No one likes to think about hurricanes, but that’s the price we pay for living in Florida.
The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1, and with a busier-than-average season predicted, the county is reminding residents to know their risk, make a plan and stay informed.
Know Your Risk
“Understanding your risk for flooding, storm surge and wind damage is an important first step,” Pinellas County Emergency Management stated in a May 28 release.
That means knowing both your evacuation zone and your flood zone. Some residents live in an area that is in a non-evacuation zone based on storm surge, but it is in a flood zone, “which may be a high, moderate or low flood risk,” according to the county.
You can look up both zones at pinellascounty.org/flooding/maps.htm.
Make a Plan
We hear this every year, but what does it mean?
“By pledging to update or create a disaster plan, residents can make the commitment to help our community prepare for disasters,” reads the county release. “Keep your family safe and save money by creating or updating your hurricane kit now.”
The 2021 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday runs from May 28 to June 6. That means you won’t pay sales tax on qualifying disaster preparedness items like batteries, flashlights, tarps, bungee cords, gas containers and more.
When a storm is brewing, there’s plenty of information from click bait websites and your friends on social media. Very little of it is helpful.
Find a trusted source of information for timely, reliable information, like NOAA and local resources like Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay National Weather Service forecast office. You can also sign up for ALERT Pinellas to receive up-to-the-minute notifications, and download the Ready Pinellas mobile app on the Apple or Google Play store.
It’s also a good idea to get yourself a NOAA weather radio – battery operated or hand crank – that won’t let you down when the electricity and cell towers fail.
For more information on emergency planning visit pinellascounty.org/emergency.
For more, the Pinellas County 2021 Hurricane Guide is now available in English (with Spanish and Vietnamese versions coming soon). Get hardcopy versions at a Pinellas County libraries or at local municipal buildings, including Gulfport City Hall, St. Petersburg City Hall and St. Pete Beach City Hall.