Visiting Florida during Hurricane Season – Tips to Stay Safe
September 3, 2019
Hurricane Season | So you decided to spend your summer vaca soaking up the sun on one of Florida’s powdery beaches or pay Mickey Mouse a visit in Disney World (that’s still a thing, right?). But as you arrive in the sunshine state, you suddenly get the weather alert of a hurricane coming and before you know it, it’s too late to evacuate, store shelves are freshly out of anything you might find useful and the dreaded panic has spread throughout the streets.
Hurricane season is no joke, though you probably will meet plenty of Floridians joking about it aaallll the time. You know, till a hurricane actually comes.
So, what now?
Chances are, if you are visiting then you don’t know anyone here and you’re not that familiar with the area. Don’t fret, here are some useful tips and resources if you ever get stranded in the sunshine state during hurricane season.
When exactly is Hurricane Season, anyway?
June 1st – November 30th.
Most hurricanes during hurricane season, occur between late July and September. Mid August through October if you ask the professionals but the past years I’ve lived here it definitely feels more like July through September.
So, a hurricane is coming, what do I do?
Determine if you are in a flood zone.
This is important. If you are staying in a hotel or a resort, you will be able to find this information out with the hotel staff. If you are renting out an AirBnB, contact your host. This really should be information you take into consideration when planning your trip as staying out of the flood zone can save you a lot of time and stress.
You can lookup the address you are staying at, on the FEMA Flood Map, to determine if the location you are staying at is in a flood zone.
If you are in a flood zone and there is a hurricane approaching, evacuation may be mandatory. This will be announced on the local news channel and I don’t recommend taking that lightly.
But what does mandatory evacuation mean?
Mandatory evacuation is ordered in areas that are expecting high damage. This doesn’t neccessarly mean everything will be wiped off of the face of the earth, but severe flooding and prolonged power outages are likely to occur.
Though this is referred to as mandatory evacuation, no on will come to your door and drag you out by your hand. HOWEVER, this also means that during the storm and at least 72 hours after, if you choose not to evacuate, no one is coming to help you either.
So, where do I go to evacuate?
To find a local shelter, visit Florida Disasters website. Once there, you will have to select the county which you are staying in and if any shelters in the area are open, address will be provided there.
You can also download the FEMA app that provides information on local shelters, but I’ll talk some more about that in a minute.
The Florida Emergency Information 24-hour Hotline phone number is: 800-342-3557
Be prepared for plenty of traffic on the streets, especially if you wait last minute.
Stock up on the necessities and do it quick.
Things like water, canned goods and batteries fly off the shelves real quick when a storm is coming EVEN if it’s not hitting directly the area you are staying in.
Here’s a few things you should have handy:
Bottled Water and Non-Perishable Food
There’s a chance you may be out of power for a few hours or even a few days, so if you’re staying in an AirBnB and you’re fridge is stocked up with food that’s going to spoil easily, you might want to do something with it before you stink up someones fridge.
You don’t have to turn full on survival mode here, but some granola bars or canned good might not be a bad idea.
Just some basics might be a good idea – bandaids, disinfecting wipes, sanitizer, pain meds etc.
I always recommend traveling with a back up battery pack wherever you go, but this is especially important during hurricane season because the likelihood of you not having power, is real.
Chances are if you are visiting Florida, you are probably renting a car. It’s a good idea to not let your tank drop below half.
The first things that run out when a hurricane approaches is bottled water and gas at gas stations. Even if you are not evacuating, it’s a good idea to have a full tank, as gas may not be replenished so quickly even after a storm passes.
Do this sooner than later because when it comes to hurricane seasons, Floridians go kind of crazy. I’ve heard stories of people pulling out guns at gas stations to shoo someone off, so that they can tank up their car first.
Download some apps
There’s a few phone apps you might want to have handy just in case.
I'm Sandra, creator of Whispers of Adventure.
I'm a crazy dreamer with a love for adventure and new experiences. With my passion for writing and capturing the moment with a lens, I hope to inspire you for your next adventure!