It's that time of year again. Hurricane season is upon us. For 2018, Forecasters predict a 35 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 25 percent chance of a below-normal season for the upcoming hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to November 30. It is predicted there will be 10-16 named storms, 5-9 Hurricanes, and 1-4 Major Hurricanes. Here is a link to the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook
The best protection during and after a hurricane is advance preparation both at home and at work. Just as we have an emergency preparedness plan for the 20th Judicial Circuit, you should have one for your family and home. When the storm is bearing down on our community is not the time to think about getting prepared. You should have made preparations well in advance.
Our first concern is the safety of our employees and your families. Next is the need to keep the courts open and functioning or in the event of a closure to reopen the court on at least a mission essential basis as quickly as possible.
When storms develop, we monitor their progress closely. Should one threaten our area, you will be notified of actions to be taken in a number of ways: email, social media (@SWFLCourts), direct communications from Court managers and supervisors and information releases through the media (TV, radio, print media). This year we have also implemented the Send Word Now emergency notification system. This will allow Court Administration to contact you via email, text, and phone. It also allows for two-way-communication so you can let us know you received the notification and are ok. In the event that a "Hurricane Warning" is issued for all or part of our area, the affected courts will be closed and employees will be directed to go home and prepare for the storm. You will receive instructions on steps to be taken to prepare your office prior to leaving.
Following a storm, you will be notified to return to work in a number of ways: Send Word Now, information releases to the media, Internet, courthouse message lines and direct contact by a supervisor or court manager. You can also check the 20th Judicial Circuit Information hotline number at 239-533-1773. The hotline will provide information on closures/ openings for all five counties in the 20th Judicial Circuit.
To assist you in planning and preparing for a storm you may find the following websites helpful:
County EMS Links: