Hurricanes & Emergency Response

During government-declared emergencies, such as those due to hurricanes, the Association's Board of Directors have powers extending beyond the restrictions of their normal roles and responsibilities.  These powers are essential for protecting and preserving the Association.

The Board of Directors may utilize Emergency Powers, under a declared "State of Emergency", to deal with post-hurricane related or other issues.

State of Emergency

According to Florida Statute 252.36, a state of emergency shall be declared by executive order or proclamation of the Governor if she or he finds an emergency has occurred or that the occurrence or the threat thereof is imminent. The state of emergency shall continue until the Governor finds that the threat or danger has been dealt with to the extent that the emergency conditions no longer exist and she or he terminates the state of emergency by executive order or proclamation, but no state of emergency may continue for longer than 60 days unless renewed by the Governor. The Legislature by concurrent resolution may terminate a state of emergency at any time. Thereupon, the Governor shall issue an executive order or proclamation ending the state of emergency.

FL Statute 718.1265: Association Emergency Powers

(1) To the extent allowed by law and unless specifically prohibited by the declaration of condominium, the articles, or the bylaws of an association, and consistent with the provisions of statute 617.0830, the board of administration, in response to damage caused by an event for which a state of emergency is declared pursuant to statute 252.36 in the locale in which the condominium is located, may, but is not required to, exercise the following powers:

  • (a) Conduct board meetings and membership meetings with notice given as is practicable. Such notice may be given in any practicable manner, including publication, radio, United States mail, the Internet, public service announcements, and conspicuous posting on the condominium property or any other means the board deems reasonable under the circumstances. Notice of board decisions may be communicated as provided in this paragraph.
  • (b) Cancel and reschedule any association meeting.
  • (c) Name as assistant officers persons who are not directors, which assistant officers shall have the same authority as the executive officers to whom they are assistants during the state of emergency to accommodate the incapacity or unavailability of any officer of the association.
  • (d) Relocate the association’s principal office or designate alternative principal offices.
  • (e) Enter into agreements with local counties and municipalities to assist counties and municipalities with debris removal.
  • (f) Implement a disaster plan before or immediately following the event for which a state of emergency is declared which may include, but is not limited to, shutting down or off elevators; electricity; water, sewer, or security systems; or air conditioners.
  • (g) Based upon advice of emergency management officials or upon the advice of licensed professionals retained by the board, determine any portion of the condominium property unavailable for entry or occupancy by unit owners, family members, tenants, guests, agents, or invitees to protect the health, safety, or welfare of such persons.
  • (h) Require the evacuation of the condominium property in the event of a mandatory evacuation order in the locale in which the condominium is located. Should any unit owner or other occupant of a condominium fail or refuse to evacuate the condominium property where the board has required evacuation, the association shall be immune from liability or injury to persons or property arising from such failure or refusal.
  • (i) Based upon advice of emergency management officials or upon the advice of licensed professionals retained by the board, determine whether the condominium property can be safely inhabited or occupied. However, such determination is not conclusive as to any determination of habitability pursuant to the declaration.
  • (j)  Mitigate further damage, including taking action to contract for the removal of debris and to prevent or mitigate the spread of fungus, including, but not limited to, mold or mildew, by removing and disposing of wet drywall, insulation, carpet, cabinetry, or other fixtures on or within the condominium property, even if the unit owner is obligated by the declaration or law to insure or replace those fixtures and to remove personal property from a unit.
  • (k) Contract, on behalf of any unit owner or owners, for items or services for which the owners are otherwise individually responsible, but which are necessary to prevent further damage to the condominium property. In such event, the unit owner or owners on whose behalf the board has contracted are responsible for reimbursing the association for the actual costs of the items or services, and the association may use its lien authority provided by s. 718.116 to enforce collection of the charges. Without limitation, such items or services may include the drying of units, the boarding of broken windows or doors, and the replacement of damaged air conditioners or air handlers to provide climate control in the units or other portions of the property.
  • (l) Regardless of any provision to the contrary and even if such authority does not specifically appear in the declaration of condominium, articles, or bylaws of the association, levy special assessments without a vote of the owners.
  • (m) Without unit owners’ approval, borrow money and pledge association assets as collateral to fund emergency repairs and carry out the duties of the association when operating funds are insufficient. This paragraph does not limit the general authority of the association to borrow money, subject to such restrictions as are contained in the declaration of condominium, articles, or bylaws of the association.

