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Lessons learned from past hurricanes ahead of another expected busy season

With the help of our First Coast News Weather Watchers, we are learning from past seasons as we look ahead to what's expected to be another busy year.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It's here. The official start to the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. If you're already prepared, good, but you might be wondering "ok... now what?"

How about we look back and learn from lessons we've gained over the past few years, even decades?

Our First Coast News Weather Watchers are our eyes and ears across the area. They're always snapping and sharing some gorgeous images. While they enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature, many of them have also experienced some of the worst weather it has to offer - like tropical storms and hurricanes.

Teri Shelton is one example.

"Your worldly possessions can be replaced, you cannot,” Shelton said.

No truer words spoken by someone who knows what it’s like to outrun a major hurricane.

“It’s funny because my husband got me to move here by saying Jacksonville doesn’t get hurricanes. Our first year here, we had two!” Shelton laughed.

Shelton and her family survived Katrina in 2005. The storm struck the Gulf Coast as a Category 3 hurricane. Its aftermath was catastrophic.

“We lived through a monster," Shelton added as she teared up. "And I get emotional because it was a really hard time, a really hard time. People didn’t take it serious along the Mississippi Coast and a lot of lives were lost.”

As we look ahead to what’s expected to be another busy season, the hope is we’ve all learned something from the past – and to understand every storm is unique.

Dave Covert and his significant other, Lovie Norman live in Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia. "Most of the people are veterans, people who have lived here a long time so they know [how to deal with these storms], but there's nothing wrong with revisiting things because when you think you know, you don't know," Covert said. "Mother Nature throws a curveball in there."

Brinda Linck is always on the go and posting great photos of the sunrise in Amelia Island, but she's also been through some recent weather scares. “Let’s start preparing now because with the pandemic last year I couldn’t get anything because there were no products on the shelves,” Linck remembered. "I had friends from out of state sending me supplies because it was too late."

You can never be prepared too early – because those of us who’ve been through it – know those supplies are key during and after a storm.

“I wish we would've left sooner," Shelton added. "Evacuate. Get the gas. Get the cash and have plenty, plenty of water."