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2015 Hurricane preparedness guide

Evacuation maps, shelter locations

If a storm comes, you'll need to know how to get out of town or go to a shelter. Know your county's evacuation routes. Might there be a low-lying area between you and a major route? Study up in advance and have a backup plan. (Note: Some of the maps take a while to load, and it's recommended that you have an updated version of Adobe Flash to display them.)

 

  1. NOAA predicts a below-average Atlantic hurricane season

    Hurricanes

    Just a few days from the start of hurricane season, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration announced Wednesday its storm predictions for the next six months.

    Looks like it could be a quiet one.

    Hurricane Jeanne swirled over Florida in 2004, the year four hurricanes made landfall in the Sunshine State.
  2. Two hurricane hunter planes at MacDill AFB to get $42 million upgrade

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — The hurricane planes known affectionately as "Miss Piggy" and "Kermit" are getting new Rolls-Royce engines, new wings and better radar.

    Technicians remove the forward radar cover of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s turboprop aircraft “Miss Piggy” Friday at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
  3. How to prepare a hurricane kit

    Hurricanes

    Building a hurricane kit is a lot like packing for a wilderness camping trip. You need to be able to survive for several days on your own without any outside assistance.

    A basic hurricane kit from Bill Jackson's, Pinellas Park.  Items in photo include: Large Tote Carrier or Ice Chest, center, Portable Camping Stove with Cooking Set and Utensils, center, Portable Fresh Water Container, front left, Plenty of Batteries, multiple sizes, front left, Insect Repellent, bottom center, Battery Operated Flashlight, bottom, center, Battery Operated Lantern, front, right, Solar Powered Charger/charges electronic items using small solar panels, bottom right, Freeze Dried Food Kit, various foods, center left, Rain Poncho, center right, Sleeping Bag, center right, Pillow, back left, Portable Fan that charges electronic items, back right, Water Purification Unit and Water Bottle/Mister, Water Purification Tablets and Waterproof Matches/Lighter, top of cooler, left, Battery Operated/Chargeable  Portable Radio/Walkie Talkie and First Aid Kit, top of cooler, right. FOR TERRY TOMALIN STORY.
  4. El Niño may be good news for Florida

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Call it the double dip. The back-to-back. The Double D with a capital E. Behold, El Niño, a weather phenomenon so hot, it warms the tropic waters every few years, but so cool it can calm Florida's jittery nerves during the five-month hurricane season.

  5. Katrina: Moving among surreal scenes

    Hurricanes

    In late August of 2005, Times reporters Chris Tisch and Aaron Sharockman were sent to the Florida Panhandle to cover the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. As the storm tracked farther west, the pair headed to New Orleans.

    Rescuers take people from the rooftop of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School in the 9th Ward.
  6. Hurricanes mean good surf — and danger

    Hurricanes

    Surfers love hurricanes because these low-pressure systems produce long lines of well-spaced waves that are easier to catch than the sloppy whitecaps of a typical winter cold front.

    A surfer takes advantage of the high surf on Madeira Beach caused by the passing of Hurricane Rita.
  7. Storm passes – danger doesn't

    Hurricanes

    Most Floridians know that hurricanes bring strong winds, heavy rain, high tides and storm surge. If that's not enough to make you move inland, don't forget about flying debris and tornadoes. But there is much more to keep in mind, especially after the storm passes.

  8. Have a plan for Sparky, Felix, too

    Hurricanes

    Advice from the dog: Cultivate an inland friend, a tolerant one with a home that is high and dry. Do it now before a storm comes barreling up the coast.

    Don’t let your dog end up like this one carrying government issued rations in its mouth after Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.
  9. Make document protection a high priority for hurricane season

    Hurricanes

    Long before you head out to Home Depot for plywood and duct tape as a hurricane approaches, there's an even more critical step you should take: preserving the documents that prove who you are and verify ownership of your most important assets.

    This waterproof protector case by Pelican sold at Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure in Pinellas Park is a good choice for protecting your documents, but there are many others.
  10. Hope for the best; prepare for the worst with tropical weather

    Hurricanes

    As this year's hurricane season approached, the Times interviewed Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the National Hurricane Center, to talk about preparation.

    Contents of a mobile home lay scattered  on Oct. 25, 2005, after Hurricane Wilma came through the Fort Lauderdale. It was the last hurricane to directly impact Florida, according to Dennis Feltgen of the National Hurricane Center.
  11. In a crisis, use social media and connect with the Tampa Bay Times

    Hurricanes

    From Hurricane Sandy to the Boston Marathon Bombing to Tropical Storm Debby, we know smartphones and social media can be especially helpful communication options during times of natural disaster or crisis situations.

    SP_341331_FLYN_McDonald_1 (7/18/11)  Amber McDonald, Digital Audience Specialist.  
[KATHLEEN FLYNN Times]
  12. Storm surge is a bigger threat than the wind

    Hurricanes

    Early into the season and looking ahead there are signs of a below-average Atlantic/Gulf Hurricane Season as far as number of named storms goes.

    10 News Chief Meteorologist
  13. Better weather means Floridians can finally shop around for insurance

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — In a state where residents were once lucky if an insurer even offered them a policy on their homes, calmer skies have finally brought Floridians a chance to shop around for plans.