This month marks the official start of hurricane season which lasts from June 1st to November 30th.
According to 2019 hurricane forecasts, this season is right at the average for storm forecast activity, unlike last season. However, experts stress that preparation is key–no matter what the forecast may be. Last year, some Floridians were taken by surprise as deadly Hurricane Michael made landfall in the panhandle with major hurricane force winds. So being ready means making a plan for every hurricane season without exception.
Here’s what you’ll want to include in your Hurricane Preparedness Plan:
- Get familiar with your Evacuation Zones. If you are unsure, use a search engine such as google or bing to locate your county’s evacuation zone. If you reside in Palm Beach county click the link below for a map, http://discover.pbcgov.org/publicsafety/dem/Pages/Hurricane.aspx
- Locate Evacuation Risk Shelters near your area. It is important to note that you must locate and Pre-Register for Special Needs and Pet-Friendly Shelters. Search the internet for a hurricane shelter ahead of time, or if you are local to Palm Beach county simply click the following link: http://discover.pbcgov.org/publicsafety/dem/Pages/Shelters.aspx
- Make a Plan specific to your family’s needs. Make a plan and discuss it ahead of time with family members. Since methods of communication may be unavailable during a storm and its aftermath, decide how you plan to stay in touch with family and friends. Get familiar with the evacuation routes and procedures and local shelters. Find a place in your home everyone knows about to store essential items you may need during a disaster.To find out what reoccurring hazards are prone to your area, go to Palm Beach County Evacuation Tool for Storm Surge Information.
- Know if you’re in a Flood Zone Check flood zone maps in your area to see if you are at risk. https://www.fema.gov/flood-zones
- Build an Emergency Kit Emergency essentials, special items and important documents can be stored in an emergency kit. Additionally, you will need to know guidelines to follow for emergency items needed such as water and respective quantities needed to carry you and your family for a period of time during the aftermath, or should the need arise. Here is a more comprehensive list to follow: http://discover.pbcgov.org/publicsafety/dem/Publications/hurricane_supply_checklist.pdf
It is always recommended to have a plan in place before the threat of a hurricane occurs. However, if you must take to the roadways play it safe. You’ll want to become as informed as possible on driving conditions to avoid traffic, hazardous roadways and motor vehicle accidents.
IMPORTANT CONTACT INFORMATION
For the latest details on Florida’s Turnpike go to: http://www.floridasturnpike.com
For more on evacuation routes: Call (850) 414-4100 or (toll free) (866) 374-FDOT (3368).
For travel information and roadway conditions, including road and bridge closures, and toll suspensions and driving conditions: Call 511. The Florida Department of Transportation offers its free 511 service by phone or you can go to http://www.FL511.com.