Gov. Rick Scott visits Dade to warn of 2016 hurricane season

HIALEAH, FLA. (WSVN) - Wednesday marked the official start of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane season and officials advise South Florida residents to do everything to be prepared.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott spoke at the Emergency Operations Center in Hialeah Wednesday, which is the main hub for seven nearby cities, to advise the area about the hurricane season that is to come.

“I worry about that one because, regardless of how many hurricanes do form, one storm or hurricane coming your way makes it a bad year for you,” said National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb.

This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has forecasted a near-average season, with 10 to 16 named storms having sustained winds of 35 miles per hour or higher, bringing a potential for devastating possibilities.

The National Guard joined the Hialeah City officials and the governor. “The biggest threat, in some instances, is complacency,” said a member of the National Guard.

Officials recommend Florida residents to have evacuation plans and readiness kits on-hand as soon as possible, and if residents are new to the area, they are advised to find out if they are living in a hurricane evacuation zone.

“We have to be prepared,” Scott said. “Three days of water, three days of food. Make sure you know where your family is going to be, make sure you have batteries for your flashlights, make sure you have the ability to listen to a battery-operated radio.”

One item that should also be included in an emergency kit is a battery powered radio, which gives you access to AM and FM radio, as well as TV and weather. There are also hand-cranked versions that don’t need batteries.

Officials who also spoke at the Emergency Operations Center focused on a serious message for adults who have children. Local children were also able to visit the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale, which unveiled a new “wall of wind” exhibit in partnership with Florida International University.

The stations at the museum offered some fun to teach youngsters what just can happen during the hurricane season. “Here, in South Florida, in a below average year in 1992, we had a Category 5 hurricane named Andrew come ashore,” Knabb said, “so, obviously, it can be a bad year any year, so prepare the same way.”

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