Florida’s weather is Florida’s fortune. Most everyone loves warm winters and breezy summers by the shore.
Yet tropical storms sometimes blow through and, when they do, they can not only trouble people already in Florida but others elsewhere preparing for Florida vacations. People commonly ask whether a tropical storm that affects one part of the state affects all parts the same way.
The answer is no. No storm is so large that it can shut down Key West to Pensacola, Naples to Fernandina Beach. Indeed, the sun that typically shines almost everywhere just about always remains shining somewhere.
So, what should you do?
For best information, we recommend that you log onto www.noaa.gov for the latest storm and weather information.
If you’re already lodged in Florida when a tropical storm strikes, turn to a local news source and to your innkeeper.
That said, here is a thoughtful overview about tropical storms by Florida Governor Jeb Bush followed by some frequently asked questions and answers.
”It’s important to note that a direct hit to a particular destination anywhere in the world by a major hurricane is a rare event. Floridians have learned to prepare for these storms and respect their strength. Arguably, no state in the country is better prepared to handle these natural, yet rare events.”
Frequently asked travel questions during hurricane season
What is a hurricane?
A hurricane is a tropical cyclone with a defined circulation and sustained winds of 74 miles per hour (65 knots) or greater in the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern North Pacific Ocean. This same tropical cyclone is known as a typhoon in the western Pacific and a cyclone in the Indian Ocean.
What is the difference between a hurricane warning and a hurricane watch?
The National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida has the responsibility for monitoring and issuing watches and warnings in the Atlantic and Northeast basins. A warning is issued when hurricane conditions are expected in 24-36 hours, and a watch when hurricane conditions are possible within 36-48 hours. If a warning or watch is issued, one should begin preliminary preparations for potential landfall and stay tuned to radio and TV for weather updates.
How are hurricane categories determined and what do they mean?
The strength of hurricanes is rated using the Saffir/Simpson scale in the United States. This scale assigns a storm to one of five categories based on its wind speed. Category one is a minimal hurricane and category five is the strongest. Using this scale helps estimate the potential property damage and expected coastal flooding from a hurricane.
What months are considered hurricane season?
The Atlantic hurricane season is officially June 1 to November 30. The peak of the season is from mid-August to mid-October.
What do travelers do if they’re in Florida and a hurricane is approaching?
Many Florida tourism offices actively work with local emergency management officials to keep visitors safe in the event of an approaching storm. There are cooperative agreements to help find accommodations for visitors who might have to be evacuated from coastal areas. The safety of Florida’s visitors is a priority. Visitors receive information from local news broadcasts on radio and television and from tourism officials on what might be required in a particular location they are visiting.