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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. El Niño intensifying, could rival strongest in recorded history


    The present El Niño event, on the cusp of attaining "strong" intensity, has a chance to become the most powerful on record.

    This images shows sea surface temperature anomaly. Yellow and red indicate where temperatures are warmer than normal. El Nino is characterized by unusually warm temperatures in the Pacific Ocean off the coast  of South America. []
  2. Strong El Niño may mean fewer hurricanes


    Fewer hurricanes, a cooler winter and more rain?

  3. Tropical Storm Claudette forms in Atlantic; no threat to U.S. (w/map)


    MIAMI — Tropical Storm Claudette formed over the Atlantic Ocean on Monday, though it is not expected to threaten the U.S.

  4. Tropical Storm Bill makes landfall in Texas


    DALLAS — Tropical Storm Bill has made landfall on the Texas coast along Matagorda Island northeast of Corpus Christi.

    Galveston Island Park Board of Trustees crews removed trash barrels from the sea wall Monday as they prepare for the tropical disturbance headed toward the Gulf coast, in Galveston, Texas. [Associated Press]
  5. Low near Yucatan Peninsula brewing storms for Texas, Louisiana


    MIAMI — The National Hurricane Center says a broad area of low pressure near the Yucatan Peninsula could brew nasty weather along the Texas and Louisiana coasts and inland Monday night and Tuesday.

  6. Ten years since its last hurricane, Florida more vulnerable to catastrophe than ever, experts say


    Two million more people have taken up residence in Florida since a hurricane last hit in 2005. That growth, concentrated along coastal areas likeliest to be washed away by a storm, means the state is in many ways more vulnerable than ever to catastrophic damage from a tropical hurricane.

    Claudia Francoise, left, Claudette Plaice and Michel Abel braved Hurricane Wilma’s floodwaters in Immokalee.
  7. NOAA predicts a below-average Atlantic hurricane season


    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.
  8. Two hurricane hunter planes at MacDill AFB to get $42 million upgrade


    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.
  9. How to prepare a hurricane kit


    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.
  10. El Niño may be good news for Florida


    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.

  11. Katrina: Moving among surreal scenes


    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.
  12. Hurricanes mean good surf — and danger


    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.
  13. Storm passes – danger doesn't


    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.