By Mary Ann Porter
In Tampa Bay, we are privileged to live among some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. But along with that comes the threat of severe weather and hurricanes. Fortunately, the Tampa Bay area has avoided major hurricane damage for nearly 100 years, when an unnamed Category 3 hit Tarpon Springs on Oct. 25, 1921. The Northern Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 through November 30, peaking in late August and September.
A common trend seen when hurricanes are approaching is a widespread panic. If you prepare ahead of time, you can alleviate a lot of the potential stress of a very chaotic situation.
Recommended Hurricane Kit Items
- Nonperishable food and water (enough to last at least three days)
- Waterproof container with cash and important documents
- First-aid kit (include prescription medication)
- Weatherproof clothing and shoes, blankets, pillows
- Flashlights, portable fans, battery operated radio (with extra batteries)
- Personal hygiene and sanitation items
- Cooler and ice packs
- Pet supplies, baby supplies, etc.
- Phones and portable chargers
- Books, magazines, games for recreation
- An evacuation plan, including full tank of gas and accommodations in advance
Securing Your Home
- Cover all windows with hurricane shutters or wood. Note: while tape can prevent glass from shattering everywhere, it does not prevent the window from breaking.
- Trim all trees and shrubs and clear rain gutters.
- Bring in outdoor furniture, garbage cans, decorations and anything else not tied down
In the event a storm leaves you without power, there are a few things to consider:
- Gas: Make sure your car’s tank is full far in advance of an approaching storm. Most people wait until the last minute, rush to get extra gas for cars and generators, and gas stations can run out.
- Money: ATMs can run out of money if everyone tries to use them quickly, and they can shut down completely if the power goes out.
- Cell phones: Charge cell phones pre-storm and limit use if the power goes out.
- A/C: Try to prevent as much light from entering and warming the house by covering up windows on the inside. If you have back-up or battery-operated fans, don’t run them unless you’re in the room.
- Water: Fill bathtubs and large containers with water for washing and flushing only.
- Food: Turn your fridge temperature down and/or freeze any food or drinking water that can be frozen if you expect a power outage.