Tallahassee, Fla. – Millions of Florida residents will find their 2018 Memorial Day weekend affected by Sub-Tropical Storm Alberto, the first named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. For Floridians 50-plus, it is important to take the storm’s risks seriously, AARP’s top state official in Florida said Saturday.

“Because this storm has formed before hurricane season has officially begun, and because it is not considered likely to become a major hurricane, Floridians age 50-plus may be tempted to take Alberto lightly. Don’t,” warned Jeff Johnson, AARP’s Florida state director Saturday.

“This storm poses serious risks to life and property, as all tropical storms do,” Johnson said. “The prudent course is to prepare.”

The National Hurricane Center has warned that Sub-Tropical Storm Alberto poses risks from flash flooding from heavy rains, storm surge in coastal areas and along estuaries and rivers flowing into the northern Gulf coast, and possible wind damage or tornadoes created by the storm. For more information about possible risks, go to: https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane
Another good source of information about storm preparedness is the Florida Division of Emergency Management website: https://www.floridadisaster.org/news-media/news/florida-residents-and-visitors-urged-to-use-caution-this-weekend-as-watches-issued-for-sub-tropical-storm-alberto/

The National Hurricane Center has warned of potentially heavy rains, possibly reaching 10 inches or more, affecting most of the Florida peninsula and Panhandle regions through the Memorial Day weekend. The Panhandle of Florida could begin to experience tropical-storm force winds (39 mph or more) by Sunday evening.

Storm surge is historically the cause of more deaths associated with tropical storm than any other cause. Coastal residents and those living along rivers and estuaries should be prepared to evacuate if local authorities say to do so.

The combination of heavy rains and wind could cause power outages or downed power lines. Flooding of roads and streets is likely, and both state and federal officials warned residents to avoid trying to drive through flooded areas.

If you are a family caregiver, now is the time to check on your loved one’s wellbeing and take steps to prepare for the storm and possible after-effects, Johnson said. For some useful tips for caregivers from nationally known caregiving expert Amy Goyer, go to: http://blog.aarp.org/2015/04/30/amy-goyer-emergency-planning-for-caregiving/

For older residents living in assisted living or skilled nursing facilities, Johnson said, it is important to consider potential risks from hot, humid weather, especially if electrical power is lost. “This storm could provide an early test of the effectiveness of new legislation requiring elder-care facilities to provide adequate backup electrical power for emergency cooling that was adopted in this year’s legislative session,” Johnson said. “AARP Florida will be monitoring the implementation of the new law.”

If you are living independently in your own home, remember that hot, humid weather intensifies health risks from exertion for those who are living with heart disease or other ailments, Johnson warned.

If you lose power in the storm and use an electrical generator for emergency power, beware of the risks associated with generator usage. During and after Hurricane Irma, more than a dozen deaths were reported that were associated with carbon-monoxide poisoning created by gasoline-powered generators. To learn more about generator safety, go to: https://states.aarp.org/get-power-back-use-electrical-generators-care/