TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – We are inching closer to the height of hurricane season. Are you prepared for the potential for a natural disaster?
Complacency is the norm, Storm Team 8 Chief Meteorologist Steve Jerve said.
As of Tuesday, Jerve and Storm Team 8 monitoring three areas in the tropics. Tropical Storm turned Tropical Depression Fiona has, for now, dissipated. Tropical Storm Gaston is close to Africa. It is having no effect on us, at least for now.
Then there’s Invest 99L, which the Hurricane Hunters flew through Tuesday. This area of investigation could see further development within the next five days.
“It’s no surprise the tropics light up this time of year,” Jerve says.
It’s been 11 years since Florida was hit by Hurricane Wilma – and longer since a hurricane hit the Tampa Bay area. In the meantime, we’ve experienced tropical storms and depressions.
Jerve says we’ve become complacent. “More than some complacency … a lot. In fact, I think it’s pretty much the norm,” he said.
Jerve speaks with community groups and said about 90 percent of people aren’t prepared for tropical storms or hurricanes.
He also said people who have moved to the Tampa bay are since Hurricane Wilma may not be prepared. Many, Jerve said, are not ready. “The threat of a national disaster in the Tampa Bay area is one of the greatest in the country,” Jerve says.
Karen MacCormack moved to Tampa in 2009. “So I haven’t been through it yet,” she told News Channel 8.
She’s not alone. Most people interviewed by News Channel 8 said they weren’t ready for a potential threat.
J.B. Cordell of Lowe’s says people aren’t stocking up like they used to.
“Nobody really wants to go invest thousands of dollars on something that might happen but when it does happen, better safe than sorry,” Cordell said. His store has plenty of generators, plywood, batteries and flashlights on the shelves.
Johana Marinello, on the other hand, is ready. She lived through Hurricane Charlie in Fort Myers years ago. “I know what it’s like to be without power for two weeks,” Marinello said.
That’s why every year she and her two young girls prepare for the worst. “It’s one of those things that hasn’t happened in a while so you kind of forget, but it’s nature and it can happen any day,” Marinello told News Channel 8. “If you’re not ready at all times, you’re kind of in trouble.”