Be prepared: 2017 Hurricane Season expected to be busy Print this post

Staff Report (Florida Catholic)


The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season got off to an early start with the development of Tropical Storm Arlene in the Eastern Atlantic in April. (See Hurricane Prayer in English and Spanish below)

With Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily next on the list of names for potential future storms, now is time for people to make sure they are prepared and ready should a tropical storm or hurricane threaten. Preparation and vigilance are keys to safety and security from the power of nature.

While Tropical Storm Arlene formed early compared to the traditional Hurricane Season of June 1 to Nov. 30, the storm does not automatically mean this year will be worse than any other as it only takes one storm to strike your home to make it a bad season.

However, National Hurricane Center forecasters are expecting a high likelihood of a busier than normal hurricane season, with 11 to 17 named storms, storms with winds in excess of 39 mph. An average season would have 12 names storms.

The 2016 season was the most active since 2012, with 15 named storms, including 7 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. Florida was not spared in 2016, with both Tropical Storm Colin and Hurricane Herminie striking the Florida Panhandle and Tropical Storm Julia making landfall near Jacksonville.

The most destructive storm of 2016 was Hurricane Matthew, a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 165 mph. On Oct. 6, the storm skirted the east coast of Florida. The impacts of this storm were devastating, causing $2.75 billion in damage and 12 deaths in Florida alone even though the storm never made landfall here. The effects reached as far as Southwest Florida with torrential rain and strong winds. Overall, Hurricane Matthew did major damage through the Caribbean and United States leaving in its wake 603 deaths and $15.1 billion in damage.

But experts remind everyone that even in the quietest of hurricane seasons, a destructive storm can strike anywhere and at any time. The most poignant example was Hurricane Andrew which hit South Florida, one of the quietest hurricane seasons on record, spreading its devastation in areas in the southern parts of the current Diocese of Venice.

The Diocese has been struck by multiple storms through the years, sometimes causing terrible destruction. Of the recent storms, the most notable were Hurricane Charley in 2004 and then Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005.

Should a storm strike, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Venice is at the forefront in preparing and responding.

Catholic Charities CEO Peter Routsis-Arroyo said the program updates its disaster preparedness plan each year learning lessons from past disasters in order to better respond in the future.

Should disaster strike, Catholic Charities would send a team to the epicenter of the disaster and then coordinate to set up relief centers — called PODs, which stands for Points-Of-Distribution – where the need is greatest. These centers – often located at parishes or next to Catholic Charities offices – will be sites where water, clothing, food and other disaster relief assistance can be distributed.

Catholic Charities also has a Disaster Amateur Radio Network, DARN, which is a network of radio operators in each area of the Diocese which can connect with first responders and direct help to where it is needed in the event normal communications, such as cell phone or the Internet service, becomes inoperable for extend periods of time.

Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Venice has an extensive history in preparing for and executing short- and long-term recovery efforts. The teams are so highly regarded that representatives were sent to help support the Diocese of Trenton following Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 and again in 2016 following Hurricane Matthew.

While Catholic Charities will be there to help after a storm passes, having an emergency plan is crucial. Simple things people need to know or do, include: knowing what evacuation zone you live in (updated in 2017); having more than one evacuation route; having key documents ready in a waterproof container; knowing where the nearest emergency evacuation shelter is; having enough food and water for a minimum of three days.

For residents of the area who many need help evacuating, such as the elderly or handicapped, they need to contact their county emergency management office to register for evacuation help. This system is usually updated each year so registering in the past will not guarantee being on a list for 2017.

The following is a list of websites where you can learn more information about how you can be better prepared in the event disaster strikes.

National Hurricane Center:

Federal Emergency Management Agency:

Florida Division of Emergency Management:

Hurricane Prayer

As we move through the 2017 “Hurricane Season,” a prayer is presented here by which one asks God for protection and safety from the storms that often threaten Southwest Florida. The Diocese of Venice has been struck by several hurricanes in the past; all serve as vivid reminders of the power of these storms and the suffering which follows in their wake.

Prayer for Safety in Hurricane Season

O God, Master of this passing world,

hear the humble voices of your children.

The Sea of Galilee obeyed Your order

and returned to its former quietude.

You are still the Master of land and sea.

We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control:

the Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming lethargy,

overstep its conventional boundaries, invade our land, and spread chaos and disaster.

During this hurricane season we turn to You, O loving Father.

Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid

and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with passing of time.

O Virgin, Star of the Sea, Our beloved Mother, we ask you

to plead with your Son on our behalf,

so that spared from the calamities common to this area

and animated with a true spirit of gratitude,

we will walk in the footsteps of your Divine Son

to reach the heavenly Jerusalem,

where a stormless eternity awaits us. Amen.


Oración para la temporada de huracanes

O Dios, Señor de este mundo pasajero,

escucha la humilde voz de tus hijos.

El Mar de Galilea obedeció Tu orden

y volvió a su anterior quietud.

Tu todavía eres el Señor de tierra y mar.

Vivimos en la sombra del peligro sobre el cual no tenemos control;

el Golfo, como un violento gigante, puede despertar de su aparente letargo,

sobrepasar sus límites, invadir nuestra tierra y sembrar caos y desastre.

Durante esta temporada de huracanes acudimos a Ti, O Padre Misericordioso.

Líbranos de tragedias como las pasadas que están tan vivas en nuestra

memoria y cuyas heridas rehúsan ser curadas con el paso del tiempo.

O Virgen, Estrella del Mar, nuestra amada Madre, te pedimos

que intercedas ante tu Hijo por nosotros,

para que nos libre de las calamidades comunes a esta área,

y animados con un verdadero espíritu de gratitude

caminemos en los pasos de tu Divino Hijo

para llegar a la Jerusalén Celestial,

donde una eternidad sin tormentas nos espera. Amen.

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