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Coming off the heels of 2017’s catastrophic Atlantic hurricane season, with 17 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 6 major hurricanes, emergency officials are again reminding residents to be vigilant this year.

Experts predict the upcoming hurricane season could be near average, however, Floridians should continue to prepare for a major storm. Lake County Emergency Management is urging residents to take steps now to help keep their families safe during severe weather.

“While Lake County was not the worst hit area affected by Irma, we still experienced nearly $40 million in damage and months of debris cleanup,” said Tommy Carpenter, Lake County Emergency Management Director. “This hurricane, again, was proof that it only takes one storm to create a dangerous situation and preparedness is key in protecting life and property.”

In Lake County, hurricane hazards may include heavy rainfall, high winds, inland flooding, and tornadoes. Some hazards may come with little to no warning. Residents are encouraged to develop a family communication plan, decide on a meeting location during an emergency, and prepare a disaster go-kit to include important personal, medical and legal documents. Residents should also be aware of what to bring to an emergency shelter, including food and water for three days, medication, bedding, and important documents. Pets at pet-friendly shelters must be transported in their own carriers and must be up-to-date on vaccines, so it’s important to prepare for pets now.

However, evacuating to an emergency shelter should always be a last resort. All residents, especially those living in manufactured homes, should have a safe shelter plan before an emergency strikes, to include access to a friend or relative’s site-built, fortified home 24 hours a day. Those living in manufactured homes should be sure they have ample time to get to their designated safe space when severe weather is predicted.

To be notified quickly of weather emergencies, residents should purchase a battery-powered NOAA weather radio and sign up to receive local notifications, such as those offered through Lake County’s AlertLake emergency alert system. Signing up is free, quick, easy and secure at alertlake.com.

For more information about Emergency Management, visitwww.lakecountyfl.gov/emergency and follow Emergency Management atwww.facebook.com/LakeCountyFLEmergencyManagement  andwww.twitter.com/lakeemergency.