A program has been set up by Sarasota County for people who require assistance to evacuate in the event
of a severe storm. It is necessary to register in advance by calling the County's People with Special
Needs Department, 861-5000, for an application form.
Red Cross: 941-379-9300
Hurricane Tracking Map:
National Hurricane Center:
Hurricane Survival Tips
More and more people are using cordless phones in their home. Remember that these
require electrical power to function. If the power is out they won't work. Keep an
old phone around for backup that does not need to be plugged into an electrical
outlet. Also if you have a cell phone get a cord for it that plugs into the automobile
cigarette lighter so that you can recharge the battery in the event electrical power is out
for a long period.
Review your insurance and remember that you need flood and windstorm insurance in addition to
the regular fire insurance. These have to be in place well before a storm because it
cannot be purchased when a storm is approaching.
Create a family disaster plan that makes sense to you. This will greatly ease the stress
of decision-making and will save you time during final preparations.
Get cash, including a roll of quarters. After a storm, ATMs may not function and businesses
may not be able to process credit cards.
Have sandbags, plastic sheeting, etc. to create a flood barrier around the entries to your home.
Keep emergency food and water on hand during the hurricane season.
Fill your gas tank when a hurricane threatens.
Fill prescriptions before a hurricane.
Put important documents in a secure, waterproof container.
Purchase or build hurricane shutters for windows and sliding doors. Tape does not prevent
windows from breaking.
Pick up items in your yard before a hurricane which may become dangerous in high winds. Patio
furniture can be stored in the swimming pool. Remember, even small items such as potted plants,
bird feeders, and lawn decorations can become deadly projectiles in hurricane force winds.
Remove the propane tank from your gas grill if the grill is not being moved indoors or if it is
stored in the garage.
If you have a pool, protect the filter with a cover and hyper treat the water with chlorination or
Stay or Go?
Leave your home if you are in a mandatory evacuation area. If you stay emergency help
will not be available.
The biggest danger is flooding, not winds. Water is the big killer in hurricanes. The
exception to this rule is manufactured homes. Residents of manufactured housing should evacuate
no matter how close they are to flood zones.
Consider alternatives to official shelters, which quickly become crowded and uncomfortable. Do
you have friends with a secure house? Can you find a hotel in a safe area?
Stay home if you are not in a mandatory evacuation area or an area that is prone to flooding and your
home is secure.
Place your pet in a crate or carrier during the worst part of the storm. You don't want them to
get out if the house is damaged.
If you leave, turn off gas, water, & electricity. Lock doors and windows. Let someone
know where you are going.
Important Terms to Know
Tropical Disturbance: An area of
thunderstorms that maintains its indentity for more than 24 hours.
Tropical Depression: A
disturbance with a clearly defined low pressure circulation. Wind can be as
high as 18 mph.
Tropical Storm: A distinct low
pressure area defined by it counterclockwise circulation in the northern hemisphere and constant
winds from 39-73 mph.
Hurricane: A tropical storm that
has reached a constant wind speed of 74 mph or more.
Tropical Storm Watch: An alert
that a tropical storm may pose a threat within 36 hours.
Tropical Storm Warning: An alert
that winds of 39-73 mph may pose a threat within 24 hours.
Hurricane Watch: There is a
threat of a hurricane within 24-36 hours.
Hurricane Warning: Hurricane
conditions are expected in less than 24 hours. This includes 74 mph winds and/or
dangerous high tide and surf. Actions for protection of life and property should begin
Advisory: Weather advisories are issued for tropical storms and hurricanes. It
will state the location, intensity, direction of travel, and speed of the storm.
Bulletin: A public release made
during periods between advisories, announcing the latest details of the storm.
Small Craft Advisory: Alerts
mariners to sustained (more than two hours) weather or sea conditions, either present or forecast,
that might be hazardous to small boats. The threshold conditions is 18 knots of wind (less
than that in some dangerous waters or hazardous wave conditions.
Gale Warning: Warning of winds
within the range of 39-54 mph. Gale warnings may precede or accompany a hurricane watch.
Storm Warning: A warning of
winds within the range of 55-73 mph.
Hurricane Watch: An advance statement,
not a warning, indicating that a hurricane is approaching. It implies the possibility of
dangerous conditions within 24-48 hours.
Hurricane Warning: This
indicates that winds of 74 mph and higher, or a combination of dangerously high water
and rough seas, are expected. When this is given hurricane conditions are considered
imminent and may begin immediately, or at least within 12-24 hours.