If a storm threatens the Tampa Bay area and the evacuation orders begin, do you know what to do?
The first thing you need to know is what evacuation zone you're in.
When local emergency officials order evacuations, they do it based on how strong the storm is, and where it's expected to make landfall.
Coastal counties in the Tampa Bay area are divided up into evacuation zones based on their elevation (how high they are above sea level) and how likely they are to flood -- zones A, B, C, D, or E.
In Hillsborough County for example, most low-lying areas along the coast are designated evacuation zone 'A'. That means those areas are likely to flood in a storm bringing winds of 75 mph or stronger and a storm surge of up to 7 feet or more.
The rankings go up as you get further away from the coast and higher in elevation. However, most mobile homes are considered to be in evacuation zone A, even if they don't actually sit in that zone.
When a storm approaches, keep tuned to local media like FOX 13 and MyFoxTampaBay.com. We'll keep you updated with the latest evacuation orders for the zones on a county-by-county basis.
It's also a good idea to have a plan for what you're going to do if an evacuation order comes. The storm may cut off your evacuation routes, like bridges, so plan multiple routes and learn where the shelters are in your area.
If you have pets, keep in mind that most shelters won't let them stay with you, so you'll need to find a pet friendly shelter or make other arrangements.
If you evacuate, remember you're going to need medication and other important supplies to last at least a couple of weeks. A comfortable pillow and a blanket will make a long stay in a shelter easier.