KEEP INFORMED on TV/Internet through The Weather Channel, Bay News 9, ABC-ActionNews, CBS-WTSB, or NBC-WFLA. Also, “Have you signed up for Pinellas Alert (Code Red) to get warnings by text or phone for all types of emergency alerts?” Check out Florida 511 for traffic and emergency information or following social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Hurricane Categories Explained
The lowest hurricane level, maximum sustained winds are between 74-95 mph-still considered dangerous, but typically no substantial damage to structures other than unanchored mobile homes.
Maximum sustained winds between 96-110 mph. Roof and siding damage can occur; shallowly rooted trees can be snapped or uprooted-some damage to windows, doors, and roofing materials, but no major destruction other than to exposed mobile homes. Flooding can be expected in low-lying areas.
Maximum sustained winds of 111-129 mph, first level of major hurricane status. Large trees can be blown down; well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage, mobile homes can be destroyed. Extensive ﬂooding can occur inland and may destroy smaller structures. Super storm Sandy was a memorable category 3 hurricane in 2012. It was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 season.
Maximum sustained winds of 130-156 mph; extensive damage to roofs, windows, and doors, with complete failure of roofs on many smaller residences (mobile homes completely destroyed). Terrain may be ﬂooded far inland. Joaquin was a category 4 hurricane in 2015 with 155 mph winds.
Rare but the most severe, they generate winds of 157 mph or higher and cause catastrophic damage; buildings can be completely destroyed. Flooding can cause major damage even very far inland. Memorable category 5 hurricanes include Andrew (165 mph in 1992), Katrina (175 mph winds in 2005) and Matthew (165 mph winds in 2016).
More Hurricane Preparedness . . .
Suggested practices to ensure you’re prepared for hurricanes and severe storms:
• Re-read your insurance policy. Know what is covered and what isn’t, how much your deductible is, and whom to contact in case you ever need to file a claim. The Business Office can download a copy of your insurance declaration page to your account file so you will always be able to access it. Simply provide a copy to us when your insurance is renewed each year.
• Store non-perishable food and drinking water. Severe storms can hinder your access to roadways, which can keep you from grocery stores. Power failures at water treatment plants can compromise water quality. You need to bring food and water with you if you evacuate to a shelter.
• Check ﬂashlights and generators. Be sure they are in good working condition and keep extra batteries on hand. Stock up now before there is a large demand with an approaching storm.
• If you keep a boat at or near the coast, decide where you will move it if necessary.
• Learn all official evacuation routes inland.
• Trim trees and shrubs to minimize damage from falling or ﬂying branches.
• Pick up a Severe Storm Guide from the Business Office.
• Sign up for a special needs shelter, if you will need assistance evacuating.
When a watch is posted in your area
• Tune to radio or TV news, or a NOAA weather radio for official updates.
• Adjust your VOLO Village setting to allow for weather alerts in the area.
• Fill your vehicle fuel tanks
• Withdraw some extra cash in case a power failure disables ATM’s
• Stock up on first aid supplies and medications
• Secure outdoor objects such as garbage cans, patio furniture, kayaks, bicycle and gardening supplies or ladders that could become projectiles in heavy winds.
• When a warning is posted in your area
• Pay close attention to news outlets and weather radio for official bulletins.
• Close storm shutters or cover windows with plywood.
• Don’t stay in a mobile or manufactured home which could sustain severe damage during the storm.
• Obey commands from local offcials – evacuate immediately if ordered.
• Notify neighbors and family of your evacuation plan so they are able to reach you if needed.
• If you do evacuate, don’t return until the area is declared safe by local officials
• Use the text feature on your phone to contact relatives; text messaging will work when the phone lines are jammed.
PREP and PLAN
Below are 9 tips to help make sure you’re prepared for a hurricane:
1. Inspect your home’s anchors and connections, check for rust and tighten all straps.
2. Add more anchors and straps where possible.
3. Check for wood rot and termite damage at connections, joists and trusses.
4. Establish a written emergency plan for your family. You can complete the one found on page 8 of the Pinellas County All-Hazard Guide. Copies are available in the business office.
5. Review insurance coverage. Don’t forget to look into ﬂood insurance eligibility (homeowner policies don’t typically cover ﬂood damage)
6. We are in an evacuation zone. Our closest shelter is; John Sexton Elementary School, 1997 54th Avenue North, St. Petersburg.
7. If you are leaving Pinellas County, do it early-bridges get covered with water. Know your route in case you are advised to evacuate.
Forecaster Manager Reports
Pinellas County Emergency Management Website