What is Hurricane Amnesia? Why Hurricane Awareness is Crucial

Posted by Jimmy Hawley on Feb 9, 2022 10:03:20 AM

Those in hurricane-prone areas are aware that having hurricane protection is crucial to feeling safe during hurricane season every year. But when the past hurricane season was mild, preparation for the next “big one” may be put on the back burner. In this post, we’re going to look at the definition of hurricane amnesia, why hurricane preparedness matters, and some advice for staying safe, even if another hurricane, like Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Charley, were to hit home.

What is Hurricane Amnesia?

This term describes the very common inclination of residents in hurricane-prone areas to forget the potential severity of hurricanes. In our case, it’s a common risk in Florida, whereas those in the state who haven’t experienced a major storm in months or years tend to refuse to take an upcoming hurricane watch or warning seriously. 

Those with this perception exhibit symptoms of “amnesia” about the impact violent tropical storms and hurricanes can truly have on individuals and the community at large. As a result of trivializing the matter, those with hurricane amnesia fail to properly prepare for an imminent storm. 


Hurricane Awareness: The Most Hurricane-Prone Areas

To avoid hurricane amnesia, it’s important to remember the past, as well as geography and weather patterns in general. When people don’t watch weather warning alerts and changes to evacuation orders, it can lead to disasters just like with Hurricane Charley. 

A survey funded by the International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC), found that only about 30% of those interviewed in Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, and Arcadia, had actually evacuated when Hurricane Charley landed. They admitted to being underprepared because it had been 35 years since the last major hurricane had hit their area.

Although Northwest Florida is the most common landfall area for hurricanes hitting Florida, all areas of Florida are at risk of severe damage from hurricanes. While it’s true that Central Florida is the most protected from direct hurricane damage such as flooding, tornados can – and have – still cause significant damage. 


Hurricane Preparedness

No matter where in Florida you live, hurricane preparation should be a part of your pre-hurricane season routine.

Your hurricane disaster plan should include:

  •  Gathering supplies. Consider having drinking water, batteries, first aid supplies, canned food, medicine, and more stored properly for emergency use. 
  • Having an evacuation plan. Know the safe spaces in your home, but also, be aware of the evacuation routes for your area, and know the location of the nearest evacuation center.

Checking and upgrading your hurricane protection. Since you can’t take your home or most personal belongings with you, protect them the best way possible by considering your current hurricane protection and looking at safer options such as hurricane shutters, impact glass, and more.



How does Hurricane Amnesia Affect Hurricane Awareness?

Hurricane amnesia manifests in several ways. Most often, people underestimate the dangers of a hurricane when it's not actually hurricane season. The longer the interval between major storms, the greater the likelihood of hurricane amnesia, which means homes may go unprotected until it’s too late.

During Hurricane Irma, many homeowners did not have hurricane shutters installed until days before the hurricane affected their area. Not installing hurricane protection ahead of time may mean that any installation would be done hastily and would therefore lack the benefits of professionally installed home protection.



Taking Hurricane Awareness and Preparedness Seriously

All families need an evacuation plan, emergency supplies, and hurricane protection in the event of a severe storm. This hurricane season, avoid hurricane amnesia and prepare by understanding the myths of hurricane preparation, as well as knowing your hurricane protection options.  

Check out our article on making an evacuation plan and stocking up on emergency supplies here.

Then, download our free Hurricane Guide for storm prep tips, including what to protect your windows, inside your home, and more.   

Hurricane Guide

Topics: Hurricane Protection, Hurricane Preparedness, Hurricane