Three active storms are currently churning in the Atlantic Ocean, two of which are hurricanes. But all Florida is seeing from the storms are some heavy rip currents and surf-able waves along the east coast.
“Hurricane Danielle has already made it’s curvature to the northeast,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Eric Zappe. “It’s already having an indirect impact on us with some fairly large waves.”
While surfers are happy with the Category 4 hurricane’s offspring, the next storm, Hurricane Earl, reached Category 1 status Sunday.
Zappe said it’s outer bands might skirt east of South Carolina’s outer banks later in the week, possibly making for a rainy Labor Day weekend for some.
But folks here are keeping an eye on a third swirling cloud formation east of Earl, which is currently only an area of low pressure.
“It’s so many days away, it’s hard to say if it’s going to make landfall in the U.S.,” Zappe said.
Dave Donnelly, director of Alachua County’s Office of Emergency Management, said they are keeping an eye on that third storm. if it looks like a threat to North Central Florida, Donnelly said his office will start gearing up by putting out information to the public and bringing in partner agencies.
And, since we’re only at the mid-way point of the hurricane season, Donnelly said, if they haven’t already done so, residents should stock up on “everything.” Items should include a five-days supply of food and water for your family and your pets, copies of records, enough prescription medication to last two weeks and things that they can bring to a relative’s home, hotel or shelter for a short stay.
“If they don’t have any of that, now is the time to get that stuff together,” Donnelly said.
At Lowe’s on Northwest 13th Street, past the inflatable Halloween yard decorations, barbecue grills and outdoor furniture are supplies of tarps, flashlights, chainsaws and generators. The generators range in price from a simple $299 model to one that costs $1,450, which can run the power needs of an entire house.
Tom Bragdon, Lowe’s operations manager, said the corporate office makes sure all Hurricane zone stores are well stocked beginning at the start of the season on June 1.
“Whenever there’s any kind of threat of landfall, they put people in a command center to make sure all our stores have the items consumers need,” he said.
Kevin O’Leary, his wife Amanda and their daughter Madison were in Lowe’s on an errand Sunday. The family moved from Connecticut three years ago so Amanda could take a job as the University of Florida’s girls lacrosse coach. they haven’t had to live through the nightmare of downed trees, ripped off roofs and no power for days on end.
“Obviously, we would heed all the warnings,” Kevin O’Leary said.
But they might actually be better prepared than they thought. O’Leary said he already has a propane grill, flashlights, tarps and a chainsaw.
“We just built a new house,” he said. “It’s supposed to be to code, so we’ll see.”
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