Here we go again. We are privileged to live and work in South Florida with beautiful beaches in our own backyard. But, with the sunshine and the surf comes the yearly threat of storms. As we do each year on June 1st, today, we put our guard back up and begin to watch the tropics. My biggest concern is complacency. It has been a long time since we have had a hurricane and a really long time since a serious one like Hurricane Andrew. That was 1992. We have lots of people working here who were born after 1992! Fortunately, we still have a lot of institutional knowledge about hurricanes and a substantial percentage of people who have real-time experience.
Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast 10-16 named storms, four to eight hurricanes and one to four major storms packing winds over 110 mph for this coming season. While that’s an “average” amount of storms, we Floridians know there is nothing “average” about hurricane season. Each year, and each storm is different. And, experts say predicting this season is particularly difficult due to several factors including whether El Niño that helped keep the 2015 season low has begun to fizzle and whether La Niña, which can fuel storms, will begin to form.
The first storm of the year has already happened and passed us by. Our state dodged any effects, but Charleston, South Carolina felt the effects over the holiday weekend. The storm brought heavy rain and flooding to the area. They don’t call it the Low Country for nothing. Jean Arias, R.N. (firstname.lastname@example.org), who leads our Emergency Preparedness efforts, checked in with our colleagues at Roper Hospital in Charleston in case they needed our support. They were fine, and will reciprocate with us when the day comes. We have friends in low places!
This one missed us, but this is an early warning that the season is upon us, and we must all have our plan of action at home as well as at work. We know our patients and their families depend on us through all kinds of weather and events. We make it a point to review our plans and protocols as teams and across the organization each year, hoping we’ll never have to use them, but confident we’ll know what to do if we do. Do you know what your role is at work in the event of a hurricane, or where to call for updates? I urge you to take some time now to review this information with your team.
It is also crucial to have a plan at home. If you don’t have one, the National Hurricane Center has some great information on its website that can help, including contact numbers for reference and a list of supplies that you should have on hand. As always, we’ll keep you updated through this forum and others as we monitor storms or other situations and put our emergency operations in place.
“We’ve been meant for this, since we were born
No problems now, the coast is clear
It’s just the calm, before the storm
This must be just like livin’ in Paradise” – David Lee Roth