Hurricane Season is from 1-Jun to 30-Nov; however, severe tropical weather can produce hurricanes during any month of the year. The 6-month Hurricane Season is the period most likely for hurricane impacts to the Tampa Bay area. The huge storm system can span hundreds of miles and like a super-charged thunderstorm. Add a moving wall of water (storm surge) and you have a very destructive force of nature.
It does not matter how many hurricanes are predicted for a season, when a single hurricane can completely destroy your home and contents.
Tropical depressions can escalate to Tropical Storms and worse yet, hurricanes. A Storm surge is simply water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can make the moving water level 15 feet or more. Additionally, wind-driven waves are superimposed on the storm tide. This rise in water level can cause severe flooding in coastal areas, particularly when the storm tide coincides with the normal high tides. The danger from such storm tides in Tampa Bay’s and the Gulf Coast’s shorelines is tremendous.
High winds, tornadoes, heavy rains, flooding, flash floods, high lightning activity, and dramatic barometric drops accompany the storm surge.
Even before the arrival of Storm force winds (>58 mph), area bridges will be closed by transportation authorities. Closures generally begin at 40 mph.
The Tampa Bay area is the country’s third-most vulnerable city for hurricane destruction.
Following a hurricane making landfall, especially a major hurricane, emergency responders and relief agencies should not be expected for days.
Safe drinking water, electrical power, and natural gas services may be out for days to weeks…or longer.
Evacuating and returning will be delayed by the severity of damage and safety factors/hazards.
Are you at risk?
If you live in any one of these counties, you are at risk! Please learn about your Hurricane Evacuation (Hurrivac) Zone.
Know your evacuation zone. Plan to relocate if your home is in an evacuation zone or is a mobile home. Develop travel routes, home preparedness and damage mitigation efforts.
Ensure you have adequate insurance for vehicles, personal property, and real estate. If you rent or lease and apartment, ensure you have a “renter’s insurance policy” and that your geographic location and residence are accurately recorded with your insurance company.
Identify your risk of Flood Damage. If you own a home and flooding may be a threat, contact your insurance company and ensure you have coverage against flooding. Flood insurance often requires separate coverage. There is usually a two week waiting period prior to the coverage going into effect. For more information, see the National Flood Insurance Program.
Create a household disaster plan. Plan to meet your family in case you are separated. Choose an out-of-town contact for everyone to call to say they are safe. Locate the nearest public shelter as a back up to your primary plan.
Retrofit roofs and structure for strong winds and other storm hazards. Consider the gutters and downspouts, protection/coverings for windows (not tape), parking and stoarge of vehicles (cars, boats, etc.).
Prepare surrounding areas to reduce debris that can be blown and cause damage.
Obtain supplies to protect your property and for survival.
Arrange for the safe keeping of your pets. They cannot be taken to public shelters.
Make a complete inventory of personal property; take photographs or video of major items
Ensure your directorate’s Disaster Preparedness Officer or designated Point of Contact knows your anticipated evacuation location. Also include anticipated location of dependents if you expect separate locations. Include email addresses and telephone numbers for each location.
Click Here to download the Hurricane Preparedness Guide from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
How/when to act
If a hurricane is predicted:
Monitor reliable radio or TV for official reports.
Implement your preparedness planning efforts for your home, Disaster Kit(s), Emergency Kit, evacuations, and so on.
Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
Report your (and your family’s) accountability according to the command’s instructions.
Decision Point: When a storm watch is issued, you'll need to decide whether to go or stay.
You should evacuate under the following conditions:
If you live in a surge zone officially declared as an evacuation zone or if directed by local authorities to do so – follow credible authorities’ instructions.
If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure - these are particularly dangerous during hurricanes no matter how well secured to the ground.
If you live in a high-rise building - hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
If you feel you are in danger.
* Reimbursement for evacuations is dependent upon formal evacuation orders generated by the MacDill AFB Commander
Staying Home: If you remain in your home
Call to let someone know where you are, per your Communications Plan.
Do not bring pets, alcoholic beverages, or weapons to public shelters.
Keep important papers, especially insurance policies, with you at all times.
Constantly monitor your radio for the latest information on the storm movement or until the “All Clear” has been issued.
Notify other family members where you will be
Do not try to return to your home until local authorities grant permission. Expect limited access and curfews during recovery operations.
In Either Case, do the following
Constantly monitor weather reports on television or radio. Hurricanes can move very quickly. Hurricanes typically move at a forward speed of 8 to 25 miles per hour. This means an approaching storm can move up to 200 miles during the course of a normal work day. As the hurricane gets close, begin monitoring the weather reports every hour. Bay News 9 and the Weather Channel are two examples of weather information.
