It’s that time of the year again. Hurricane season starts on June 1 and ends on November 30, and Sarasota’s Climate Adaptation Center is predicting a total of 22 named storms. According to the center, between nine and 11 are likely to develop into hurricanes, with five predicted to become major hurricanes.
Sarasota County Emergency Management is encouraging you and your family prepare by planning ahead. Here are some tips to help.
Prepare an Emergency Supply Kit
Keep in mind that a hurricane can cut off your power and water supply—and that there is a possibility that you will not be able to drive your vehicle due to the car damage and roads becoming flooded and blocked.
An emergency kit should fit the specific needs of your household. It should have supplies to last each person and pet for up to 10 days. A few things to consider when stocking up:
- Food and water supply
- An emergency medicine supply
- Emergency power sources such as flashlights and batteries
- Safety and personal items
- Important documents: medical, wills, passports, and IDs
If you need to go shopping to stock up on supplies, the state of Florida is currently running its disaster preparedness sales tax holiday, which ends June 10. A full list of qualifying items can be found here.
Locate Your Nearest Shelter
If a hurricane is expected in your area, authorities may order you to evacuate your home.
Sarasota County has made locating your nearest shelter easy by providing a list of evacuation centers and a bus transportation plan for you, your family (including your domestic pet) and a limited amount of your supplies.
This bus transportation program is activated only when Sarasota County has declared a county emergency, an activation is ordered, and when evacuation centers are opened. A list of rally points and evacuation centers in Sarasota County can be found by clicking here.
Know Your Risk
According to the CDC, it is essential to know the difference between a hurricane “watch” and “warning.” Listen for National Weather Service alerts on TV, radio, or online. There are two kinds of alerts:
- A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible in your area. Hurricane watches are announced 48 hours before tropical storm force winds (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) start.
- A hurricane warning is more serious. This means hurricane-force winds are expected in your area. Hurricane warnings are issued 36 hours before tropical storm-force winds are expected in your area to give you and your family time to prepare for the storm.
Create an Evacuation Plan
Having your emergency supply kit ready to go, locating the nearest shelter and the different routes you can take to get there, and knowing your hurricane evacuation levels will help better prepare you and your family for hurricane season.
Those with qualifying medical needs should complete the Medically Dependent online application. These online applications stop being accepted 60 hours prior to the expected impact of a storm.
Sign up for Alert Sarasota County or the Sarasota County emergency newsletter to stay informed in the event of an emergency at scgov.net. For more information on how you and your family can be prepared, visit scgov.net/beprepared or call 311 in Sarasota County.
"Gather your supplies and make your plans now. Don't wait until a storm is approaching to make these important decisions," says Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane. "Having set plans and being informed is the best way to prepare for a potential disaster."