Well it appears out worst fear here on the Gulf Coast is being reckoned. As Tropical Storm Isaac begins making its way towards the Florida Coast, the state has already started showing signs of panic. Although Isaac is not yet a hurricane, there is no question it has the potential to do exactly what our worst nightmare, Hurricane Opal, did back in 1995. It may be hard for most Americans to remembers this mid 90’s catastrophe, but the resident of Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, and Panama City remember it all too well.
Opal entered the Gulf of Mexico as a category 1 hurricane. However, almost overnight, the beast transformed into a Category 4 worst nightmare situation. The hurricane somehow managed to gather energy from some unseen reserves. Wind speeds hurdled up to 150mph. The Florida Panhandle was in a total panic. Everyone tried to evacuate last minute. I remember sitting in traffic like it was yesterday; it was like a scene from a movie. Although it only made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane, it turned out to be the 4th most damaging hurricane in US history (it eventually ended up costing $3 Billion and killing 4 people.)
As Isaac enters our area of the planet, there are a few simple precautions that all fellow Floridians, (and especially those in Pensacola, Fort Walton, Destin, and Panama City) should take in order to prevent injuries to person or property:
- Plan an evacuation route
- Have disaster supplies on hand in the even of a storm
- Make arrangements for pets
- Get your boat secured
- Protect valuable property like Birth Certificates, Jewelry, Vehicles Titles, Passports, etc.
- Make sure your whole family is informed and know how to respond to a hurricane.
- Teach children how to call 911. Explain the importance of the service.
- Protect windows; Make sure to stay clear of them if you are unable to evacuate
- Develop an emergency communication plan; Get cell phone chargers and battery packs all juiced up in the event of a power outing
- Take photos of your house and property; this will make it easier for you or an attorney to prove your losses to an insurance company
Here at the Bruner Firm, we hope everyone will remain safe throughout any storm that may eventually make landfall in Florida. If for some reason you or a loved one are injured due to the negligent acts of another, always feel free to contact our staff. The consultation is free and you will speak with an attorney. We are conveniently located in Panama City and Fort Walton Beach Florida.
Our phone number is 850-243-4227 (Fort Walton Beach) or 850-769-9292 (Panama City).
We are also Toll Free at: 1-800-278-6371 (1-800-Bruner-1)
UPDATE: This video of Opal illustrates just what these storms are capable of.