Approaching storm creates opportunity to prepare for hurricane season

DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - While residents are relieved to hear South Florida will not be hit by a hurricane this weekend, the threat of a looming storm system in the Caribbean created an opportunity for residents to get their homes and families ready for the next major storm.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez held a briefing with emergency management operators and the National Hurricane and Weather Services, Friday, to discuss hurricane preparedness and this weekend’s expected floods.

Although officials expect only heavy rain this weekend, this week has served as an opportunity for South Florida residents to prepare ahead of any future storm or hurricane.

“There may be some localized flooding, there may be some flood watches issued depending on what happens,” said Gimenez, “but it’s a good time for the community to look at their hurricane preparedness. You need to have three days of food, three days of water, your medications. Also, if you’re planning to leave during a storm, what your plans are, review those.”

From loading up on food and water at their local grocery store to grabbing essential items like flashlights and batteries, South Florida locals knew it was “better to be safe than to be sorry” when news broke of the potential hurricane.

Related link: Be Ready: How to prepare for a storm

And South Florida business owners prepared as well, including Vespa Miami owner Tony Cappadona, who knows it is better to be prepared than to suffer the consequences of a storm, which could cause damage to his store. He laid down sandbags around the doorways of his business to block water from seeping in. “It helps, it slows the water down,” he said. “It still seeps underneath them, but at least it helps.”

City officials also took precautionary measures to ensure each city had a plan in action for the storm. Miami Beach officials have pumps in place, which can pump up to 7,000 gallons of flood water a minute into canals.

“If we get a storm event that blows through and dumps five inches of rain in an hour on us, we’re gonna have some flooding in the city, but these pumps will move it out faster,” said Miami Beach Public Works Director Eric Carpenter. “We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.”

Friday afternoon, vacuum trucks moved into the area of Northwest 35th Avenue and 15th Street in order to remove debris from storm drains to prevent flooding. Residents in this area said the streets here are known for flooding.

In Hollywood, crews set up temporary pumps in flood-prone spots and cleared storm drains, as well. “So, definitely, along our coastal areas, we want the public and our residents to understand that there is still that potential threat,” said Miguel Ascarrunz with the Broward County Emergency Management.

And in Sweetwater, officials checked the pumps in the area as well. “All of them are working capacity except for one,” said City of Sweetwater Mayor Orlando Lopez. “One did fail yesterday. I authorized the purchase of the subterranean pump.”

South Florida Water Management also took precautions by lowering canals throughout Broward and Miami-Dade counties due to the rain. “The uncertainty makes it complicated,” said Randy Smith with the South Florida Water Management District. “When you’re in the water management business, when a storm is coming, you have to get ahead of it.”

For a complete guide on how to prepare for any storm, check out our guide: Be Ready: How to prepare for a storm

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