 people dead and caused over $25 billion in damages.

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

Expected Damage
74-95 mph
Usually limited to shrubbery, trees, poorly anchored signs, small boats and un-anchored mobile homes.
96-110 mph
Major damage to mobile homes, piers, poorly constructed signs, and boats. May damage roofs and windows, and cause flooding in low-lying areas.
111-130 mph
Low-lying areas flooded 3-5 hours before hurricane center arrives. Unprotected mobile homes destroyed, uproot trees and structural damage to buildings.
131-155 mph
Critical damage to protected mobile homes and roofs, knock down trees and power lines. Usually requires evacuation.
155+ mph
Complete roof failure. Large-scale evacuation of low-lying areas. All mobile homes and boats destroyed, smaller buildings may collapse.