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Hurricane Irma: 9 things Tampa Needs to Know

Hurricane Irma Sept 8

Update: Saturday, Sept 9 at 11:24am

NOAA has updated the Irma’s track to cross directly over Tampa Bay as a category 3.


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Get County Text Alerts – HCFL Alert is Hillsborough County’s official mass notification system. HCFL Alert is designed to keep you informed about emergencies and certain non-emergency events in Hillsborough County, which may be useful during loss of power: Text StaySafe to 888-777 to signup

FEMA has created a website for debunking rumors. No, hotels do not have to take pets.


Gov Scott: “If you have been ordered to be evacuated, leave now. Not tonight, right now. Once the storm hits, remember law enforcement can’t save you.

Images surfacing from Miami which is now experiencing the outer bands of Irma

Posted Friday, Sept 8

Irma is Huge!
As of this report, Irma shifted west vs prior estimates. Experts say Tampa Bay may experience wind gusts of up to 35 mph starting Saturday and of up to 74 mph when Irma passes by Tampa.

What’s the Difference between a “Watch” and a “Warning”
According to NOAA, warnings indicate that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified area. This is the point at which you should make preparations and listen closely to instructions from local officials. During a hurricane warning, complete storm preparations and immediately leave the threatened area if directed by local officials.

Know Your Zone and Listen
As of this report, Tampa has issued a mandatory evacuation of those located in Zone A and more may come. Use this map to determine yours, now!

Zone Evacuation vs Leaving Florida
First, we all should follow whatever instructions local and national officials tell us. However, evacuation of a zone does not mean evacuation of the state. Seeking higher ground can alleviate the gridlock those that must leave the state are going to encounter.

Prepare for Insurance Claims, Now
Make sure you have copies of your insurance policies, that includes instructions on how to make a claim, or contact your provider now to get it. Keep the info in a plastic bag, safe and dry. Use your mobile phone to take photos and video of your property as well.

Patio Furniture Can Cause Major Damage
Floridians love the outdoors, but high winds can make patio furniture dangerous and it must come inside. Equally, with storm surges, it’s suggested that you seal any important paperwork and keep it in a dry place.

Storm Drains
Regardless of surge, Irma will bring lots of rain to Florida and we all know how streets can flood. The city of Tampa is asking residents to do their part by making sure any storm drain on your property is void of any obstruction including leaves and debris.

Water Storage
Use Tupperware and old jars to store water, immediately. It’s not advised to drink the bathtub water, however, filling it for flushing toilets is useful if water service is lost.

Commercial WiFi will be Free
Internet provider Comcast is opening up more than 137,000 wifi hotspots to anyone who needs them, including non-customers.


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