Hurricane season doesn’t officially begin until June 1, but President Donald Trump has proclaimed this week ‘National Hurricane Preparedness Week.’

  • This week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week
  • Officials urge Tampa Bay residents to get ready for hurricane season
  • Hurricane season officially starts June 1st

The time to prepare is now, before any storms are bearing down on us. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard, or have the “it won’t happen to me” mindset.

One Pasco County family said that’s exactly what they thought last year when Hurricane Hermine came through—and it’s something they regret to this day.

Jasmine Rivera still remembers it like it was yesterday.

“She destroyed the mobile home we were at. Complete water all over, through the ceiling. We lost clothing. We ended up have to relocate,” Rivera said.

The family had to escape the rising water in their mobile home by boat.

“We carried in our backpacks whatever we could carry, slippers, sneakers, some clothes, odds and ends--thinking we should be back home in 2-3 days, not realizing we lost our home with nowhere to go for about six weeks,” she said.

Looking back, Rivera said she wishes they would have prepared more—and that is what President Trump is hoping people do right now during Hurricane Preparedness Week.

Your to do list should include:

  • Coming up with an evacuation plan
  • Getting your disaster supplies together
  • Calling your insurance company for a check-up to make sure you have the right coverage
  • Checking your home to make sure it’s in good condition and can withstand a storm
  • Checking in with your neighbors on their storm plans
  • Writing down your hurricane plan so your whole family is in the know

“You really want to go through that checklist this time of year, and because it’s been so dry a lot of people aren’t going to be thinking about storm season, but go through your checklist right now, what you need going into the tropical season,” Bay News 9 Meteorologist Brian McClure said.

McClure also said this is one of the few years that we could actually use some tropical weather. He said with so many of our retention ponds well below normal levels, our area could easily soak up to 15 inches of rain. However, he said as of right now, nothing like that is on the radar.

This weekend is the 2017 Hurricane Expo in Polk County. It’s at the Auburndale Civic Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This is a free event and Bay News 9 Meteorologist Juli Marquez will be there, along with emergency management. They will talk about the hurricane season, what you can expect, and how to better prepare yourself.