(2) The special powers authorized under subsection (1) shall be limited to that time reasonably necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the association and the unit owners and the unit owners’ family members, tenants, guests, agents, or invitees and shall be reasonably necessary to mitigate further damage and make emergency repairs.

Florida Hurricanes

In Florida, hurricanes are the most probable reason for declaring a state of emergency. In the Palm Beaches, hurricanes brush or hit the area every 2.07 years. We encounter direct hurricane hits once every 5.88 years, with 14 years as the longest gap between storms. Major hurricanes hit our area once every 14.7 years, with average sustained wind speeds of 107 mph.

Here's how hurricanes are categorized:

Category Number
Wind Speed (mph)
Storm Surge (ft.)
Over 18

The following 9 Hurricanes have Hit the Palm Beaches since 1950:

King made FL landfall at Coconut Grove, Miami in the early hours of October 18, 1950 as a Category 4 Hurricane with peak winds of 130 mph. The city's Weather Bureau office, which was struck by the eastern eyewall, recorded sustained winds of 122 mph with gusts estimated at 150 mph. After hitting Miami hard, causing heavy beach erosion, King headed to the west from the SSE bringing 100 mph winds to the Palm Beaches. Over land, the compact hurricane weakened to a category 2 as it continued through the state approaching lake Okeechobee. After crossing Lake Okeechobee, Hurricane King passed over the city of Okeechobee, which a recorded pressure of 977 mbar. The winds diminished along the southern and western side of the storm, although winds gusted to hurricane force in many locations in eastern coastal Florida. Early on October 19, King weakened to tropical storm status over north-central Florida, and later that day weakened further into a tropical depression over western Georgia. King curved northwestward, dissipating over Alabama on October 20.
Cleo made FL landfall at Miami on August 27, 1964 as a Category 2 Hurricane. After crossing Miami, Cleo hit the Palm Beaches with 90 mph winds from the south causing minor damage. A peak gust from the ESE of 104 mph was recorded at 8:40 AM. We experienced sustained winds of 86 mph, pressure of 29.14, and 3.99 inches of rain. The Hurricane weakened to a tropical storm while over Florida on the 28th. The center moved offshore between Jacksonville and St. Augustine, FL, before moving back onshore near Savannah, Georgia on August 29 without any increase in intensity.
Isbell made FL landfall near Everglades City at 6:00 PM on October 14, 1964 as a Category 2 Hurricane with sustained winds between 100 and 110 mph. Within five hours, the system cleared the Florida Peninsula and emerged over the western Atlantic Ocean north of West Palm Beach. While crossing the state, the hurricane maintained her intensity, causing our area to receive winds of 115 mph from the SW. During the afternoon of October 15, the low that had formed the previous day induced a northward turn of the cyclone and directed it toward North Carolina.
David re-intensified to a Category 2 hurricane while over the Bahamas, where it caused heavy damage. Despite initial forecasts of a projected landfall in Miami, Florida, the hurricane turned to the north-northwest just before landfall to strike Jupiter, FL on September 3, 1979 as a category 1 hurricane. David’s western eyewall came ashore from the South with 95 mph winds and 95 mph gusts.  It paralleled the Florida coastline just inland until emerging into the western Atlantic Ocean at New Smyrna Beach later on September 3. David continued to the north-northwest, and made its final landfall just south of Savannah, Georgia as a minimal hurricane on September 5.
Irene strengthened over the Florida Straits, and attained hurricane status on October 15, 1999. It passed over Key West, turned more to the north-northeast, and struck mainland Florida at Cape Sable on October 16 as an 80 mph, category 1 hurricane. Our area was hit with 75 mph winds and very heavy rain. Many trees were knocked down as the hurricane moved north-northeast @ 10 mph.  It entered the Atlantic Ocean near Jupiter, FL early on October 16, still as a Category 1 hurricane despite little convection, then turned to the northeast in response to an approaching upper-level trough. Just offshore, Irene moved parallel to the coastlines of South Carolina and North Carolina on October 17.
