TAMPA, Fla. – The official start of the hurricane season has almost arrived. It starts this Saturday, June 1 and runs through November 30.
- How to prepare for the hurricane season
- The season runs from June 1 to November 30
Hurricanes carry the risk of strong, damaging winds, storm surge, flooding from heavy rains, and tornadoes. Are you ready?
The Spectrum Bay News 9 weather team has visited communities in our area to answer your weather questions and to help you prepare for the coming months.
Meteorologist Juli Marquez hands out Spectrum hurricane supplies at the Auburndale Hurricane Expo in Polk County. (Spectrum Bay News 9)
Here are 10 things you can do to prepare for the hurricane season:
1. Make a plan. Everyone in your family should know what to do if a hurricane threatens the area. Do you live in an evacuation zone? If so, you may be ordered to leave. So find out your zone and plan where you would go. You don’t have to travel far (remember the congested highways before Hurricane Irma?), But you have to go higher up. Ask a family member or friend who lives in a non-evacuation zone to stay there in case you need to evacuate your home. If you have special needs, register now for a special needs shelter if you have nowhere else to go. Go to www.baynews9.com/hurricane for an interactive map where you can find information about hurricane relief and evacuation zones for your province.
2. Whether you live in an evacuation zone or not, make sure your home is safe. Prune your trees and plan how you will protect your windows and doors. Don’t forget your garage door, that’s the most vulnerable part of the house. Also identify outdoor objects to come in when a hurricane is nearby. Think of things like potted plants, garden furniture and other loose items.
3. Collect important documents such as passports, medical records and insurance information. Keep them in a waterproof envelope or container.
4. If you have a pet, can you bring it with you if you need to evacuate? If you go to a shelter, see if it accepts pets. Most don’t. Talk to your vet if your pet has any medical needs. You should also plan extra pet food and water. Have a carrier and updated recording information with you too.
5. You must have enough stock to last up to a week after a storm. That means seven days of food, water and medicines for your family. Our website has a list of things you may need. Print it out or look it up on your mobile phone while you shop. If you’re overwhelmed, buy what you can now and pick up other items next time you shop. Take advantage of the Hurricane Supplies Sales Tax Holiday in Florida. It starts on May 31 and runs through June 6. You can purchase hurricane items tax-free to add to your gear. I haven’t met anyone who says they have too many flashlights. But it’s not just flashlights and batteries and radios, some large card items are eligible, such as portable generators selling for less than $ 750. In Hillsborough County, which has the highest sales tax in the state, you could save over $ 60 in sales tax for that item alone! Click here for a list of duty free items: https://www.baynews9.com/fl/tampa/news/2019/05/15/hurricane–school-supplies-tax-holidays-signed-into-law
6. A mobile phone charger can be your lifeblood for important information before, during and after the storm. Your cell phone can give you weather alerts via the Spectrum Bay News 9 app and help you check in with family and friends. Many wireless chargers are now available. Like flashlights, you can never have too many.
7. Read your insurance and call your insurance agent if you have any questions. It is best to ask questions now while the tropics are quiet. You can also inquire with your agent about purchasing separate flood insurance.
8. Record video or take pictures of your belongings in every room of your house, your garage and your terrace. If you have receipts from large ticket items you have purchased, such as a computer or TV, keep them with other important documents so you can easily find them when you need them.
9. Don’t forget your neighbors. Check with older neighbors and exchange phone numbers in an emergency. If this is your first hurricane season, ask a neighbor for advice.
10. Watch the weather every day. Sometimes we follow a hurricane for a long time and sometimes they develop quickly. Don’t be surprised. We have our tropical update at: 49 minutes past the hour, every hour, during the hurricane season. You will also find updates on our website and social media. follow us @ bn9weather on Twitter and like us @ bn9weather on Facebook. The Spectrum Bay News 9 app has our Klystron 9 radar and weather alerts.
Chief Meteorologist Mike Clay greets visitors to the Citrus County All Hazards and Hurricane Expo in Crystal River. (Spectrum Bay news 9)