Attention, fools! What not to do in Hurricane Ian.

Now is not the time to go swimming.
A steady stream of people walk along the sea bed during a reverse storm surge along Bayshore Boulevard Wednesday in Tampa.
A steady stream of people walk along the sea bed during a reverse storm surge along Bayshore Boulevard Wednesday in Tampa. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Sept. 28, 2022|Updated Sept. 28, 2022

Now, look. Floridians are getting continual advice from officials as catastrophic Hurricane Ian prepares to wallop southwest Florida. I’ve already advised everyone to listen to those professionals. Now that the storm is poised to come on shore, it seems necessary to add a few bits of direction. This is merely the perspective of a plain old news columnist sitting here watching you jerks perform death-defying acts online.

So, let’s review what not to do in a hurricane:

Don’t go outside. If you can follow this basic golden rule, the rest of the list will come a lot easier. Shelter in place does not mean “Pull on my Target rain boots and give the town a little lookie-loo.”

Don’t force your dogs to pee outside if it’s not coming easily. Of course they need to do the doo, but a six-second back door opportunity in clearer moments is sufficient. After that, let them soil that ailing potted plant inside (you know you have one). You can clean the rug, but you can’t get a new best friend.

Don’t go swimming in open waters! I can’t... do we need to say this?

Don’t climb fences meant to keep you out of deadly seas. Come on, who would even...


Don’t drive for fun. This leads nowhere good. This leads to wayward branches flying at the windshield and you swerving into some innocent person’s mailbox. That leads to street arguments, which leads to a flagrant violation of the first rule on this list.

Don’t wade or drive into standing water. This applies for after the storm, too. You’re risking encountering downed power lines, debris, busted road conditions and, let’s be honest, Pennywise the clown. Even just a foot of water can make your car float.

Don’t take a casual walk with the family, even if it only seems drizzly and cloudy. Tell that to the palm frond lurking on high and waiting to strike your selfie.

Don’t take a cigarette break. Hey, I’m not going to tell you that a natural disaster is the time to quit smoking — it’s really not — but I will say that it is the time to smoke inside and air things out later.

Don’t try to own Dark Brandon or DeathSantis. We will get right back to doing that soon, but even these two guys have agreed to temporarily stop fighting.

Don’t eat all your snacks in the first hour. And don’t drink so much hurricane tequila that you require medical attention. One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, air mattress.

Don’t ask, “Why is everyone posting about Ian?” if you’re not from Florida. Click the hashtag! This state is terrified and will be dealing with the fallout from this crisis for a very long time. And if conditions are clear where you are? Hey. By all means, go outside.

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2022 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide

ROAD CLOSURES: What to know about bridges, roads as Hurricane Ian approaches.

HOW TO TALK TO KIDS ABOUT THE HURRICANE: A school mental health expert says to let them know what’s happening, keep a routine and stay calm.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN A SHELTER: What to bring — and not bring — plus information on pets, keeping it civil and more.

SAFEGUARD YOUR HOME: Storms and property damage go hand in hand. Here’s how to prepare.

IT'S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at

RISING THREAT: Tampa Bay will flood. Here's how to get ready.

DOUBLE-CHECK: Checklists for building all kinds of hurricane kits

PHONE IT IN: Use your smartphone to protect your data, documents and photos.

SELF-CARE: Protect your mental health during a hurricane.

• • •

Rising Threat: A special report on flood risk and climate change

PART 1: The Tampa Bay Times partnered with the National Hurricane Center for a revealing look at future storms.

PART 2: Even weak hurricanes can cause huge storm surges. Experts say people don't understand the risk.

PART 3: Tampa Bay has huge flood risk. What should we do about it?

INTERACTIVE MAP: Search your Tampa Bay neighborhood to see the hurricane flood risk.