The local weather can present many threats to the safety of the residents of the Ranch. These threats involve, not only physical injury but may create a situation that results in their escaping their habitat into an unfamiliar and cruel world. The lightning, thunder, and wind are frightening enough, then add a tree falling on their home and, Wow I’d jump out too.
The Ranch staff works to minimize the damage done by these storms, by carefully planning steps to avert the disasters these storms might bring. The first step, of course, is becoming aware of a potential weather-related event. The Director and his staff monitor national weather forecast much the same as everyone else. When severe weather looks like it will affect the Ranch, all sources (Doppler from the local airport etc.) are evaluated to determine what plan should be implemented and when. Another important pre-storm activity is inspecting and evaluating the health of each tree that could become a threat if it was blown over onto a habitat. A tree professional assist’s the staff to cull out any questionable vegetation.
Florida weather can deal many cards, from lightning out of the blue, to tornadoes that can accompany storm fronts, to Derechos that that can yield hurricane winds with no warning, to named hurricanes that are tracked from Africa. When a threat is determined imminent, a crew in a truck is dispatched to a predetermined observation location to wait out the storm. The crew is made up of senior handlers that are very familiar with each cat at the ranch. Each crewmember is familiar with administering sedation and the use of capture equipment, including paw poles, and loops. Some very tasty morsels are also on board, which would help lure the cats to a safe area. Flooding, a Standard Florida threat, is negated by, no major bodies of water near the Ranch and the cats would climb onto the safety of their shelters.
So what happened during the two hurricanes to come through in 2017. The crews loaded up and proceeded to the designated location where they uneventfully watched the storms blow through. There was peripheral damage to several areas of the Ranch, but the animals did not have any problems. In fact, the observers indicated that the cats seemed to enjoy the commotion and didn’t get at all excited. Some of them climbed onto their shelters and seemed to bask in the wind and rain. In any event, we appear to be ready for whatever 2018 blows our way!