Frances moved slowly, between 5 to 10 mph as it crossed the warm Gulf Stream between the Bahamas and Florida, leading to the concern that it could strengthen. However, Frances remained stable at Category 2 intensity with 105 miles per hour maximum sustained winds while it battered the east coast of Florida between Fort Pierce and West Palm Beach for much of September 4, 2004. At 11 pm, the western edge of the eyewall began moving onshore. Because of its large eye, which was roughly 80 miles across, and its slow forward motion, the center of circulation remained offshore for several more hours. At 1 am EDT on September 5, the center of the broad eye of Frances made landfall along the Florida coast just north of the Palm Beaches at the southern end of Hutchinson Island, near Sewall's Point, Florida as a category 2 hurricane. We sustained 105 mph winds from the ESE. Many trees were knocked down, signs were damaged, and power was out for days by this very large & slow-moving hurricane. There was some roof damage in the Northern part of the county. Frances caused 6 deaths in Palm Beach County and dumped 12 plus inches of rain in many areas.  Late on September 5, Frances picked up speed due to a strengthening high pressure system to its north, and it crossed the Florida Peninsula, emerging over the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa as a tropical storm. After a short trip over the Gulf of Mexico, Frances made a second landfall near St. Marks, FL. Frances headed inland, weakening to a tropical depression and causing heavy rainfall over the southern and eastern United States.
Jeanne was the deadliest hurricane in the Atlantic basin since Mitch in 1998. After wreaking havoc on Hispaniola, Jeanne headed westward, strengthening to a Category 3 hurricane. Jeanne maintained this intensity as it passed Grand Bahama Island. At 11:50 p.m. EDT on September 25, 2004, Jeanne made landfall on Hutchinson Island, just east of Sewall's Point, FL, Stuart, FL and Port Saint Lucie, FL, as a category 3 hurricane with winds of 120 mph. This is the same place Hurricane Francis struck Florida three weeks earlier. Many trees in the Palm Beaches were knocked down, and power outages lasted for days. Jeanne was responsible for two deaths in Palm Beach County.Jeanne's track continued to follow within 20 miles of that of Frances until it reached Pasco County.  The hurricane then swung more rapidly to the north, and the center remained over land all the way to the Georgia state line, unlike Frances which exited into the Gulf of Mexico. Jeanne became an extratropical cyclone over Virginia on September 28, and the system moved back into the Atlantic offshore the New Jersey coast the next day.
Wilma made FL landfall at Cape Romano, Florida on October 24, 2005 as a Category 3 Hurricane with winds of 120 mph. Key West received several feet of water in the low-lying areas and many homes were flooded. Wilma crossed the state in about 4.6 hours and weakened to a Category 2 hurricane before hitting the Palm Beaches from the SW with 105 mph winds. Moving quickly northeast, Wilma’s eye passed directly over Palm Beach. Damage was extensive but not as bad as areas to the south. There was moderate roof damage to many buildings, with signs down & many trees toppled. We experienced sustained winds at 81 mph with gusts to 98 mph. Wilma caused an estimated 20 billion in damage with 35 deaths in Florida. Wilma exited Florida, entering the Atlantic Ocean near Jupiter, FL.
Dorian was a long-lived, extremely powerful and destructive Category 5 hurricane that devastated the northwestern Bahamas and remained offshore Florida, passing within 81 miles of the Palm Beach coast on September 3, 2019 causing onshore wind gusts of 40-50 mph. Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas in Elbow Cay, just east of Abaco Island on September 1 with one-minute sustained winds of 185 mph. The hurricane caused catastrophic damage to Grand Bahama and Abaco Island, with at least 70,000 people left homeless. After moving over the Bahamas, Dorian slowed its forward motion considerably, remaining essentially stationary just north of Grand Bahama for about a day. Shortly after, a combination of cold water upwelling and an eyewall replacement cycle weakened Dorian to a Category 2 hurricane by September 3rd. On September 3rd Hurricane Dorian began to move slowly towards the north-northwest passing along the eastern coast of Florida, beginning at the Palm Beaches. Dorian completed its eyewall replacement cycle and moved over warmer waters off the Florida east coast, regaining Category 3 intensity by midnight on September 5. In the early hours of September 6, Dorian weakened to Category 1 intensity as it picked up speed and turned northeast. On September 6, Dorian made landfall in the U.S. at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.