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.