10 things Tampa Bay can do to prepare for hurricane season

Don’t forget your pets either.

click to enlarge 10 things Tampa Bay can do to prepare for hurricane season
Photo via Hillsborough County


Hurricane season doesn’t open until Saturday, June 1, and we’ve already said “hi” and “bye” to the first named storm of 2019.

The real question is whether or not you and your family have done anything to prepare. Here are 10 things you can do right now to help you on your way to being fully prepared when a big one comes barrelling towards one of the most vulnerable cities in the U.S..

  • Sign yourself up for FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert & Warning System. Tell your neighbors about it, too. Sure, the president has allocated funds from FEMA to ICE, but the alerts should still work, right? Right.
  • Which reminds us, get a cellphone charger. Regular ones that plug into a wall will do, but there are crank cell phone chargers out there, too. This crazy news guy has Macgyver-ed a way to make a charger out of a battery.
  • Find out if you live in an evacuation or flood zone for Pinellas or Hillsborough, and then make a plan for if (and when) you and your pets (which, most likely, cannot shelter with you) will have to leave in response to a storm. See if a friend on high ground will let you shack up, or make plans to get to a shelter (register in advance if you have special needs).
  • Make sure you have all your important documents (passports, IDs, insurance cards, medical records) gathered and in a waterproof container.
  • That reminds us, have you riled up your social anxiety by connecting with your insurance agent to see what’s covered (and what isn’t) if a named storm hits? Make sure to take pictures of items you have questions about (TVs, computers, etc.).
  • A hurricane supply tax break (no tax on items like flashlights, radios, coolers, batteries, generators and more) is happening between May 31-June 6, so prepare a hurricane kit that will give each member of your family (including pets) enough food, water and medicine to survive a week. Spectrum has a nice, printable PDF to get you on your way.
  • Money is tight for everyone these days, but take a look at the trees around you and get a quote if you think they may need to be trimmed ahead of a hurricane’s arrival.
  • Do everyone a favor by figuring out which outside items (ie: potted plants, lawn chairs, etc.) need to come in so they don’t get picked up in hurricane force winds (tie-down kits are tax-free from May 31-June 6).
  • Be aware, but don’t freak out either. Keep an eye on weather, but be prepared so that you don’t feel so vulnerable when a hurricane comes. You remember how freaky Irma was, right?
  • Are you reading this last-minute? Here’s a quick-hit procrastinator’s PDF for hurricane preparedness.

Visit ready.gov to see more.

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About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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