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When and where to evacuate before a storm hits

Posted: 11:05 AM, May 28, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-28 15:05:57Z

When the time comes to evacuate due to an approaching storm, you not only need to know where to go, but when.

“When I think of planning for hurricane season, I think it starts with evacuation planning.”  Dr. Rick Knabb, chief hurricane expert at The Weather Channel, stresses the importance of knowing if you live in an evacuation zone.

“Contact your local county or city emergency management agency; they can tell you if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone.”

Maps show four different zones in Southwest Florida.  People living in Zone A will likely be evacuated with any named storm coming in from the Gulf.  It's most vulnerable because of its low elevation and proximity to the tidal waters.

People in Zone B will likely have to leave when a hurricane heads this way.  

Those living in Zone C, while farther from the coast, will need to evacuate in the event of a larger hurricane.  This area is still vulnerable to wind and storm surge.

“Storm surge in the southwest coast of Florida can go inland many, many miles.”

Zone D is the least vulnerable area.  Well protected buildings should be safe in most storms.  But even in this zone, high winds, tornadoes, and heavy rains can be dangerous.

“You don't have to travel hundreds of miles; you only have to travel tens of miles to get out of the storm surge threat area, and that's what we're most concerned with,” says Dan Brown, senior hurricane specialist.

Once you know which zone you live in, ask yourself this question: If a storm approaches and you have to evacuate, where will you go?

Think about going to a friend or family member's house.  “Have your supplies, know what you're going to do, be prepared. Because you will be very thankful when that hurricane is threatening that you have done your homework and that you know what you are going to do and you know where your family is going to ride out the storm and be safe,” says Brown.

Finding out which zone you live in is a click away.  

Lee County Evacuation Map, Routes, and Shelters

Collier County Evacuation Info

Charlotte County Find Your Evacuation Zone

Hendry County Emergency Management

Glades County Emergency Management

 

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2018 STORM NAMES

Alberto Leslie
Beryl Michael
Chris Nadine
Debby Oscar
Ernesto Patty
Florence Rafael
Gordon Sara
Helene Tony
Isaac Valerie
Joyce William
Kirk


HURRICANE TERMS TO KNOW

Tropical Storm WATCH: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified coastal area within 48 hours.

Tropical Storm WARNING: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within the specified coastal area within 36 hours.

Hurricane WATCH: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible somewhere within the specified coastal area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

Hurricane WARNING: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified coastal area. A hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.