Double check hurricane box and collect items not kept with your hurricane box.
Keep a Photo I.D. with your current address. This may become important when asking a police officer or National Guardsman for permission to re-enter your neighborhood.
Fuel all your vehicles
Get a supply of cash. During the recovery period, checks and credit cards may not be accepted and ATMs may not be working.
Anchor small boats or move them to shelter. Anchor loose items on or near your property such as TV antennas, garbage cans, garden tools, toys, lawn furniture, etc.
Board up or shutter large windows. Tape exposed glass surfaces to prevent shattering.
Hurricane Ready Kit
As a minimum, prepare yourself to be without food and water for at least 3 days. The following are suggested items for your hurricane kit.
Hurricane Box: A suggested list of hurricane box contents is below:
Canned and non-perishable foods
Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
Cooking tools (ie. A non-electric can opener.)
Camp stove (with fuel)
Lantern (with fuel)
Several flashlights and fresh batteries
A portable, battery operated radio and fresh batteries
Zip-lock bags to protect valuables
A portable cooler and ice
Baby food, formula, diapers, and baby wipes
Bedding, blankets or sleeping bags
Valuables and important papers(ie.. insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.) in waterproof containers, including your directorate recall list
Pet care items (proper identification/immunization records/medications), ample supply of food and water, a carrier or cage, muzzle and leash
Plastic garbage bags
Bedding (1 blanket or sleeping bag per person)
Clean clothes and sturdy shoes
Clothes & dish detergent
Clothesline and pins
Fire extinguisher - ABC type
Gloves & goggles
Brooms & mops
Pails and buckets
Plywood & nails
Rakes & shovels
Chain saw, gas & oil
Duct and masking tape
Rolls of plastic
Battery operated clock
Butane lighter or matches
Axes, hatchets, pruners
Commercially available disaster kits are also available. Click Here for more information.
Review this inventory at the beginning of each hurricane season, replacing batteries, foods, water, etc. with fresh stock for the new season.
Rehearse your Plan
Consider the following exercise: Try to live for one day without your utilities and begin making a list of essential items that become evident. Parents should plan a "camp in" with their children. This will make it less traumatic both you and your children when you are forced to live without the everyday things we all take for granted.
A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, the generic term for a low pressure system that generally forms in the tropics. The ingredients for a hurricane include a pre-existing weather disturbance, warm tropical oceans, moisture, and relatively light winds aloft. A typical cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface. none;"
Hurricanes can also produce tornadoes that add to the storm's destructive power. Tornadoes are most likely to occur in the right-front quadrant of the hurricane. However, they are also often found elsewhere embedded in the rainbands, well away from the center of the hurricane.
While storm surge is always a potential threat, more people have died from inland flooding in the last 30 years. Intense rainfall is not directly related to the wind speed of tropical cyclones. In fact, some of the greatest rainfall amounts occur from weaker
Hurricanes have been the cause of many maritime disasters and unfortunately, there is no single rule of thumb that can be used by mariners to ensure safe separation from a hurricane at sea. Instead, constant monitoring of hurricane potential & continual risk analysis when used with some fundamental guidelines become the basic tools to minimize a hurricane's impact to vessels at sea or in port.
Tropical Disturbance: An area of thunderstorms in the tropics that may have rotary circulation and maintains its identity for at least 24 hours.
Tropical Depression: A storm system displaying a noticeable rotary circulation and maximum sustained wind speeds of 38 miles per hour.
Tropical Storm: A storm system that displays substantial rotary circulation and maximum sustained winds between 39 and 73 miles per hour. When a system reaches Tropical Storm strength, it is assigned a name by the National Hurricane Center.
Tropical Storm Watch: An announcement for specific areas that a storm, or the potential of a newly developing tropical storm, poses a threat to coastal areas, generally within 36 hours.
Tropical Storm Warning: A warning that tropical storm conditions, including possible sustained winds within the range of 39 - 73 miles per hour, are expected in specific coastal areas within 24 hours.
Hurricane: Once a tropical storm's constant wind speed reaches 74 mph or greater, it is classified as a hurricane.
Hurricane Watch: An announcement for specific coastal areas that a hurricane or an incipient hurricane condition poses a possible threat, generally within 36 hours.
Hurricane Warning: A warning that a hurricane is expected in a specific coastal area within 24 hours. When a hurricane warning is issued, all precautions should be taken immediately. If the hurricane's path is unusual or erratic, the warning may be issued only a few hours before the beginning of hurricane conditions.
Storm Surge: The increase in water level beyond normal tidal changes caused by the action of the storm. This is an increase in standing water level; wave action may cause damage above this level.
Hurricane Categories: Safir-Simpson Scale for categorizing a hurricane's intensity: