Friday, April 21, 2000

George Mindling Column 4-21-2000

Another Season Approaches


There is another silly season on the way and I'm not talking about NASCAR or any other sports season.  The season of ''board it up" and "take it down again" will start as soon as Alberto - the first named storm of the season - appears on the evening news. Come June 1, which is only five weeks away, everyone in southwest Florida will tum their attention to the official hurricane season.

According to Dr. William M. Gray at the Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, we're set to have yet another above average activity is anticipated though less active than the recent The extended range forecast is at http://typhoon.atmos.colostate.ed/forecasts/2000/fcst2000.

The probability of a major storm (Category 3, 4 or 5) hitting the Florida peninsula in the year 2000 is 45 percent, up from the century average of 31%. Only a hard core gambler would laugh at those odds. Smart business people will hedge their bets and start making plans now.

You can start by attending the Hurricane Expo on May 6 at the Port Charlotte Town Center and the Hurricane Caravan on May 18. The expo will start at 10 am. and run until 2 pm. The caravan, presented by the Charlotte County Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness Office, will begin at the Port Charlotte Cultural Center at 9 am., move to Lemon Bay High School and then to the Memorial Auditorium later in the day. We'll have a firm schedule soon, but contact the Emergency Management office at 743-1270 for exact details.

These planning sessions will increase everyone's education about the storms and their aftermath. Individual, family and business planning are important to do before the season is upon us.

Check your insurance policies, not only replacement and damage costs but or the loss of income while out of service. Business continuity planning is as important to the survival of a company surviving the storm itself. Make sure any reciprocal services or location usage agreements are still in place.

If your plan is in place, now is the perfect time to purchase those items on the disaster preparedness budget. Don't wait until the last minute to buy the storm shutters or the backup generator. Bottled water and other canned food may wait, but not too much longer. Decide now what is needed, not when the shelves are empty.

A friend of mine claims he will no longer secure his boat for future storm warnings because he is tired of going though all the preparations, and then nothing happens. Rather than being thankful we didn't get clobbered, he is upset with the time and effort he assumes is for nothing.

Unfortunately, many small businesses seem to have the same attitude. Businesses must contend with the summer doldrums, vacations and, of course the unwanted disruptions of the annual storms. Of all the things that need to be done, gambling on the weather is not one of them.

The work and cost involved may seem needless, but it is absolutely necessary should a storm turn our way. You can check the National Weather Service Hurricane 2000 Home Page at: (http://www.srh.noaa.gov/tlh/tropical/) for up to the minute information and maps.

George Mindling © 2000

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