Hurricane Expo speakers stress disaster supply kits
By Carl Orth | Suncoast NewsHOLIDAY - Many people have been lulled into a false sense of security about the hurricanes, many speakers at the 2012 Hurricane Expo warned.
Published: June 7, 2012
Published: June 7, 2012
"Think about living a week, two weeks, maybe even a month without any kind of help" after a major storm, Steve Jerve, chief meteorologist for News Channel 8, told the crowd that gathered Saturday at the J. Ben Harrill Recreation Complex.
"Nobody's going to show up at your house with a food truck," Jerve said. "Nobody's going to show up with a mobile pharmacy to give you your medications."
Gas stations will be closed. Stores will be closed or out of stock of supplies. Bank ATM machines won't work when the electricity goes out.
"We're very much in a vulnerable area," Jerve said.
"Florida is a big sandbar, basically," Jerve said. "There's nowhere for the water to go" when buffeted by hurricane winds.
"If the eye is to the north of us, we're in bad shape for storm surge," Jerve said of Pasco County. "If the eye is to the south of us, like it was in Tarpon Springs in 1921, we'll have the winds going offshore. There won't be a storm surge, but the winds will still be pretty bad."
Warm waters of the Caribbean feed storms early in the Atlantic hurricane season, June 1 through Nov. 30, Jerve said. October is another dangerous time for such storms.
From July to September, Jerve keeps a close eye on the coast of Africa, particularly the Cape Verde islands. Thunderstorms traverse Africa and then grow once they reach warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
"Think about all these things ahead of time; it will really save you, especially water, that's very important," Jerve said. Now is the time to stock a disaster supply kit. Experts advise a minimum of a gallon of water per person per day.
"Try to protect the windows," Jerve said. "Keep the wind out. Keep the wind OUT," he repeated for emphasis. "The whole idea about cracking a window to equalize the pressure, it's not true. It's been proven a million times over" to be false.
Overhead garage doors are another weak point for hurricane winds.
Jerve is retrofitting his own house, built in 1949, with hurricane-resistant windows and other improvements.
Pay attention to evacuation orders, Jerve said. "People just don't take it seriously until they see the water coming up into their house," Jerve said.