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Hurricane Season Starts – Florida Listens

Hurricane season starts every year on June 1st – not that hurricanes can’t emerge prematurely, but other than that, June 1st is when Floridians start listening to the weather reports – or watching the newspaper headlines.

If this is your first hurricane season in Florida, here are some hints for you: (At least with hurricanes, we know they’re coming, unlike earthquakes and tornadoes – but sometimes that’s overkill and you wish you weren’t watching them come day after day)

Hint 1:   make a plan for where you’ll go if a hurricane is destined for Tampa Bay. Depending on the location and elevation of your home, and whether you’re in an evacuation zone,  and which level … you may decide to stay home. In that case, you can wait for the next installment tomorrow.

If you need to leave your home, that doesn’t mean you need to leave the area.  In the past many people “escaped” to Port Charlotte or Orlando, only to face a bigger hurricane there than here. Evacuation roads may flood, and will certain slow with traffic. Motels inland may be filled before you get there, with evacuees from other parts of Florida.

You may decide to fly out of Florida to relatives or friends in other parts of the US – if so, be sure you leave early. Airlines often stop flying well before the hurricane is here.

Consider, though, staying here – leaving your home and going to family, friends or a hotel that are on higher ground that won’t be evacuating. If it’s a hotel, make reservations early. Paying for a secure room is small insurance if the storm hits. Regardless of where you’re going, pack some food to bring with you, extras to share. If you have pets, you need to plan for them as well. Even though a hotel may not be in a flood zone, they may lose power, so think about which floor you’re staying on. Yes, there are shelters, but they’re certainly not a first choice!

Determine the route from your home to your destination. Will roads be flooded? If trees block the roads, is there another way around them? How much traffic will there be? Do you have enough gas for delays?

The cities and counties have to order evacuations early, because they are responsible for evacuating hundreds of thousands of people. You may be able to wait longer, to see if the hurricane is still on track to hit here – just be sure you don’t wait too long until you’re stranded.

Whether you’re staying or going – we’ll talk tomorrow about how to prepare.

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