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Your Best Resources for Staying Safe This Hurricane Season

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | May 02, 2014

hurricane-season-300x300Let’s Create a List of Hurricane Resources for Florida Residents!

As we prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, People’s Trust is building a list of top-notch resources for you to use in the event of an emergency, as well as planning for any storms.

People’s Trust has put together this list of references and websites to help you gauge the season and get ready. We suggest you bookmark this or add it as a favorite in your Web browser. To do this, hold down the control, or “Ctrl”, key and press the “D” key.

We’ll continue to update both this page and all of our customers throughout the hurricane season. Last season was mild, so we’re hoping for another easy time this year.

Knowledge is the best way to stay safe. And, if you’re ever told to evacuate, People’s Trust suggests following those instructions as soon as you possibly can. It’s our job to help you rebuild your Florida home after a catastrophe; it’s your job to make sure you and your family stay safe.

Understanding Hurricane Terms

This hurricane season, you may hear a wide range of warnings. Knowing what they mean can help you best protect your Florida home. The most common alerts and terms include:

  • Tropical Storm Watch: Tropical storm conditions are possible and may affect your area.
  • Tropical Storm Warning: Tropical storm conditions are expected in your area and it is best to make preparations.
  • Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions are possible in the area. Watches are issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated storm force winds.
  • Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected in the area. Warnings are issued 36 hours in advance of the storm. At this point a hurricane has typically formed and the warning discusses its potential path.
  • Eye: The clear center of the storm with calmer conditions. Remember that an eye passing over you signals that the storm is only half over.
  • Eye Wall: This area surrounding the eye contains some of the most severe weather of the storm with the highest wind speed and largest precipitation.
  • Rain Bands: Bands coming off the cyclone that produce severe weather conditions such as heavy rain, wind and tornadoes.
  • Storm Surge: A deadly rush of ocean water that occurs after a storm makes landfall. This often floods coastal and sometimes areas further inland.

Hurricanes plus the surges and tornadoes they spawn all represent significant dangers, so always take precautions as soon as you can.

Hurricane Preparations for Florida

Florida’s Division of Emergency Management has a page that will be updated with current weather and issues notices about upcoming hurricanes. Notes include preparations you should make for the hurricane season and for specific storms. The main page, where alerts are posted and warnings are issued, can be found here.

Be sure to match the locations to your Florida home and look for any and all alerts that include your county.

The Florida Association of Broadcasters also maintains a page that will be updated with any alerts. Learn more about alerts and which area you live in for broadcast alerts by visiting this site.

Weather Forecasts

The National Hurricane Center runs an interactive hurricane forecast map that can be found here. It updates as new information is provided and predominantly operates during hurricane season itself, beginning June 1.

FEMA creates a hazard map for floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and other disasters. Check out your area with the service to see what you may be at risk of this hurricane season.

The federal government also runs a flood map through the FloodSmart.gov program, and you can see your local area and where your Florida home sits by visiting this page and providing tour Zip Code.

If you’re curious about flooding and how dangers differ in different areas, watch the short videos that run through the flood risk scenarios here. You’ll need to click the “Launch Flood Risk Scenarios” button under the title “Everyone is at Risk.”

Weather Alerts

The Weather Channel keeps dedicated pages that show any active warnings. You can see Florida’s active warnings and alerts by visiting this page at any time. A national look at ongoing weather events and emergencies can be found on this interactive map.

The National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center provides a weather outlook for our region during the hurricane season. This service will again activate on June 1 and can be found here.

Emergency Offices

You can also find your local FEMA emergency management office using this guide. It’s a great idea to visit this ahead of any storm and get contact information for local offices. In the event of an emergency, these phone numbers can be used to get assistance for yourself or to find out how to check on family who live in an impacted area.

Contacts You Need to Gather

In the event of a storm, you’ll want as much information as possible. To help you get access to everything you can, create a list of emergency contact information beforehand.

This information should be gathered as well as additional contact numbers for all of your friends and family. The top sources you should list out include:

  • Phone Number: Local Emergency Management Office
  • Phone Number: Local Law Enforcement
  • Phone Number: County Public Safety Fire/Rescue
  • Phone Number: Your Property Insurance Agent
  • Phone Number: Alternate Office for Insurance Agents
  • Phone Number: Local Utilities
  • Address and Phone Number: County and City Government Offices
  • Address and Phone Number: Local Hospitals
  • Address and Phone Number: Local American Red Cross
  • Call Numbers and Phone Number: Local TV Stations
  • Call Numbers and Phone Number: Local Radio Stations

Your Thoughts?

This list will continue to grow as new resources are created and updates occur to Florida and federal emergency systems. While we’re preparing new guidelines, books and other resources to help you stay safe, let us know of anything we may have missed.

Please use the comments below to share your thoughts, concerns, resources and tips. By combining our knowledge we can help all of Florida have a safer hurricane season.