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FOX 4 Hurricane Survival Guide


Storm Surge Maps

Lee Co Area Storm Surge Map

Collier Storm Surge Map

Charlotte Co area Storm Surge Map



Hurricane Categories

Hurricanes are ranked 1 to 5 according to what is known as the Saffir-Simpson scale of strength:

  • Category 1: Hurricane has central barometric pressure of 980 mb or more and winds of 74 mph to 95 mph, is accompanied by 4-foot to 5-foot storm surge and causes minimal damage.
  • Category 2: Pressure 979-965 mb, winds from 96 mph to 110 mph, storm surge 6 feet to 12 feet, damage moderate.
  • Category 3: Pressure 964-945 mb, winds from 111 mph to 130 mph, storm surge 9 feet to 12 feet, damage extensive.
  • Category 4: Pressure 944-920 mb, winds from 131 mph to 155 mph, storm surge 13 feet to 18 feet, damage extreme.
  • Category 5: Pressure less than 920 mb, winds greater than 155 mph, storm surge higher than 18 feet, damage catastrophic

In the event of a major impact to S.W. Florida from a tropical storm or hurricane, FOX 4 weather and news information can be heard on these FOX 4 Radio Partners:

105.5 FM
"The Beat"

95.3 FM
"953 The River"

107.1 FM
"Cat Country"

100.1 FM
"Y - 100"


Weather Terminology

  • Tropical Depression: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained wind speed is 38 mph or less.
  • Tropical Storm: A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained wind speed ranges from 39 mph to 73 mph.
  • Tropical Storm Watch: An announcement that tropical conditions pose a threat to coastal areas, generally within 36 hours.
  • Tropical Storm Warning: A warning that tropical storm conditions are expected within the next 24 hours, with sustained winds ranging from 39-73 mph.
  • Hurricane: A tropical cyclone with maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or more.
  • Hurricane Watch: An announcement that hurricane conditions pose a possible threat, generally within 36 hours.
  • Hurricane Warning: A warning that sustained winds of 74 mph or higher and/or dangerously high water associated with a hurricane are expected within the next 24 hours. When a Hurricane Warning is issued, all precautions should be taken immediately.



Emergency Numbers










Emergency Management


Red Cross
































Preparing Your Home

  • Trim trees and landscaping before hurricane season. DO NOT trim if a storm is approaching - loose trimmings become flying debris.
  • Bring in objects that may become dangerous projectiles: lawn furniture, potted plants, grills, toys, pet shelters, garbage cans, sprinklers, hoses and pool equipment. Ask neighbors to do the same.
  • Turn off propane gas valves. Bring smaller gas tanks into the garage - NOT inside your home.
  • Unplug TV antennas/satellite dishes - store in garage.
  • Cover or brace all windows and door openings using hurricane shutters or plywood panels with heavy bolts. Install a garage door bracing kit. When winds get inside your house, internal air pressure builds and may cause the roof or walls to explode.
  • Repair or replace cracked or missing roof tiles and loose asphalt shingles. Install caps over any vent pipes and remove the turbine and cap the hole.

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 For Mobile Home Residents

  • Turn off the water supply where it enters the home.
  • Make sure all gas is off at the tank, do not disconnect.
  • Most importantly - EVACUATE when notified - NEVER remain in a mobile home during any hurricane.

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Preparing Your Pool

  • Disconnect and protect electric pool pumps with plastic sheeting.
  • Drain in-ground pools to 6" to 12" for heavy rains - emptying increases the chance that the pool could pop out.
  • Super chlorinate your pool to reduce the chance of contamination


Prepare Inside Your Home

  • Set your refrigerator to the coldest setting.
  • Freeze water in plastic jugs or ziplock bags to keep things refrigerated if the electricity goes out.
  • For non-drinking use (e.g., cleaning and pouring down toilets to flush) disinfect bathtub/sink, and fill with water.
  • Designate a "safe room" free of windows (e.g., a closet or inside hall). Stock items from your Hurricane Supply List featured in this guide. Include sleeping bags, pillows, and a mattress to get underneath if your home suffers structural damage.
  • Prepare a waterproof bag containing copies of your ID, birth certificates, passports, extra money, insurance papers, titles, important phone numbers, etc. Secure valuables and personal papers up high in waterproof containers.
  • Close all windows. Open windows won't equalize the pressure.

