Hurricane season started with a bang Thursday, as the low-pressure system sitting just below Alabama’s coast slowed down and became a tropical depression.

The National Hurricane Center said the system became a tropical depression at 4 p.m. Thursday, when its wind speeds reached 38 mph. That made it the second tropical cyclone of the year.

Forecasters predict it will be a short-lived storm that will approach the Florida peninsula and then move southward, remaining offshore.

A storm system becomes a tropical depression when its wind speeds reach 38 mph, but isn’t a tropical storm until wind speeds reach 39 mph. If its wind speeds grow by 1 mph, the depression will become Tropical Storm Arlene.

Hurricane season started Thursday and runs through Nov. 30. The NHC forecasted in May that the season will have “near-normal” activity, with up to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and one to four major hurricanes.

With the start of hurricane season upon us, here are 5 steps you can take to prepare:

Have a Communication Plan

It’s important to have a plan and share it with your family. Remember, the internet may not be accessible during or after a storm, so it is not always possible to access the information or people you need.

  • Talk to your family about where to meet if you’re separated. Include an out-of-town location in case there is an evacuation.
  • Write down a list of emergency contacts on paper, and make sure to include utilities and other critical services. Keep this information in a waterproof container.
  • Practice your plan with your family/household.


Talk to your neighbors about what you’re doing to prepare. A conversation about the risks your area faces or ways to strengthen your home before a hurricane can spread awareness and save lives. It also helps to have a network of people who can check on one another and their pets. Not everyone has relatives close by. Sometimes a quick visit to make sure your neighbors are okay can make a big difference.

Build A Kit

Have you ever been to a grocery store the day before a hurricane passes through? Shelves are empty and all the milk, bread and eggs are usually gone. Make sure you have what you need to survive well in advance of a hurricane. Items in your kit should include:

  • Medicine.
  • Flashlights (and extra batteries).
  • Several days supply of food and water for all people and pets in your household.
  • First aid kit.
  • Hand crank or battery powered radio (with more extra batteries, if needed).

Strengthen Your Home

You can improve your home’s ability to withstand hurricane conditions.

  • Cut weak branches and trees that could fall on your house. Keep shrubbery trimmed.
  • Clear your yard. Make sure there’s nothing that could blow around during the storm and damage your home. Move bikes, lawn furniture, grills, propane tanks and building material inside or under shelter.
  • Cover up windows and doors. Use storm shutters or nail pieces of plywood to the outside window frames to protect your windows. This can help keep you safe from pieces of shattered glass and keep debris out of your home.

Get Your Car Ready

Do not ignore instructions from authorities to evacuate before a storm. Even sturdy, well-built houses may not hold up against a hurricane. Staying home to protect your property is not worth risking your health and safety. One way to make sure you are ready to evacuate before a storm is to prepare your car.

  • Fill your gas tank.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your car.
  • If authorities recommend you shelter in place, if possible, move your car or trucks into your garage or under cover.

Another great way to insure you and your family are prepared is to download the recently updated FEMA APP.

If you or your family finds yourself in a situation where you are facing a disaster and need assistance, we hope these tips are helpful. As always, please remember Luxury Corporate Lodging is fully committed to supporting our FEMA guests and is always just a phone call away!
Jill Whittaker

President, Luxury Corporate Lodging