Did you know that if you don’t have AA batteries, you can use AAA batteries and aluminum foil instead?
Did you know that just one inch of water in your home can cause $25,000 in damage?
Did you know that if you live in a skyscraper, every 15 floors you add a category to the hurricane strength?
That’s snippets of information given to North Fort Myers residents Tuesday by WINK-TV weatherman Matt Devitt during the North Fort Myers Civic Association’s Hurricane Seminar at the Recreation Center.
Devitt gave the dozens in attendance some facts about hurricanes, the damage these storms can do and what they can do in a hurricane before, during and after.
Devitt, who has been with WINK since 2013, was here for Irma and spoke extensively about this storm and how close Lee County was after suffering a major disaster.
This storm hit the west coast of Florida at Chokoloskee and moved up the spine of Florida which was a break for us as it left much of southwestern Florida on the west side, or the weaker side of the storm, which also removed the possibility of a storm. sweep over the area, which would have been catastrophic.
“The initial forecast had Irma making landfall on Sanibel and going up Fort Myers Pier and the Caloosahatchee,” said Devitt. “At the last minute it moved 40 miles east and took the storm surge with it. Most of us have dodged a bullet.
Devitt also warned that hurricanes can form with little warning. While we saw Irma arrive a week before she arrived here, Michael in 2018 started as a tropical depression on October 7, turned into a Category 5 storm and blasted Mexico Beach, Florida three days later. late, practically flattening it with 19 feet of storm surge. .
“It was a storm they hadn’t seen in recent memory in the Panhandle. That’s why we’re emphasizing early preparation. Can you prepare for this in three days?” said Devitt.
Over the past two years, Eta in 2020 and Elsa last year have come close to southwest Florida but just missed out west. They were among 19 storms to hit the United States in the past two years.
This year’s outlook calls for 20 named storms, including 10 hurricanes and five major hurricanes. The chance of a hurricane hitting Florida within 50 miles is 75%, Devitt said, with the chance of a hurricane hitting that area every seven or eight years.
More importantly, Devitt talked about being prepared and having a hurricane plan. Nearly half of all deaths from tropical storms are due to storm surge, with wind accounting for only 8% of deaths. If you are told to evacuate, do so and have somewhere to go, planning multiple routes to get there.
“Evacuation stinks. But when it comes to the lives of the people you love or yourself, you can’t put a price tag on it. said Devitt. “If they tell you to evacuate, you can stay. But if you do, you are alone.
Make sure your insurance is up to date and know what’s in your policy and remember that flood insurance must be obtained separately. Install storm shutters and secure all loose outdoor items and make sure all doors and your car are secure and have gas on them if you need it.
The most important. Have non-perishable food and water, bring your medications, make sure you have batteries, and use cash. Debit and credit machines can be inoperative for days or even weeks, making it impossible to pay for necessities.
Devitt also had a few hurricane hacks if you need to get creative, like storing water in the tub and packing the freezer with Ziploc water bags to help frozen items stay that way, put a piece grass in the garage for your dogs. their business and use AAA batteries and aluminum foil to make an AA battery for emergencies.
Civic Association member Michelle Ayers gave Devitt a positive review of her presentation.
“I love Mat. He is the master. I did not know that in skyscrapers, the higher you go, the more you add a category”, said Ayers. “And I’m going to try that battery hack he suggested.”