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Family prepares for above-average storm season

Family ready after receiving $40K in damage last hurricane season

VIDEO:  With Hurricane season around the corner, forecasters are already keeping a close eye on one possible formation in the Atlantic and they are predicting an above average year for storms.  Emergency management officials in Columbia county are getting a jump on the season.  They are meeting now to coordinate their public safety efforts.
VIDEO: With Hurricane season around the corner, forecasters are already keeping a close eye on one possible formation in the Atlantic and they are predicting an above average year for storms. Emergency management officials in Columbia county are getting a jump on the season. They are meeting now to coordinate their public safety efforts.

LAKE CITY, Fla. – With less than a week away from the start of hurricane season, forecasters are already keeping a close eye on one possible formation near the Atlantic. They're also predicting an above average for storms.

In Columbia County, emergency management officials are meeting to coordinate the season's public safety efforts and a family in Lake City is doing something different this year to prepare.

Ann and Tom Ottum endured $40,000 worth of damage from tropical storm Debbie, and because of that, they said they won't be caught off guard this hurricane season.

"It's just a different feeling I can't just describe to you," said Ann. "This time we're going to get some cement blocks ahead of time to put stuff up because of the depth of the water that came in. We'll pack up a few things that we know we're not going to be able to replace."

The Ottum's home was flooded after Debbie dumped nearly 30 inches of rain in their area.

"We've had to replace everything in here," said Tom. "The furniture, the cabinets, the counters, and FEMA didn't cover hardly any of it. We ended up taking an FDA loan out, but that didn't cover it all either so it's just pay as you go until you finish it up."

With hurricane season just days away The Ottum's still need to replace baseboards, closets in two rooms and get a new water heater -- all items on a "Honey-do" list that could be offset if forecasters are right in predicting an above-average year for storms.

While Columbia County Emergency management has already started its first set of meetings on the matter, the Ottum's said they now have all of their important documents, medications and family keepsakes ready to go at a moments notice.

"We know right where it is to go and get it," said Ann.