St. Petersburg Times

2005 Hurricane Guide
Hurricane evacuation information by county
Citrus | Hernando | Hillsborough | Manatee | Pasco |
North Pinellas | South Pinellas | Polk | Sarasota | En Español
Pinellas changes some evacuation zones
The county updates the hurricane danger levels for more than 107,000 addresses.
Check your evacuation zone
[Times photo: Skip O'Rourke 2004]
A mobile home park located near the community of Fort Ogden north of Port Charlotte off of US 17 was almost completely leveled by the force of Hurricane Charley.
Safe at home
2005 Hurricane Preparedness Guide

Measuring a hurricane's strength. Click for larger graphic
Hurricane Tracking Map. Click for printable PDF
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2004 Hurricane tracks. Click for larger graphic
En Español
Even emergency managers learned from 2004
A record year for Floridians contains many lessons on preparation.

Emergency officials fear the worst: procrastinators
They're the ones who call on the eve of the storm and want to know whether they should evacuate, how to get their medicine and who will go pick up their mother.

Get important papers ready to go
Now, while skies are clear, think about the paperwork you'll need to take with you in case of a hurricane. Prepare a hurricane file for papers you'll need immediately, and place other valuable documents somewhere hurricane-proof, such as a safe deposit box.

Many clueless after 4 storms
A recent poll shows many coastal dwellers didn't learn much after the 2004 hurricane season.

Storm chasers to be tracking gusts
Data from Frances, Ivan and other hurricanes confirm a pattern of destructive wind bursts. Researchers hope more observations will inform where, how and what we build.

Timely tip: Trim those trees
Homeowners can avoid property damage and maybe even power outages by getting rid of dead or diseased trees or branches. But they may need a permit first.

The price of paradise
In the Tampa Bay region, we have the best of all worlds - white sand beaches and bay views, magnificent sunsets, warm weather tempered with a gentle Gulf breeze as well as the vibrant economy and cultural opportunities of a metropolitan area - most of the time.

Test your knowledge
Here's a sampling of the quiz questions asked in the Mason-Dixon poll on hurricane preparedness.

Tips to help homes weather storms
There are some specific actions you should take to make your home safer. To make some of these improvements, you will have to get up in the attic or crawl space with a flashlight. You may feel more comfortable with an experienced and licensed inspector, architect, engineer or contractor inspecting your home. Whatever choice you make, take time to do this well before the storm threatens.

Protecting your business
Last hurricane season's overall damage was estimated at $21.47-billion, and about 24 percent of that, $5.18-billion, was commercial losses. It is estimated that 25 percent to 40 percent of businesses experiencing a disaster never recover. A major hurricane striking the Tampa Bay area would result in severe losses. Use the following checklist to prepare a business disaster recovery plan:

Planning, patience go a long way
You might be on your own for days or weeks, so think before - and after - a storm hits.

Most homeowner policies do not cover flood damage
Flood insurance is a special policy backed by the federal government.

Ivan chewed up to 164 feet of beach
A Geological Survey oceanographer says the hurricane's toppling of five-story buildings by erosion was the worst such impact in U.S. history.

Hurricane watching on the Web
Here are some weather and emergency-related sites to go to for information on-line. Remember that it's dangerous to operate your computer in a storm. In fact, you should unplug all electronics before a storm to protect them from surges, and keep them unplugged until after power has been restored.

Hurricane myths - from window tape to chain saws
Florida was hit four times last year. That will never happen again in our lifetime.

Hurricane hazards
A hurricane can combine storm surge, powerful winds, tornadoes and torrential rains into a devastating combination.

Hurricane glossary
By international agreement, tropical cyclone is the general term for all cyclonic, counterclockwise circulations originating over tropical waters, classified by form and intensity as follows:

Hurricane advisories
Advisory - A way of disseminating hurricane and storm information to the public every six hours.

Hanging onto skinny line
The hurricane center plans to discourage obsession with it by using a color-coded map that displays the odds a storm will hit.

Expert predicts 13 named storms
He says another busy season is likely because of deep ocean circulation patterns and decreased wind shear.

Ex-FEMA director criticizes reorganization
James Lee Witt says putting the agency under Homeland Security will slow its response and funding after hurricanes.

Don't leave pets behind to face storm alone

By the numbers
A quick look at the 2004 hurricane season in Florida, by the numbers:

Arlene ushers in names of 2005
The National Hurricane Center started naming hurricanes in 1953 to get away from latitude-longitude designations and military names, and to draw more attention to the deadly storms. Six lists of names are in the rotation, which is maintained and updated by the World Meteorological Organization. Since 1979, men's and women's names have alternated.

Are you insured enough?
Reviewing your policy isn't a bad idea. For example, would hotel bills and meals be covered if a disaster forced a temporary move?

40 years ago, Betsy roared across the gulf
The 1965 hurricane killed 74 people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. It also left almost half of New Orleans under water.

2004, a most sinister season
Only Texas in 1886 had the misfortune that struck Florida last year. Who can forget the here-we-go-again of it all?

Citrus County
Citrus County shelters and emergency information
Should a hurricane threaten Citrus County, all residents west of U.S. 19 and residents 11/2 miles east of U.S. 19 must evacuate. In addition, all mobile home residents, regardless of where they live in the county, must evacuate. Residents who do not have another safe place to wait through the storm should go to one of the shelters.

Hernando County
Hernando County shelters and emergency information
Shelters are listed in order of opening. A minimum of two shelters will be open during emergencies. Pets, alcoholic beverages, and weapons will not be permitted inside public shelters.

Hillsborough County
Hillsborough County shelters and emergency information
Public shelters opening for lower intensity storms

Manatee County
Manatee County shelters and emergency information
Shelter openings may vary with each emergency. Stay tuned to local media for a listing of which shelters will be opened for an event. Do not go to the shelter until local officials announce through the media that the shelter is open. Shelter openings will differ by size and intensity of disaster.

Pasco County
Pasco County shelters and emergency information
Depending on the severity of the storm, all shelters may not be opened. Before evacuating, check your local news or the government access channel to see which shelters are open, and listen for emergency information updates throughout the storm.

Pinellas County
North Pinellas County shelters and emergency information
Shelter openings will vary with each emergency - depending on the size, intensity and duration of the event. Stay tuned to local media for a listing of which shelters will be opened. Do NOT go to shelter until local officials announce that the shelter is open.
South Pinellas County shelters and emergency information
Shelter openings will vary with each emergency - depending on the size, intensity and duration of the event. Stay tuned to local media for a listing of which shelters will be opened. Do NOT go to shelter until local officials announce that the shelter is open.

Polk County
Polk County shelters and emergency information
Polk County Emergency Management (863) 519-7300

Sarasota County
Sarasota County shelters and emergency information
Sarasota County phases in shelter openings when an emergency threatens. It uses a geographically tiered approach in order to effectively and efficiently manage disaster resources and to keep pace with public safety demand. As Tier 1 opens, Tier 2 is placed on standby. The following tiers are opened as each tier begins to reach capacity. As shelters open or reach capacity, the most current information will be made available through the news media. Do not go to the shelter until local officials say it is open. Shelter openings will differ by size and intensity of a storm.

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