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Before the Storm

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Every year, prior to hurricane season, your family should review your hurricane plan and make changes as necessary. It should include if you plan to evacuate, where you will go, the route you will take to get there, when you will leave and what supplies you will take.

If you plan to stay, make sure you have all of the supplies necessary to be on your own for at least 72 hours. If you are planning to go to an evacuation shelter, have your shelter supplies kit packed and ready. Make sure you have all the materials on hand to protect your home. You should also trim dead wood from trees. Don't forget to make arrangements for pets. Print and save this page for future reference. You may not have power if a storm is approaching.

If the storm is threatening the area you should listen to local media for information and actions to be taken. In addition you should:

  • Fuel your car. You will need it to evacuate and pumps don't work without electricity.
  • Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools.
  • Install your storm shutters or cover windows with plywood and secure all doors.
  • Prepare boats as appropriate.
  • Turn refrigerators and freezers to the highest settings.
  • Turn off small appliances that are not needed.
  • Turn off LP tanks.
  • Call an out-of-town friend or relative to let them know of your plans. Then instruct other family members to call that person for information about your family after the storm.
  • Fill sinks and bathtubs with water.
  • Get an extra supply of cash. Banks and ATMs may not be operational immediately after the storm.
  • Prepare Insurance Information.

Tracking a Storm

Those of us who live along the Florida Gulf Coast should track every Atlantic hurricane or tropical storm. Many times, we will need to begin making preparations before the storm ever enters the Gulf of Mexico. When tracking a storm, remember that a hurricane is not just a point on a map. Usually the coordinates of the center of the storm are given so that you can track it on your map, however, hurricanes can have tropical storm force winds over 200 miles from that center and even hurricane force winds over 75 or 100 miles from the center. We must remember that hurricane forecasting is not an exact science and they don't always go where predicted.

Tropical Storm Watch
Issued when tropical storm conditions are possible in the specified watch area, usually within 36 hours.

Tropical Storm Warning
Issued when tropical storm conditions are expected in the specified warning area, usually within 24 hours.

Hurricane Watch
Issued when hurricane conditions are possible in the specified watch area, usually within 36 hours. During a hurricane watch, be prepared to take immediate action to protect your family and property in case a hurricane warning is issued.

Hurricane Warning
Issued when hurricane conditions are expected in the specified warning area, usually within 24 hours. Storm preparations should be completed and evacuation under way.

Disaster Supplies Kit
Disaster Supplies Kit Checklist
Documents to Safeguard
What About My Pets

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