Ahead of Hurricane Idalia making landfall, evacuations (mandatory and voluntary) have been issued for several coastal counties in Florida.
Hurricane Idalia strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane early Tuesday morning and is expected to intensify to a Category 3 hurricane before making landfall in Florida’s Big Bend region Wednesday morning. This could potentially bring strong winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge and areas of flash flooding to Florida.
If you have been asked to leave the area, bring your emergency supply kit, which should include cellphones, chargers, medicines, licenses, food and cash enough to accommodate at least three days. You may not have access to these supplies for days or even weeks after a hurricane.
Turn off appliances, your home’s electricity, gas and water before leaving. Prepare to take alternate routes as traffic can build up and roads could be blocked. Tolls have been waived on Florida’s west coast for seven days to allow for safe evacuations.
Have a full tank of gas handy. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and may run out early due to high demand.
Evacuation Orders by county
If seeking shelter after evacuating, local shelter information varies from county to county. Mass care shelters can provide significant support during severe weather emergencies. Some may provide water, food, medicine and sanitary supplies, but it is best to take your own emergency supply kit.
All shelters are known to accept service animals, but some public shelters and hotels do not accept pets inside. For a list of open shelters and their pet policy, visit https://www.floridadisaster.org/shelter-status/
After evacuating the storm, continue to check updates from local officials to stay safe where you are sheltered. If returning to disaster-affected areas after the storm passed, storm debris could be in the area and is dangerous. Avoid downed power lines as they may be live with deadly voltage.
Continue to stay indoors and monitor official channels for Hurricane Idalia updates.
Partners of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network include: Florida's Division of Emergency Management, WDNA (Miami), WFIT (Melbourne), WMFE (Orlando), WFSU (Tallahassee), WGCU (Fort Myers), WJCT (Jacksonville), WKGC (Panama City), WLRN (Miami), WMNF (Tampa-Sarasota), WQCS (Fort Pierce), WUFT (Gainesville-Ocala), WUSF (Tampa), WUWF (Pensacola) and Florida Public Media.