Florida Storms and Hurricanes
Storms are a fact of life in Florida. Keep tuned to WMNF to be informed of any important storm information. For up-to-date weather and warnings, see our weather page
Preparedness is your best defense against big storms. These sites have good information about being ready for trouble:
- Hillsborough County Hurricane Guide
- Tips for creating a disaster plan
- Tips on preparing your pets
- Tips on preparing your business
- Tips for elderly and disabled residents
- Hillsborough County evacuation routes
- Pinellas County evacuation routes
- Pinellas County emergency information
- Red Cross suggested emergency kit
- How to create an evacuation plan
- NHC Hurricane Preparedness
- My Safe Florida
Vital storm preparation and safety tips from Daniel Noah of the National Weather Service in Ruskin, talking with WMNF's Chief Engineer Bill Brown.
Prior to the Hurricane
- Look over your insurance policy to insure it provides adequate coverage.
- Check the storm surge history and elevation of your area.
- Make an inventory of possessions.
- Photograph your house and all the rooms inside for insurance purposes.
- Make sure your roofing is properly fastened and secure and make all necessary repairs.
- Obtain lumber, plywood, and concrete nails for battening up.
- Know your evacuation route.
- Organize a place to meet with your family should you become separated during the storm.
- Make sure your yard and drains are cleared of all trash
- Prune trees limbs that are close to your house. They can cause damage to your home or utility lines during a %li storm.
- Find a place to move your boat in an emergency
- If your home is at risk, plan in advanced where you will stay.
- Call your local Office of Emergency Preparedness for recommendations regarding the location of the nearest %li shelter.
- If you or any member of your household need transportation to a public shelter due to special needs -- such %li as age, physical disability, or you are mentally challenged; register in advance with your local Office of %li Emergency Preparedness or other appropriate local agency
- When a hurricane threatens
- Turn refrigerator and freezer to the coldest level. Freeze water in plastic containers.
- Sanitize bath tubs and fill with water.
- Tie down or bring in all outdoor objects (such as awnings, patio furniture, garbage cans).
- Secure or remove roof mounted satellite dishes and TV antennae
- Pick large fruits from trees.
- Clear your yard and drains of debris
- Remove all pictures, clocks, books, tools, office equipment, appliances and important papers (passports, %li birth certificates etc.); wrap them in plastic or seal them in waterproof containers; and store in a safe room %li .
- Stock up on water and non-perishable foods.
- Refill needed prescriptions.
- Fill your car with gas to avoid long lines after the hurricane. Also fill containers for portable generators.
- Park your car in a place that is safest from falling trees and utility poles.
- If you are in a high-rise apartment, know the location of the nearest stairways. Avoid use of elevators.
- Batten down windows and doors with shutters or lumber. Wedge sliding glass doors with a bar.
- Turn off electricity from main switch at least 12 hours before the storm is expected to hit.
- Unplug major appliances.
During the hurricane
- Be calm! Your ability to act logically is very important.
- Stay inside. Do not go outside unless it is absolutely necessary
- Stay away from windows and doors even if they are covered. A windowless or interior room or hallway is %li usually the safest. Listen to your local radio for information
- If you are in a multi-storey house, stay on the first floor.
- If you are in a multiple-storey building, take refuge on the first or second floors. Interior stairwells and %li areas around elevator shafts are usually the strongest part of a building.
- If your house shows signs of breaking up, stay under a table or stand under a door frame.
- Most important, do not go outside during the calm when the eye of the hurricane is passing.
After the storm
- Stay inside until your local radio or television station announces that the dangerous winds are definitely %li out of your area.
- Do not go sight-seeing
- Do not go outside barefooted. Avoid wearing open shoes and watch out for sharp objects
- Stay off your cell phones or CB radios as much as you can, unless it is vital. Keep lines clear for emergency %li calls.
- Bury all dead animals as soon as possible.
- Be aware of downed power lines, weakened bridges and washed-out roads, and weakened trees.
- Purify drinking water by boiling or by adding bleach, (2 drops of bleach per liter of water, 4 drops if the %li water is cloudy). Do not purify all your water at once.
- After adding bleach, let water stand for 30 minutes before drinking
- Make sure you use all your perishable food first
- Do not cook more than is needed for one meal
- Be alert to prevent fires
- Report broken sewer or water mains to local authorities
- Be sure to check your house for structural damage before moving back in.
Emergency Supply Basic Food List
- Water, enough to last ten days
- Foods that do not require cooking
- Canned or cured fish and meat
- Packaged oats
- Biscuits and crackers
- Condensed or powdered milk
- Canned soups and vegetables
- Coffee, Tea.
- Infant formula
Emergency Supply List
- Battery-operated radio
- Extra batteries
- Matches or non-electric lighters and candles, Hurricane lamps
- Bleach and other cleaners
- First Aid Kit: petroleum jelly, aspirin, eye wash, bandages, cotton, tape, band-aid, antacid , laxatives
- Tissue, soap, sanitary napkins
- Disposable cups, plates, utensils
- Can opener
- Large plastic trash bags
- Containers for water and fuel storage
- Non-electric barbeque grill
- Cooking utensils
- Portable cooler
- 100 feet of rope, Tape
- Needle and thread, scissors
- Blankets and towels
- Mosquito repellent
- Tarpaulin (canvas or plastic)
Storage tips for water and food
- Store enough water to last ten days for each person in your household (A normal active person requires a %li minimum of 1 liter of water per day for drinking and food preparation).
- Store emergency food in waterproof containers.
- Arrange items so that those stored first will be used first.
- Observe expiration dates on packaged foods.
- Wrap bread, cookies, crackers and dry foods in plastic bags and keep in tight containers.
- Your storage area should be dry, cool and free from contamination
- Remember that utility poles may be uprooted and their wires left dangling on the streets – be very careful as %li you venture outside
Evacuation and shelters
- A shelter provides temporary housing for persons unable to continue living in their own space as a result of %li emergencies such as flood, earthquake or hurricane.
- It highly recommended that you follow instructions of your designated local authority in times of emergency. %li If you missed such instructions, and you live in an area that floods quite easily it wise to evacuate your %li home – particularly if:
- Your home is near the coastline or a stream that is likely to overflow, in a low-lying area,
- You feel that your home will not offer adequate protection
- Remember - Take your own supplies to the shelter. This may include food, change of clothes, medicine, %li sanitary need, battery-operated radio and flashlight important papers. Avoid taking alcoholic beverages, weapons or pets to shelters.