2019 Atlantic hurricane season is June 1-Nov. 30. Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over water and often move toward land. They can cause widespread devastation during and after it occurs. High winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge and flooding can injure or kill people, damage buildings and homes or just disrupt your daily life.
Preparing for a hurricane can make a huge difference in safety and recovery from a storm.
- Sign up for local alerts and warnings via the city of Clearwater notifications or Alert Pinellas. Follow us on social media at Facebook and Twitter.
- Prepare to evacuate by testing your emergency communication plan.
- Learn your evacuation routes
- If you live or work on a barrier island, obtain a barrier island Re-entry Permit. Once a mandatory evacuation order has been lifted, Emergency Access Permits will be required to re-enter an evacuated area. You can now apply for an entry pass online by clicking here.
- Pack a “go bag.” filled with supplies
- Stock emergency supplies
- Protect your property by installing sewer back flow valves, anchoring fuel tanks, reviewing insurance policies, and cataloging belongings
- Collect and safeguard critical financial, medical, educational and legal documents and records
- Follow guidance from local authorities.
- If advised to evacuate, grab your “go bag” and leave immediately.
- For protection from high winds, stay away from windows and seek shelter on the lowest level in an interior room.
- Move to higher ground if there is flooding or a flood warning.
- Turn Around Don’t Drown.® Never walk or drive on flooded roads or through water.
- Call 9-1-1 if you are in life-threatening danger.
- Return to the area only after authorities say it is safe to do so.
- Do not enter damaged buildings until they are inspected by qualified professionals.
- Never walk or drive on flooded roads or through floodwaters.
- Look out for downed or unstable trees, poles, and power lines.
- Do not remove heavy debris by yourself. Wear gloves and sturdy, thick-soled shoes to protect your hands and feet.
- Do not drink tap water unless authorities say it is safe.
Winds: 74 to 95 mph
Damage: Minimal; signs, unanchored mobile homes, tree branches power lines blown down, some coastal flooding. Central pressure will be 28.94 inches or more and will be accompanied by a 4- to 5-foot storm surge.
Winds: 96 to 110 mph
Damage: Moderate; larger signs, roofs, doors, windows, mobile homes, small boats, some flooding, tree branches blown down. Pressure 28.50 to 28.93 inches accompanied by a storm surge of 6 to 8 feet.
Winds: 111 to 130 mph
Damage: Extensive; minor damage to buildings, some walls fail, mobile homes, trees blown down. Flooding washes away smaller coastal structures. Flooding up to 8 miles inland. Pressure 27.91 to 28.49 inches accompanied by a storm surge of nine to 12 feet.
Winds: 131 to 155 mph
Damage: Extreme; almost total destruction of doors, windows. Some wall and roof failure. Major damage to lower floors of oceanfront buildings. Evacuations up to 6 miles inland. Pressure 27.17 to 27.90 inches accompanied by a storm surge of 13 to 18 feet.
Winds: Above 155 mph
Damage: Catastrophic; buildings, roofs, structures destroyed. Flooding up to 10 miles inland, evacuation of area. Pressure less than 27.17 inches accompanied by a storm surge higher than 18 feet.
Most hurricane deaths occur from drowning. Within the storm's eye a violent drop in pressure has a "plunger" effect on the sea, indirectly creating what is known as a storm surge. Other factors such as wind strength, coastal topography and speed of the storm's motion more directly affect the surge's capacity. Walls of water 30 feet high are generated and radiate outward, flooding low coastal areas and beachfront property.