I’m new to Florida and unfamiliar with hurricane season. How do I prepare for any storms that may pass over my Gainesville apartment?

Every year from June 1st to November 30th, Florida experiences hurricane season. The storms usually form off the coast of Africa and travel across the ocean. When the winds of this storm reach a sustained 74 mph or higher, it then is referred to as a hurricane. Hurricanes are rated into categories of 1-5 based upon the force of the winds. Florida may go a year or two without experiencing one of these storms, but it is always a good idea to have a plan and be prepared just in case. This isn't just your afternoon thunderstorm, these monstrous weather systems can cause flooding, down power lines, blown transformers and massive power outages. The National Hurricane Center is a great place to track hurricanes and get information on how to prepare yourself and your Gainesville apartment.

What supplies do I need?

The best time to gather supplies is before hurricane season begins. When a warning is issued, it's too late. Many stores will either be closed or have empty shelves. A great place to start is by making an emergency kit. Having plenty of water is equally as important. The suggested amount is one gallon of water per person, for a minimum of three days. Non-perishable foods are also a must. If the power does go out, that means no refrigeration to keep your perishable items cold. Along with the power going out you will need a way to see around your University of Florida apartment, so make sure you have battery operated flashlights or lanterns. That being said, make sure you have an extra supply of batteries on-hand. If you drive, you'll want to fill up your car with gas as gasoline deliveries could be delayed in the event of a severe storm. Don't delay on filling any essential prescriptions, and while you're at the pharmacy you should stock up on non-prescription medicines such as pain relievers and antacids. If there are children in your household, make sure you have plenty of formula, diapers and wipes. If your children are
older, books, games and puzzles should help keep them occupied. Don't forget about your fur babies! While at the store buy extra cat or dog food to make sure they have enough food to ride out the storm.

How do I prepare my Gainesville apartment?

With heavy winds and rain, it's possible that debris could fly into your windows. To be safe, you'll want to remove any belongings or valuables away from the windows of your Gainesville apartment. If your apartment has a patio or balcony, bring as much as you can indoors. Outdoor  furniture and other items can be damaged or moved by the wind and rain. An important thing to know is if your apartment is in a flood zone. In these areas first floor apartments may experience some flooding, which can potentially cause damage to the inside of the apartment. Apartments above the first floor may not experience damage from flooding, but you will not be able to go outside until the water level has gone down. If your apartment community offers covered parking, make sure you take full advantage. Whether it be a parking garage or a covered awning, it will help keep your car from getting damaged from debris or other larger objects picked up by the strong winds. Now would also be a good time to review your renter's insurance policy. If you don't have renter's insurance, we highly suggest you consider enrolling in a policy – an extremely affordable way to protect your belongings.

What else should I know about hurricanes?

Coastal areas can experience storm surges. This is when water is pushed ashore by the tropical system. Although your Gainesville apartment is at least an hour away from the nearest beach, inland areas can experience flooding, which can cause structural damage and wash out roadways. Due to large amounts of rain, rivers can start to rise, and currents can become dangerously fast. Tornadoes can also occur during a hurricane. They typically pass through quickly but can cause massive amounts of damage. It's important to have a game plan if and when it comes time to evacuate. Since Interstate-75 goes right through the city, check for towns and places to stay along the interstate. Look into alternate evacuation routes, as downed trees and flooding can force you to take unfamiliar roadways.

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of SwampRentals.com or any of our advertising partners.