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Every year, for half the year, the Pacific coast of Florida is battered by hurricanes. Strong winds, heavy rainfall, flooding, rip currents, the risk of electric shock, and even tornadoes are realities residents of Jacksonville have to deal with during hurricane season, which lasts from June to November.
If you live in Jacksonville, keep the contact information for All Dry USA close. We can help you get out of a rough patch if a storm damages your property. Here is everything you need to know about hurricanes in Jacksonville, FL.
You might think Florida’s Pacific coast, which includes cities like Jacksonville, Miami, and Myrtle Beach, would be one of the most hurricane-affected cities in the Pacific region. While many Floridian cities crack the top 50, most of the top 10 spots are reserved for Florida’s Caribbean neighbors to the south, like the Bahamas and Bermuda.
But Jacksonville, and the entire Northeast Florida coast, certainly get hurricanes. And they can get nasty.
According to FloridaDisaster.org, a division of the state Emergency Management department division, four hurricanes have made landfall in the past three years. That includes Hurricane Michael, the first category-five hurricane since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 to touch down in the U.S.
The Saffir-Simpson scale by which hurricanes are rated for their intensity includes five categories, with category 5 being the worst. A category five hurricane has winds of 157 mph or higher and can cause catastrophic damage. That includes total roof failure, building collapse, and total utility breakdown.
Jacksonville went into a state of emergency in advance of Hurricane Michael. The storm did incredible damage to the city before sweeping over into Georgia. Those residents who prepared for the storm in advance were undoubtedly in a better position when it made landfall. Those who did not, and who also didn’t evacuate, were not as lucky.
Some tropical storms are so fierce that very little can be done to prevent large-scale structural damage. But knowing the hazards associated with hurricanes gives you a real leg up on weathering them.
As is the case with most natural disasters, what you have to fear in a hurricane is not the storm itself but everything that happens due to it. The powerlines that fall, the storm drains that clog up, and the loose debris that becomes water-borne wrecking balls.
Here are the most common and most dangerous hazards associated with Jacksonville hurricanes.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a storm surge refers to a tide of seawater that flows over the expected levels, often without warning. Storm surges are so dangerous because they really can’t be forewarned about.
Just how dangerous a storm surge is depends on several factors, including the storm’s intensity, the coastline’s relation to the storm path, the coastline’s geography, the sewer system’s condition in the affected area, and more.
Coastal communities in Northeast Florida must be especially aware of the dangers of storm surges. High winds are the first indicator because they can whip water waves up to twenty feet tall. If intracoastal waterways cannot lessen the onslaught of successive wave breaks on the coast, water can overcome even the most fortified levees and breakwaters and rush onto the shore.
High winds cause concern, not just because they can induce storm surges. While they aren’t as destructive, the range of affected areas is far broader, meaning that you must be prepared even if you don’t live on the coast.
One interesting phenomenon about hurricane winds is what meteorologists call the “dirty side” of tropical storms. Hurricanes don’t affect all areas. They touch equally. The “right” side of these weather events is notably more destructive than any other side. In other words, if a hurricane is traveling north, the east side of the storm will bring the most violent winds. If it’s traveling east, the south side will be the worst.
Understanding the path of the hurricane coming to Jacksonville is a huge part of preparing for it.
Heavy rainfall can lead to flooding. In high-density areas like Jacksonville, flooding can be hazardous. Flood waters can pick up huge chunks of debris and send them sailing through the water at high speeds, buffeted by winds.
Jacksonville is prone to flash flooding, so keep your eye on the emergency alert system.
Combining high winds and unruly waters can create strong and invisible rip currents. These currents are not to be taken lightly, as they can be deadly.
Even if a hurricane is a hundred miles offshore, rip currents can snake onto beaches, making swimming impossible for beachgoers. Jacksonville lifeguards have to save hundreds of people every storm season from rip currents, and others aren’t so lucky.
Keeping yourself and your family safe is the most crucial goal in weathering a hurricane. Better your home than your lives.
That being said, property damage is both a massive headache and, in many cases, sadly, unavoidable. These are the most common types of damage.
Hurricanes are tough on roofs. Many homes and buildings in Jacksonville are shingled, and shingles are easily ripped off and thrown away by storm winds.
You should be safe from large-scale roof damage. Homes in Florida are built with hurricane season in mind. But if, for example, a tree branch falls through your roof, you’ll need to document the damage and call insurance right away.
Damage to your foundation is often invisible, but it’s the type of damage that every homeowner fears most. Strong winds can shift homes off their foundations or leave fissures in the structure. You may not be able to re-enter your home if an evaluator deems it structurally unsafe.
Doors and windows can be breached by debris or even by the winds themselves. Rain, mud, and debris can spill through homes in flood zones and significantly damage the interior. Make sure to clear the area of electric threats if standing water exists.
Vital appliances like heaters, ACUS units, and generators can become damaged by hurricanes. Water damage is typical, but winds and debris carried by winds can also cause structural damage.
On a larger scale, it isn’t uncommon for neighborhoods and even entire cities to experience large-scale utility failure. Public infrastructure like power lines and water systems can become compromised and remain unusable for days and weeks. If you’re lucky, your own private backup systems will make it through unscathed, but sometimes those don’t make it either.
Many hurricanes that make landfall in the US eventually pass through Florida. It has a vast coastline. The majority of the state dangles in the ocean as if tempting the rage of hurricanes.
Northeast Florida is, however, one of the minor hurricane-prone areas in Florida, getting hit by a major hurricane about every 6.5 years.
If your home or property has suffered hurricane damage, call All Dry USA. We can help with fire and smoke damage, water damage, mold remediation, and more.
Don’t wait to get your family out of the storm shelter and back into the home. Get in touch with All Dry USA to see how we can help.
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