Hurricane Irma – what you might need to know for dealing with the storm

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Here is some general information that might be helpful 

The National Hurricane Center has the best information: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

Governor Scott has ordered all tolls be suspended across Florida.

Now is the time to refill prescriptions if you don’t have a couple of weeks supply on hand.

Charge up all your phones, laptops, tablets, etc.

You can wrap up photo albums and other precious items in heavy duty garbage bags, tape them well. Put them high up in your house if you think there may be flooding or wind damage.

If you have guns, please make sure they are secured properly.

If you, or if you have to take care of someone with a disability, you can register with the local health department so they can provide assistance during a storm. That may include (varies from county to county) transportation, reserved space at a shelter, dialysis etc. This registration usually cannot be done once evacuations have been declared.

When you are filling up your car, please also check your oil and tires.

The Florida Storms app is great, and was paid for by you! It’s a project of Florida Public Media.
https://floridastorms.org/2017/09/04/irma-now-category-4-eye-florida/

Here is NOAA’s 5 day forecast model 

If you want to torture yourself, here is a storm surge model

Take pictures of your valuables in your house including art work, electronic devices and appliances, if you have to apply for insurance funds. 

Sean Kinane wrote a great story about hurricane prep

County Information

Citrus County emergency management
Here is Hernando County info
Hillsborough County information is here. Tampa has declared a local state of emergency.
Here is Manatee County info
If you are in Pasco county, you can sign up for mobile emergency alerts here.
Pinellas – check your evacuation zone here

School Closings:

Pinellas County Schools will be closed Thursday & Friday
Hillsborough County schools closed Thursday & Friday
Manatee County schools closed Friday
Polk County schools closed Friday
St. Pete College is closed Thursday through Sunday
University of Tampa is closed Thursday through Monday
The USF system is closed Thursday through Sunday, USFSP also cancelled Monday classes. 

Supplies

There are a lot of lists being published about what supplies are needed. Figure you will need 3 days of supplies for each person, and one of each item for each person (except things like can openers, etc). Put your supplies in a cooler or something that can be fairly water tight and sturdy.

Important papers to bring or secure:
Identification (passports, drivers license)
Car, health, & home insurance info, including emergency numbers
Your county clerk office might have downloadable copies of your mortgage, wedding license, birth certificates etc.
Prescriptions

Consumables
Canned food & a couple of can openers

Non-perishable or slowly perishable food. Peanut butter filled pretzels certainly qualify!
Boxed drinks (besides wine), instant coffee or tea, gatorade, etc. Stuff that doesn’t have to be refrigerated. 
Water for both drinking and toilets. Fill containers around the house, and if you have a bathtub. You can use big pots, thermoses, etc. Don’t panic if the stores don’t have bottled water! Buy containers if needed. Figure a gallon of water per person per day.
Toilet paper, paper towels, disposable plates, napkins, cups, plastic-ware

Personal care & storage & items
Heavy duty garbage bags
Freezer packs (you can make your own by soaking a sponge and putting it in a heavy duty plastic bag and putting it in the freezer)
Some clothing and towels
Heavy duty plastic bags
Flashlights, flashlight batteries, battery operated lamps
Candles (in glass, for use after the storm has passed)
Duct tape
Tools- hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, etc
Portable radio
Heavy duty extension cord
First Aid Kit
Maps
Whistle (to call for help)
Dust masks
Cash
Chlorine bleach

If you have animals that you are bringing with you, please bring their crate, food, water, toys and medication. 

Evacuation/Shelters