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Tropical Storm Alberto Not Expected To Pose a Threat

Getting a two week jump on the start of hurricane season, Tropical Storm Alberto continues to churn in the Atlantic off the Florida coast, where it is expected to move southward and not pose any risk or threat to the mainland beyond a few areas of choppy surf.

Hurricane Season does not officially begin until June 1, and will run through the end of November, and Alberto certainly jumped the gun, however, forecasters do not believe that this is any indication of the level of severity that may be seen during the upcoming season.  Alberto’s maximum sustained winds are right around 40 mph, and little change in the storm’s strength is expected.

As of Monday, the storm was centered 100 miles east-northeast of St. Augustine FL, moving south-southeast at about 5 mph. Forecasters expect it to turn northward Monday night, however it is still expected to stay clear of the Georgia and Carolina coastlines.

In the Pacific, a tropical depression has formed just south of Mexico and is expected to strengthen into tropical storm status by Tuesday. The storm is currently centered around 500 miles south of Acapulco.

These early storm formations are clear indicators of the unpredictability of severe weather, which is yet another reason why people in the areas most commonly affected by these storms should be vigilant and protect their homes and businesses against the severe weather threat. The time to do this is early on, before the season begins in earnest.

Property owners should examine their risk…..are you in an area that has been hit by tropical storms or hurricanes before? Maybe more than once? If so, take the steps necessary to protect your property. Make sure you have flood insurance (which is not a part of most homeowners policies). Many communities in the Florida area belong to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which provides federally backed flooding insurance for those areas of the country that are particularly prone to flood activity.

Unfortunately, too many people make the mistake of thinking that federal disaster aid will bail them out in the event of a storm. This is a mistake. Yes, you may get some federal money, but only if your area is in fact declared a disaster, and even then, it comes in the form of low interest loans that must be paid back. A nominal premium paid twice a year is a far better proposition when it comes to flood protection.

Also, you should have the name and contact info for a Clean Trust certified water restoration company, someone who can come in and handle any major water damage problems that occur following a storm.

Other precautions, such as the installation of storm shutters, anchoring of all items that might be thrown about in high wind, and having a preplanned evacuation route in place….all should go without saying. It’s early in the season, and chances are we will have many more opportunities for severe weather before 2012 is out.

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