Posted at 11:13AM on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011.
For all of us native to Florida (or at least those of us who have lived here for some years), we realize how unpredictable hurricanes can get. While Hurricane Irene was expected to move eastward this morning – now experts believe Irene is headed closer to Central Florida. Which, while we would like to assume we’re “safe” here in Sarasota, you can never be sure. It doesn’t take much for a hurricane to change it’s course. Remember Charley? We do. Just hours ago, Walter Pacheco and Sandra Pedicini published the following in the Orlando Sentinel,
Hurricane Irene on Monday threatened to grow into a major storm that could skirt the Central Florida coast and bring tropical winds and rains to the region by Friday.
Forecasters said Irene will most likely become Category 3 hurricane capable of generating damaging winds of up to 130 mph.
The five-day forecast, which experts warn is subject to major changes, put the storm about 100 miles east of Cape Canaveral by Friday morning. Despite staying offshore, Central Florida would not be spared from the powerful cyclone’s tropical storm-force winds, forecasters said.
Irene’s “cone of uncertainty” extends across the entire region, including the Interstate 4 corridor where forecasters predict heavy rains, flooding, and possible wind damage from tropical storm-force winds that can top out at 73 mph.
Pendergrast warned that if the high pressure area to the north pushes south, it could steer Irene’s path westward and closer to Central Florida.
Ed McCrane, Chief of Emergency Operations and the entire team at the Sarasota EOC works all year long to make sure that Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte county based businesses and residents have the resources they need to prepare for hurricane season. Now, with Hurricane Irene and a number of tropical storms brewing, it’s absolutely critical to be prepared!
This checklist, provided by the Sarasota EOC, outlines several important points such as:
-Have an emergency plan in place
-Make sure employees know the plan and their role
-Evaluate your insurance coverage
Download your checklist now and make sure that your business is completely prepared!