With much of Florida under rainfall from Tropical Storm Debby, I wanted to dedicate this post to how important it is to be prepared for the Hurricane season and to inform everyone that you do have options if you are not able to evacuate from the Bay Area.
I know that many of us here in Florida may have what is called “Hurricane amnesia” because the state has not seen hurricanes cris-cross the state since 2004 and 2005. It is especially because of this that it is always crucial to be prepared in case a major storm, like Katrina in 2005, heads our way.
A personal reflection of Hurricane Charlie in 2004.
Back in 2004, Hurricane Charlie nearly hit Tampa Bay head on before making a last-minute jog towards Punta Gorda. It was the first time that I’ve ever had to evacuate to higher ground. In fact, the night before mandatory evacuations were imposed, I could not sleep at all, I cried and cried, worrying that my house and even my entire neighborhood, would be gone. When morning arose, I could see police officers and city workers making the rounds, armed with megaphones (also known as bullhorns) to make sure everyone heard the message to get out. My father, brother, and I headed north towards Carrollwood, where I had relatives, while my mother, stepfather, and sister took shelter with friends in Brandon.
Although much of Tampa Bay was very fortunate to have been spared by Hurricane Charlie, the disaster clearly sent a message to always be prepared and have a plan.
Get prepared NOW!
Now, I don’t want to give out erroneous information regarding Hurricane preparation. So I’ve left that to the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA, where they have a website dedicated to disaster preparation called Ready.Gov. I strongly encourage you to visit the site and make preparations before it is way too late.
HART & PSTA offer hurricane evacuation services during evacuation periods.
For those of you who don’t have transportation and may not have friends/relatives that live in non-evacuation zones or out of town; HART and PSTA operate special services during evacuation periods to allow those who have limited evacuation options to be transported to a county-operated shelter. You can view general information, route maps, and more via the links below.
Sunshine Skyway Bridge
Also to note, whenever there high winds (anything above 25mph, sustained), the “High Winds” indicator lights will flash as you approach the bridge. When winds exceed 40mph, sustained, the Florida Highway Patrol has the authority to close the bridge entirely in order to ensure the safety of commuters.
Be safe out there!