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A disturbance heading for the state is not a threat to Florida, but that won’t always be the case. How to make sure you’re prepared for the unthinkable this hurricane season.

Rain is expected to hit South Florida Friday afternoon due to a disturbance being monitored by The National Weather Service in Miami

As of Thursday, this disturbance is located about 150 miles east of the northernmost Bahamas and has a 40% chance of becoming a tropical depression over Thursday and Friday. Meteorologists do not anticipate this storm to be a serious threat to the state, according to reporting from The Miami Herald. The disturbance will bring extra rain to the area as it approaches the east coast before heading north. 

Meteorologists with NWS in Miami have estimated about a quarter of an inch of rain beginning Friday afternoon. In areas where thunderstorms are predicted, rainfall estimates could be higher. 

Last week in South Florida, commuters were stranded and forced to abandon their vehicles and dog-walkers were left to tread through knee-deep water with their pups due to flooding from heavy rain. In Hialeah, the bad weather caused 80,000 gallons of raw sewage to leak into the streets. Other places affected include Broward County, Sunrise and Cooper City, according to local reporting. 

Kennedy Park in Coconut Grove near the Leesfield & Partners office on South Dixie Highway had a no swim advisory a week after the rain began pelting down on South Florida. 

Safety Measures and Leesfield & Partners Past Cases

Hurricane season begins June 1 until November 30 annually. NWS data shows that, on a two-year average, about three hurricanes hit the U.S. coastline each year. One out of the three is categorized as a “major hurricane,” with 111 mph winds. 

In the past, Leesfield & Partners has seen the after-effects of such storms and their devastating impact on clients and families. One instance came after Hurricane Andrew which devastated Florida in 1992, taking about 44 lives and causing at least $25.3 billion in damages. NWS officials have previously stated the majority of Andrews’ damage to the state was from wind. Today, this hurricane is ranked among the top five most powerful weather events of its kind to hit the United States. 

After Hurricane Andrew, Florida legislators worked to pass laws that would protect people and property in case of natural disasters. One such move implemented uniform building codes to prevent building collapses and fortify new and existing buildings against hurricanes and other natural disasters. In 1998, the first Florida Building Code was passed. While these codes exist to protect the vulnerable, they are not always followed and can result in life-altering, avoidable injuries.

This was seen in the case of an 11-year-old girl who died trying to retrieve her golf ball from a pond and was electrocuted. In an investigation from Leesfield & Partners attorneys representing the girl’s family, it was discovered that the resort where she was playing mini-golf did not have the required ground fault circuit interrupter – a device made specifically to prevent electrocutions – installed for the decorative water foundation in the pond. Attorneys with the firm were able to secure a $10 million award for the family of the girl in that case.  

Another family represented by Leesfield & Partners was staying at a hotel in Key West when carbon monoxide began leaking into their room. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that binds to the hemoglobin in a person’s blood, severely limiting their ability to carry oxygen throughout the body. Luckily, the family in that case was able to call for help. Days later, the hotel rented out that same room to other guests who experienced the same frightening ordeal but were, thankfully, saved. Data from the Centers for Disease Control shows that about 400 Americans every year who experience accidental carbon monoxide exposure are not so lucky. 

Leesfield & Partners attorneys were able to discover that the hotel failed to have a licensed technician inspect and repair a boiler room roof vent that had been damaged from Hurricane Wilma. Leesfield & Partners was able to secure an over $1 million settlement for the family in that instance. 

While there is no sure-fire way to remain 100% unscathed when dealing with a tropical storm or hurricane, being prepared is the best chance at protecting both people and property. Below are several hurricane safety tips. 

  • Know your evacuation routes and pay attention to notices of where local shelters are located.
  • Listen to storm officials and evacuate if told to do so.
  • Only use generators if you are outdoors and away from windows.
  • Do not drive, walk or swim through flood waters as it is difficult to tell how deep they go.
  • Make emergency plans with family and loved ones so that everyone knows what to do and where to go in case of an emergency.
  • Store enough water in case of an emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends at least one gallon of water per family member per day. The recommendation is to keep enough water for two weeks.
  • Make sure you have an emergency reserve of any necessary medications or specific foods for those who have dietary restrictions. 
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