The end of summer is a prime time for traveling — it’s your last chance to take advantage of the free time and the warm weather before fall begins. And of all the destinations in the United States, Florida is one of the most popular for tourists. It’s easy to see why: Florida has Disney World, the beach, and so much more to do. And so long as you know how to stay safe in the heat, the weather is perfect for spending time outdoors and soaking up the sun.
But if you’re traveling in August, September, or October, you might want to postpone your trip. Late summer is hurricane season — and the experts are predicting that this year’s hurricanes aren’t going to be pretty.
Florida’s hurricane season spans June 1 to November 30, peaking in September. The average number of hurricanes the East Coast gets per season clocks in at around 1.75 — one to two major storms per season. Forty percent of these storms land in the Sunshine State.
But the predictions for 2018’s weather are looking particularly nasty. North Carolina State University's Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences analyzed the risk using up-to-date technology and is anticipating 14 to 18 named storms, 11 of which are expected to be classified hurricanes. Three to five of these could be Category 3 or higher, they say. Colorado State University’s predictions are similar, expecting 14 named storms and seven hurricanes.
These expert weather projections aren’t always accurate — but they’re not a good omen for those looking to travel risk-free. And considering how nasty the storms were in 2017, it couldn’t hurt to be cautious. After all, when you pictured your perfect beach day, you probably didn’t picture a car tire flying through the air at 30 miles per hour.
Hurricanes didn’t stop people from visiting Florida last year. Despite Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, the state’s tourism industry flourished in 2017. So if you insist on traveling to Florida during these months, there are a few precautions you should take.
For one, you should download the Red Cross Hurricane app, which remains up-to-date with weather warnings and tracks incoming storms. That way, you can keep up with risks of wind and tornados with notifications on your phone.
You also might want to ensure that your hotel has a hurricane cancellation policy, which many locations offer in anticipation of a few vicious storms.
All in all, just be prepared. Just in case a hurricane does wreak havoc on your vacation, read up on what essentials you should keep on hand to keep you and your travel companions safe. Here are five must-haves, directly from a Floridian who’s lived through 25 storms.