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photo
[Times files: 2000]
A couple watches waves crash over the seawall at Lido Key in Sarasota as Hurricane Gordon moved up the west coast of Florida last year.

Hurricane Guide
This special section is designed to help you prepare for the 2001 hurricane season that runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

A combined effort to help you prepare
With hurricane season on the horizon, it's best to have arrangements in place. That's the point of this special section: to help you consider your options for protecting yourself, your family and your property when the time comes.

The right decisions may save your life
We make a lot of choices in our everyday lives. Some are important, others are of less consequence. During the hurricane season, many of the decisions we have to make can be critical. If we make a bad choice, we can put our families in danger. That's why we should make plans ahead of time, when there is less pressure and we can make the correct decision.

A focus on inland flooding
Less than a foot of water on a road can cause the biggest, beefiest SUV to float away like a fat steel duck.

Measuring a hurricane’s strength
Hurricanes are often thought of in terms of their wind force. But the forces of the water surge created by the storm cause more deaths than wind. (Flash plug-in required)
How hurricanes form
Hurricanes are born in the steamy summer environment of the tropics when rapidly evaporating ocean waters combine with strong wind currents. (Flash plug-in required)

Now is time to organize plan
Now, before a storm is threatening, is the time to:

Caution and patience required after the storm
Be patient. Access to affected areas will be controlled and you won't be able to return to your home until search and rescue operations are complete and safety hazards are cleared.

Safe water treatments
In addition to having a bad odor and taste, contaminated water can contain microorganisms that cause disease such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid and hepatitis. You should purify any water you're uncertain of. There are many ways to purify water, none perfect. Often the best solution is a combination. Before purifying, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of clean cloth.

Stock familiar, nutritious foods
Have at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food on hand. Focus on high-nutrition foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. Also watch sodium content, as salty foods can make you thirstier and water may be at a premium. Your foodstuffs might include:

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.

Where will you go in an evacuation?
You should start preparing before an evacuation order is issued.

Be smart with food in wake of storm
Healthy people can survive on half their usual food for an extended period and without any food for many days. Food, unlike water, may be rationed safely, except for children and pregnant women.

Secure your boat for the storm
Take action early -- don't wait until a hurricane warning is declared. The storm's fringe activity will make preparations difficult.

Review, update insurance before the storm forms
Before a hurricane threatens, insurance industry representatives suggest you:

Review insurance before the storm
HURRICANE INSURANCE BASICS

Gather key documents
Now, while skies are clear, think about which paperwork you'll need to take with you in case of a hurricane and where it is. Prepare a hurricane file for papers you'll need immediately, and place other valuable documents somewhere hurricane-proof, such as a safe deposit box.

How bad is it? Check the scale
Hurricanes are ranked 1 to 5 according to what is known as the Saffir-Simpson scale of strength:

Don't leave pets behind to face storm alone
Pets need to be included in your hurricane plans. This is especially important because you will not be able to take pets along to a Red Cross disaster shelter because of health and safety concerns.

Water for drinking is crucial
Ideally, you should store at least a two-week supply of water for each member of your family.

How to make an insurance claim
People who want to make insurance claims must do two things, adjusters report:

'Wild Willie' is part of the history of Key West
KEY WEST -- Wilhelmina G. Harvey has seen her share of rough weather over nearly a century of living in the Florida Keys. But she missed one of the worst hurricanes in modern times by mere hours.

Horses will require additional planning
It's tough enough to prepare a family of humans for hurricane season. Horse lovers have to do some real planning.

Tips to make your home safer
If you don't live in a mobile home and your house is structurally sound and in a non-evacuated zone, you should ride out the storm there. Leaving your home when it isn't necessary adds to traffic and makes it tougher on those who must evacuate.

Experts offer preparation tips
When it's just the guys from the Weather Channel who are being soaked and blown by a hurricane's rain and wind, hey, no big deal.

Disabled residents will need support
Find out about any special assistance that may be available in your community. In Pinellas, call (727) 464-3800. In Hillsborough, call (813) 272-6900. In Pasco, call (727) 847-8137. In Hernando, call (352) 754-4083. In Citrus, call (352) 746-6555.

Changing technology will help forecasters
OSSABAW ISLAND, Ga. -- Every spring, like clockwork, 88-year-old Sandy West does three things to prepare her barrier island home for hurricane season.

Know where you will go
A little bit of thought and a couple of phone calls right now could save you days of discomfort in a place you really don't want to be -- a public hurricane shelter.

Maps
Evacuation zones, shelters plus tracking chart

Survivors never forget the sound of the storm
John W. Williams remembers the sound of the fury.

Change a storm? Good idea in theory
WEST PALM BEACH -- A hurricane with winds topping 100 mph churns dangerously off the coast. Jets fly in and release a potion to weaken it before it hits land, saving lives and countless millions of dollars in damage.

A review of the 2000 storm season
The 2000 Atlantic hurricane season's storms, including dates, top wind speed, lives lost, path and damage. The season runs June 1-Nov. 30.
Storm Smarts
Latest AP updates and news

traffic jam photo
Learn from these gridlocked Hurricane Floyd evacuees; make your emergency plan now.

Latest charts and satellite shots

Animated tracking chart -- click on the hurricane link, then click on "Java Animated Movement."

Evacuation zones -- get a printable map of the evacuation zones in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties.

Measuring a hurricane’s strength -- Hurricanes are often thought of in terms of their wind force. But the forces of the water surge created by the storm cause more deaths than wind. (Flash plug-in required)

How hurricanes form -- Hurricanes are born in the steamy summer environment of the tropics when rapidly evaporating ocean waters combine with strong wind currents. (Flash plug-in required)

Infrared shot -- the storm's intensity in vibrant colors of red, green and purple.

"Power" shot -- use this link to see a satellite image that shows just how wide-reaching the storm is.

Satellite shot -- Here is an excellent shot of the United States and the Atlantic, showing the hurricane's position.

Weather fans shot -- the most spectacular images of the hurricane on the Internet will be here. NASA takes one or two shots a day of the hurricane and posts it in such clarity that the storm almost looks 3-D.






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