 Preparing Your Pets

  • Public shelters do not allow pets, except service animals.
  • Some veterinarians and kennels take reservations in case of hurricanes. Call now about admission requirements.
  • Call ahead to motels & hotels on your evacuation route to make sure they accept pets.
  • Leave pets home only as a last resort - never leave them tied up.
  • Wherever your pet rides out the storm, make sure it has at least a 3-day supply of food and water, and that it is wearing a collar with ID.

 Securing Your Boat

  • Take action during a Hurricane Watch, as draw bridges do not operate during Hurricane Warnings.
    • Two cardinal rules of boat preparations:
      1. Make preparations now for where your boat will go (dry-docked, marina, upstream).  Make a trial run.
      2. NEVER, under any circumstances, attempt to ride out a storm on a boat.
    • If your boat will remain on land:
  • Tie down with chains/heavy ropes close to a solid building.
  • Let some of the air out of trailer tires to prevent rolling.
  • Remove all canvas and other equipment that could catch the wind.
  • Remove the radio and other personal items.

 Recommended Hurricane Supplies

  • Drinking Water (5 gallons per person)
  • Canned fish & meats, fruits, vegetables & soup
  • Canned juices, milk & sports drinks
  • Peanut butter, jelly, granola bars, trail mix
  • Special foods for babies and pets
  • Battery operated radio/TV/cellular phone with car adapter
  • Flashlights and lanterns
  • Extra batteries
  • Manual can opener
  • Baby supplies (diapers, wipes, formula)
  • Disposable plates, cups & utensils
  • Camp stove/gas grill
  • Fuel or sterno
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Cash (ATM's might not work)
  • Insect repellant, rain gear, and sunscreen
  • Water purification tablets
  • Ice chest and ice
  • Fuel for your car and generators
  • Garbage bags
  • First Aid Kit
  • Prescription medicine (2 wk. supply)
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Toilet paper
  • Work gloves
  • Basic tools
  • Duct tape
  • Ax, saw or chainsaw
  • Rope, nails, lumber & wire
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Tarp or canvas
  • Camera and film
  • Items to occupy the family

After the Storm

     If a tropical storm or hurricane affects Southwest Florida, there are still many dangers even after the storm has left the area. Stay close to home until hazardous conditions diminish.  Do not drive unless it is an emergency.  Limit phone calls to emergencies only.  If there is no electricity, avoid using candles as they can cause fires.

     Be very careful when going outside your home after a storm, as some damage may not be easily seen.  Avoid all downed wires and any areas of standing water due to the threat of electrocution.

     Whether you are outside or inside your home, beware of animals and insects.  The storm may force snakes, alligators, fire ants, rodents and other wild animals from their homes and they might find your home or yard appealing.  Even domestic animals like dogs and cats could be dangerous, as the storm might have left them frightened, confused or injured.  Keep listening to emergency information and updates either on radio or television.

10 Costliest Hurricanes




Total Damage

1.   Katrina / LA, MS 2005


$150-200 billion estimated

2.   Andrew / Southwest FL, LA    1992


$43.7 billion

3.   Charley / Southwest FL 2004


$15.0 billion

4.   Ivan / AL, Northwest FL 2004


$14.2 billion

5.   Hugo / SC 1989


$12.3 billion

6.   Agnes / FL, Northest U.S. 1972


$11.3 billion

7.   Betsy / Southeast FL, LA 1965


$10.8 billion

8.   Frances / FL 2004


$8.9 billion

9.   Camille / MS, Southeast LA, VA 1969


$8.9 billion

10.  Diane / Northeast U.S. 1955


$7.0 billion

10 Deadliest Hurricanes in U.S. Mainland History




  Total Deaths 

1.  Galveston, TX




2.  Lake Okeechobee, Southeast FL 1928



3.  New Orleans, LA, MS, AL, FL (Katrina)    2005



4.  Cheniere Caminada, LA 1893



5.  Sea Islands, GA, SC 1893



6.  GA, SC 1881



7.  Florida Keys 1935



8.  Last Island, LA 1856



9.  Southwest LA, North TX (Audrey) 1957



10.  Miami and Pensacola, FL, MS, AL 1926



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Storm Names:

Hurricane History:

Gas Stations that are going to be open if a hurricane comes

  1. StormPatrol: Cooking without power - Fox 4 Calm Before The Storm
  2. StormPatrol: Social media a game changer for Lee County EOC
  3. StormPatrol: Hurricane Shopping List
  4. StormPatrol: Bigger, better Lee County EOC building under construction


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