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

Be prepared!

Preparedness is your best defense against big storms. These sites have good information about being ready for trouble:

Vital storm preparation and safety tips from Daniel Noah of the National Weather Service in Ruskin, talking with WMNF's Chief Engineer Bill Brown.

General Tips:

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
  • Juices
  • Cereals
  • Coffee, Tea.
  • Infant formula
  • Bread

Emergency Supply List

  • Battery-operated radio
  • Flashlight
  • 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.