Surviving Hurricane Season in Central Florida

Hurricane Basics

Although living in Central Florida has some absolutely wonderful perks, it is best to know a bit about hurricane basics as this is an annual season for the state.Read on to find our comprehensive supply list, learn about what to do if a Hurricane draws near, and how to prepare for the storm.


Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. These large storms are called typhoons in the North Pacific Ocean and cyclones in other parts of the world.


Each year, many parts of the United States experience heavy rains, strong winds, floods, and coastal storm surges from tropical storms and affected areas include all Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas and areas over 100 miles inland, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, parts of the Southwest, the Pacific Coast, and the U.S. territories in the Pacific. A significant per cent of fatalities occur outside of landfall counties with causes due to inland flooding.


The Atlanticseason runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific season begins May 15 and ends November 30

Preparing Your Home

Rent a home with Wemert Group Realty
  • Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricaneseason trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
  • Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
  • Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
  • Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.
  • Consider building a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter designed for protection from high-winds and in locations above flooding levels.

What to do when a hurricane is…

36+ hours

from arriving

  • Turn on your TV or radio in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.
  • Review your evacuation plan with your family. You may have to leave quickly so plan ahead.
  • Keep your car in good working condition, and keep the gas tank full; stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.

18-36 hours from arriving

  • Bookmark your city or county website for quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions.
  • Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.

6-18 hours from arriving

  • Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
  • Charge your cell phone now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.

6 hours from arriving

  • If you’re not in an area that is recommended for evacuation, plan to stay at home or where you are and let friends and family know where you are.
  • Close storm shutters, and stay away from windows. Flying glass from broken windows could injure you.
  • Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored.
  • Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.

For a comprehensive emergency supply list

Furry Friends


Many of us have dogs, cats, and other pets. You will need some type of pet disaster kit so you are equipped and ready in the event of a major disaster or emergency.

Prepare your pets basic home survival kits, including a pet first aid kit, and a pet evacuation kit… these are both important items for pet preparedness.

Making your own pet kit is really quite easy, you simply put together in a portable bag or container, everything your pet would need to survive for several days in the event of an emergency situation.

In our list below, we give suggestions of items that you would need to Create Your Own Pet Disaster Kit.

During an emergency event, our pets are often at an even greater risk of danger than we are.

In some disaster situations you might be required to leave your home for an extended amount of time, or even permanently, so be sure you have the proper kits and supplies needed to care for family and your pets.

Keep your kit in plain sight in case your emergency contact person, or other emergency worker would need to access it for you.

START – By using a Back Pack, Gym Bag, Suitcase, or even 5 gallon buckets for the contents of your kit. Make a separate bag for each pet.


Place the following 12 items in the bag to begin assembling your kit:

  • On top of the bag boldly print your name, phone numbers and your pets name (or attach a card).
  • Water and food, enough for 3-7 days.
  • Food and water dishes.
  • Blanket or towel for a bed.
  • Medicine, with instructions for use.
  • A note listing your Veterinarian and phone number, the pets name and your first and last name.
  • The name address and phone number of a friend or relative, where the pet might stay.
  • A favorite toy and some treats.
  • For a dog, a leash and collar.
  • For a cat, a collapsible cat carrier, litter and litter box.
  • Small plastic bags for pet messes.
  • Picture of your pet, information on feeding-amounts-times, any behavioral or other issues that someone might need to be aware of. Place all pets information, lists, and notes in a waterproof container or zip-lock bag.

After a Hurricane


  • Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
  • Check-in with family and friends by texting or using social media.
  • Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
  • Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Avoid flood water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.
  • Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
  • Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.



Call 911: For any situation that requires immediate action.

Call 511: Travel information, including info on road and bridge closures, toll suspensions and major evacuation routes:

Florida disaster updates:

Florida Emergency Information Line: (800) 342-3557

Find a hurricane shelter: Text the word “shelter” and your zip code to 4-FEMA (43362).

Insurance questions about policies: Florida CFO’s free
Insurance Consumer Helpline is (877) 693-5236.


American Red Cross: (800) HELP-NOW or


Salvation Army: (800) SAL-ARMY or

Emergency Management:


Orange County Emergency Management:

407-836-9140 or email or visit


Seminole County Emergency Management:

407-665-5102 or visit


Lake County Emergency Management:

352-243-9420 or visit


Osceola County Emergency Management:

407-742-9000 or email


Volusia County Emergency Management:

386-736-5980 or email


Polk County Emergency Management:


To Report a Power Outage:

Progress/Duke Energy

800-228-8485 or online:

Lake County Power Cooperative

800-421-9959 or visit


Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) for Osceola County

407-423-9018 or 407-957-7373


Lakeland Electric


Orange County Animal Service

Orange County Animal Services:
or email


Seminole County Animal Services:



Volusia County Animal Services:



Lake County Animal Services:



Polk County Animal Services:

888-275-8941 or 863-499-2600


Pet Friendly Shelters in Orange County:


Pet Friendly Hotels List:

866-568-7027 or on the web at:

Other Resources

2017 Hurricane Preparedness Week Social Media Toolkit(link)

National Hurricane Center (link)

National Weather Service Hurricane Safety (link)

When the Waves Swell – Hurricane Animated (Video)

How to Prepare for a Hurricane (PDF)

Hurricane Playbook (PDF)

Prepare Your Organization for a Hurricane Playbook (PDF)

Communication Tools (PDF)

Hurricane Creative Materials (PDF)

National Creative Resources (PDF)