Miami-Dade leaders urge residents to be prepared as hurricane season begins

Miami-Dade leaders are urging residents to be prepared as a storm system is already expected to affect South Florida this week.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and county commissioners held a news conference Wednesday to mark the first day of hurricane season.

“So it’s hurricane season -- it’s June 1 to Nov. 30 and we already have action out there in the Gulf,” the mayor said.

The officials want to remind the community about the importance of getting their homes and families prepared early before a storm threatens the area.

“We know that the time to get ready is now. No time to wait, and especially everyone should have received their hurricane kit in their mailboxes and at home,” Levine Cava said.

While the news conference comes as a tropical disturbance is already looming in the western Caribbean, officials urge people not to panic, but to be prepared.

“Be storm ready,” the mayor said. “Have a plan, make sure your family knows whether you live in an evacuation area. Know where the shelters are, stay informed on which shelters are going to be opening. And if you have someone that is medically compromised and needs to register for assistance at a shelter, do that now.”

Even though South Florida has been spared a direct hit in recent years, forecasters are predicting an above-average season this year with up to 21 named storms -- three to six of which could become major hurricanes.

Miami-Dade leaders told residents to expect heavy rain over the next several days, but said residents do not need to bring outdoor furniture inside.

Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz said this will be a “water storm, no matter how we look at it,” and said the South Florida Water Management district is on alert and taking measures to avoid flooding.

He reminded the public that they don’t need to rush out to stock up on food, but during hurricane season it is wise to always have two to three days of food in your house for your family, as well as any medicine you or your loved ones need.

“Be prepared, understand your plan with your family, understand the medicines, make sure you have plenty of that, the food that you need, so (don’t) stock up on water -- our water is perfectly good -- unless that’s what you prefer to do, that’s on you,” Diaz said.

Diaz also urged residents not to trim trees until after this system passes, as winds could throw the debris around if it has not been cleaned up in time.

And even as COVID restrictions continue to be lifted, officials made it clear that COVID mitigation efforts, like social distancing at shelters and getting vaccinated, should still be part of your to-do list.

“In today’s pandemic era, get a shot,” Levine Cava said. “We have ample places to get your shots for the COVID-19 vaccine. We are the most vaccinated in the state, but we recommend two shots and a booster for everyone, and then for those 50 and older or compromised, double booster. I’m double boosted and I recommend it.”

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About the Authors:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.

Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for Local10.com.