Hurricane Ian
Hurricane Ian which devastated parts of Florida in 2022. Ricardo ARDUENGO/AFP

The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on Saturday, and forecasters are warning that this year could be an extremely active one. Yet nearly a quarter of Floridians (23%) say they have not made advanced preparations such as gathering non-perishable food, water and useful supplies in case a storm hits their area during hurricane season, and even more would ignore warnings to evacuate, according to a new AAA Consumer Pulse survey.

With ocean temperatures rising at unprecedented levels, Accuweather predicts that this hurricane season could be significantly worse than last year's, with 20 to 25 named storms predicted. A typical hurricane season produces 14 named storms, and the record of 30 storms was set just four yeas ago, in 2020.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts there will be 17 to 25 named tropical storms or hurricanes in the region this year before Nov. 30, according to an article by Florida Politics. At least four are expected to strengthen to Category 3, with wind speeds of up to 129 mph, or worse.

However, according to the poll, the vast majority of respondents in the Sunshine State (67%) said they feel the same level of concern as last season, and 4% even less than that.

Among other key findings, the survey found that one in four Floridians (27%) say they would ignore evacuation warnings ahead of a major storm, and among those who would evacuate, nearly two-thirds (64%) say they would only do so if the approaching storm was a Category 3 or higher.

When asked why they would not evacuate in the event of a hurricane, 33% said they would want to stay in case there is damage to their home or property that they can fix, 29% think the storm will turn away from their direction, 24% wouldn't know where to go, 23% for financial reasons (such as not being able to afford a hotel), 20% because they can't bring their pets, and 19% for fear of looting after the storm.

Most Floridians have purchased supplies such as flashlights, batteries, toiletries (58%) and extra food and water (50%) in preparation for a possible storm, but only 34% have prepared an evacuation plan in case of need, according to the survey.

The vast majority of respondents (96%) say they are very or somewhat prepared for a hurricane storm, while only 4% say they are not prepared at all and do not plan to take any hurricane or severe weather precautions.

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