I could throw all this information at y’all and hope it sticks – but there are really just two things I want you to get from this article.
1️⃣Have a plan, be prepared and get your supplies in order. You want to be ready just in case, and now is the time to do that.
2️⃣Don’t plan a wedding, event, or other large gatherings of people from out of town with non-refundable deposits during hurricane season in Niceville, Destin, or Valparaiso, Florida. Whether or not the storm hits our area, there may be a chance plenty of people will lose a lot of money because a storm might hit our home. Trust me, Abby and I learned the hard way when we married the Saturday after Hurricane Michael in 2018.
>That doesn’t mean our issues compare in any way to the people who were devastated by that storm. It’s intended to warn that a direct hit from a hurricane is awful – and that is most likely to happen between September 15th and October 15th.
Now, to the information.
This list is not comprehensive, but it gives you some information specific to getting through hurricanes in Niceville and Valparaiso.
tactics may change, but as storms come you may see our home page change in order to make sure you have the most useful information you need. This would include a plain text home page so that you can access the most info with limited connectivity.
It won’t be pretty, but if we can get information out – it’ll work.
Hurricane season starts on June the 1st and ends on November 30th in the United States. That doesn’t mean that we won’t get tropical activity outside that window. In 2018, Tropical Storm Alberto hit the Gulf Coast area in late May and did $125 million in damage to the area.
Between 2018-2021, three tropical storms and four hurricanes have significantly affected the Western Florida Panhandle. By far, 2018’s Hurricane Michael created the most destruction in the panhandle. The storm made landfall at Mexico Beach, just to the east of Panama City, and eviscerated the Bay County town. Much of Tyndall Air Force Base and Panama City Beach sustained heavy damage from the storm. The area is still recovering from the damage. The storm created more than $25 billion in damage, according to a local insurance agency, Harris Insurance. Compare that to the total damage of the last hurricane to impact the western panhandle, Tropical Storm Fred, in 2021. TS Fred racked up about $1.3 billion in damage.
Typically, Niceville needs to be the most prepared for storms in the middle of September. Statistically, this is the time of the year with the most tropical intensity. The National Hurricane Center has an awesome graph that displays this. Long story short, don’t plan events like weddings or parties or other expensive get-togethers during this time. There is a big chance that a storm will threaten our area. Even if our region does not feel the effects of the storm, it could put a stop to plans you have at that time.
The climatological experts at Colorado State University say that we will see an above-average hurricane season. That means, according to them, that we will see more storms, more days of the season with a tropical storm and/or hurricane, more named storms and more major hurricanes.
According to those experts, almost half of the 183 days (if you were asking, “how long is hurricane season in Florida?”) will have some sort of tropical activity. Between 1991 and 2020, only about 40% of hurricane season had an active named storm.
All in all, Colorado State meteorologists expect us to see 19 named storms in 2022. That is about 5.5 more storms than the average for 1991-2020.
Basically, Niceville needs to prepare for a higher chance that we will face adverse effects from hurricanes.
Even if we don’t take a direct hit from a storm, they can still be deadly. In 2020, Hurricane Hanna made landfall in Texas. Despite making landfall some 650 miles away from our area, in Texas, the storm killed one person in Sandestin, who was pulled out by a rip current.
My favorite explanation for the difference between a warning and a watch is the taco analogy. A “taco watch” (hurricane watch) is when you have all the ingredients gathered together to make tacos, but there is not actually a taco (hurricane) present that you can eat. A “taco warning” (hurricane warning) is when you actually have assembled tacos ready for consumption (there is actually a hurricane present).
Intensity. Really, the difference is between the wind speeds of the storms hurricanes are rated on what is called the Saffir-Simpson Scale. A tropical storm has sustained wind speeds between 39 and 74 miles per hour. Category one and two hurricanes have wind speeds between 74-110 miles per hour. Category three, four and five hurricanes, also classified as major hurricanes, have above 111 miles per hour sustained winds. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a great animation that shows the level of damage you can expect to a house from increasing levels of wind.
The number one thing you need to have for a storm in Niceville is a plan. If you will stay for a storm, where will you stay and what supplies will you need? Okaloosa County’s Public Information Team put together an excellent hurricane guide to help prepare you. Attach guide here.
Additionally, you need to know your evacuation zone, should you have one. You can find out your zone on this map, supplied by Okaloosa County GIS. Know your zone and prepare to evacuate when you get the alert from Okaloosa County Emergency Management.
Speaking of Okaloosa County Emergency Management, give Okaloosa County a like on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. The official government sources are the best place to get accurate information in an emergency like this.
I’m not an insurance agent, and I don’t want to play one on TV. This is a great article I’d recommend that talks about all of the ins and outs of insurance for hurricanes.
Send us a note at email@example.com about the questions you want answered about hurricane season (or anything really, we love answering your questions!). We’ll continue to update this article with more information as we research.