Next month, we will see the beginning of another Atlantic hurricane season, and it is predicted to be more active than usual, according to an outlook released recently by the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project. The group calls for 17 named storms, and eight hurricanes with four of those considered major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
“We anticipate that the 2021 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have above-normal activity,” Dr. Phil Klotzback, the group’s leader, wrote in the outlook. “As is the case with all hurricane seasons, coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them. They should prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted,” he continued.
With that in mind, it’s time to start making preparations to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your home by rounding up the supplies you’ll need in advance. It’s also the time to double-check that your account information on file with WFEC is updated.
Gather water, nonperishable food, flashlights, batteries, medications, and additional items ahead of time. Equip your family with a kit that’s easy to use at home or carry along in case you need to evacuate. Be sure to include medicine, a manual can opener, extra blankets, baby supplies, pet food and supplies, and a battery-powered radio. Visit www.floridadisaster.org/planprepare/hurricane-supply-checklist/ for a complete list of items you may need.
Having an emergency plan is important, too, if severe weather causes floods, fires or other crisis situations. Should your household need to evacuate and seek shelter elsewhere, do all family members know what to do and where you would go? Are they familiar with steps to take in case you become separated from one another? Is there a plan for letting loved ones know you’re safe? Don’t leave these questions unanswered – talk about them now.
After you make these important preparations, there is one more thing you should do – make sure your WFEC account information is updated. You might be wondering why that’s important – the simple answer is for outage restoration purposes. Having updated account information is one way you can help WFEC personnel with power restoration efforts. If the automated system answers your call to report an outage, and you are calling from a different number than is listed on your account, the system won’t recognize your location. This could delay power restoration during a storm. You don’t want that to happen and neither do we, so please make sure all of your account information is completely up-to-date. It’s also very important to have a mobile number listed on your account especially if you plan to utilize the cooperative’s outage texting service to report power outages. There are several ways to update your info with WFEC:
• Call any of our district offices to make simple changes like updating phone numbers or addresses.
• You can also update your information online. Visit www.westflorida.coop and look for the “Manage Your Account” tab. Use your username and password to log in (if this is the first time you are using this service, you must call the office to get a username and password) and follow the prompts to enter the member portal. Once there, click on the “My Account” tab, then select the “Account Profile” option and update any phone numbers associated with your account. You can also update your address and other account information under this tab.
• Call (855) MYWFECA and select option #4 to update or change your phone number.
• Speak with a member services representative next time you are in the office and have them assist you with changing your information.
If you have questions about updating your account or how to do so, contact WFEC at (800) 342-7400. We’re connecting you to readiness so you can protect yourself, your loved ones, and your home during outages. As your local, member-owned cooperative, we care about you and your family.
Don't forget that if you do experience a power outage you can report it by texting OUT to (800) 342-7400.