Severe weather awareness week: Hurricanes and flooding

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Being in Florida, we know we live in a hurricane prone-area.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, and last year more than ever, many learned to always be prepared.

Early and late in the season, tropical systems can form particularly close to home in the Gulf and Caribbean. In the middle of the season, storms usually form closer to Africa and move across the Atlantic.

The impacts from hurricanes occur well away from the center. Dangerous surf and rip currents impact hundreds of mile of coastline. Storm surge flooding, tornadoes, and freshwater flooding can also affect many people.

Heavy rain and freshwater flooding in particular can stay with a storm even as it weakens into tropical storm or tropical depression.

Storm surge is the wall of water that is pushed toward coast as a hurricane moves onshore. A major hurricane can produce a surge of at least ten feet above normal levels.

About 90 percent of hurricane-related deaths come as a result of flooding.

The strongest hurricanes can have winds in excess of 155 mph, which would make it a category five. In 2017, there were two category five storms in the Atlantic Basin, which is unprecedented.

Whether you're a resident or a visitor, always be prepared. Know if you live in an evacuation zone. Have a disaster supply kit with non-perishable flood and water for your family for three days. A disaster supply kit checklist has been attached.

It doesn't take a hurricane for us to see flooding. Florida is extremely vulnerable.

It only takes 6 inches of moving water to sweep you off your feet. It takes about two feet of moving water to move your vehicle. The best practice is to "turn around, don't drown" when you see water covering the road. Never drive into moving water.

If you're in a flood-prone area, keep materials such as sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, garbage bags, and shovels on hand. Also, consider buying a flood insurance policy because flood damage isn't covered under homeowners' insurance.

Low lying area near rivers, streams, and lakes are also susceptible to (river) flooding.