Hurricane season is upon us, and Floridians are already facing challenges in mitigating the possible threats of extreme weather events, including hurricanes and tropical storms. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service, there will be above-average hurricane activity this season.
The hurricane season —which extends from June 1 to November 20— is predicted to have a 65% chance of an above-normal season this year, forecasting up to 21 named storms, of which 3 to 6 will become major hurricanes. And yet, Florida is still at risk of suffering extensive damage due to the lengthy recuperation process from storms and hurricanes from years prior. We need our elected officials to be proactive by recognizing that human-caused climate change is real. They need to trust the science instead of proposing temporary measures such as raising roads and bridges that do not solve the problem.
We need real actions to protect the people of Florida from extreme weather events like these during this hurricane season. Less than ten bills were introduced to the Florida Legislature this year (including the special legislative sessions), which directly addressed the need to provide hurricane preparedness and protection to the people of Florida. Of those bills, the legislature only approved the property insurance bills (SD 2-D and 4-D) and the others were not considered or “died” during the legislative process. It is important to highlight that the insurance bills do not provide any measures to mitigate post-hurricane damage, as the new laws only provide a safety net for insurance companies. In addition, Governor DeSantis just vetoed $5.1 million from the 2022 state budget, leaving the town of Hilliard in Nassau County without a hurricane shelter.
There is still hope Florida can move in the right direction. Local, state and county governments can make a difference. Regardless of party affiliation, we are all in this together. Let’s trust the scientists, make a plan, and take action during hurricane season.