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The hurricane threat for Palm Beach County is ever present. Hurricane preparation is a year-round job in South Florida.
To prepare yourself, your family, and your property, take the following measures.

Hurricane Evacuation

Three Months Before Hurricane Season:

  • Begin purchasing supplies for your 5 to 7 day Disaster Supplies Kit. (This can be done a little at a time over three months).
  • Inspect your window protection for rust, missing bolts, damage, etc. (repair immediately).
  • Inspect your walls, windows, garage door and roof for conditions that may allow wind damage.
  • Use the Palm Beach County Evacuation Tool to see if you are in an evacuation area.
  • If you are in an evacuation area, make an evacuation plan for you and your family.

One Month Before Hurricane Season:

  • Check your utility bills to see who provides your water, gas and electric.
  • Contact your city or the Solid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County to determine who picks up your trash and yard debris.
  • Complete the assembly of your Disaster Supplies Kit. Purchase non-perishable foods and medicine last.
  • Check with your doctor and/or pharmacy to determine how best to assure your prescriptions will last through a storm.
  • If you need to register for the Special Needs Shelter, contact the Special Needs Coordinator at 561-712-6400.
  • Assess your landscaping to determine if trees need to be trimmed or lawn furniture or other items removed before a storm.
  • Establish a contact number with your employer in case you may need to report to work immediately following a storm.
  • Make arrangements in advance for your pets; either contact Animal Care and Control about pet sheltering, or ask your vet.

One Week Before Hurricane Season:

  • Review your family disaster plan with your family and establish who will be your out-of-town contact.
  • Double-check your shelter information and confirm the location; do not wait until you need to go to the shelter.

Hurricane Season is June 1 through November 30:

  • Stay alert to local radio and television stations to receive updates on any tropical systems.
  • Periodically check your 5 to 7 dDay Disaster Supplies Kit to assure you still have the proper items.
Hurricane Supplies

During a Watch:
Definition: A Hurricane WATCH means hurricane conditions (sustained winds of at least 74 mph) are possible in the area within 48 hours.
General Preparations:

  • Turn on local radio or television stations and listen for continuing updates.
  • Review your evacuation plan.
  • Check 5 to 7 day Disaster Supplies Kit and gather any missing items.
  • Contact family members to coordinate storm preparations.
  • Notify your out-of-area host about your evacuation plans.
  • Place important documents and photos in waterproof plastic bags.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings; open only when necessary and close quickly.
  • Freeze plastic jugs or cartons of water.
  • Fill up drinking water containers.
  • Scrub bathtub and fill with water; keep a bucket handy for flushing toilet.
  • Fuel up vehicles and propane tanks; obtain fuel for generators.
  • Prep and test your generator if you have one. Do not operate during the storm.
  • Stow or cover irreplaceable items; move breakables away from windows.
  • Put up shutters if you have them.
  • Buy roof turbine cap(s) before a storm is imminent. Remove turbine and then cap the vent hole when storm is approaching.
  • Bring in outdoor furniture, wind chimes, flags, trash cans, antennas, etc.
  • Tie down or stabilize your boat.
  • Secure outdoor gates.
  • Reinforce your garage door.
  • Anchor grills, umbrellas, and other outdoor structures.

During a Warning (hurricane-force conditions (sustained winds of at least 74 mph) are expected in your area in 36 hours or less):

Mandatory Evacuation: All residents living in a manufactured or mobile home must evacuate in a hurricane warning. Even if an evacuation order is not issued, consider leaving anyway - even tropical storm-force winds can topple a manufactured home. Residents in low-lying areas, and on barrier islands may be required to evacuate depending upon the storm’s projected path and flooding potential.

Hurricane Shutters

If You Stay:

  • Finish putting up shutters (do not attempt to go buy plywood at this point.)
  • Leave your radio or television on an emergency information station.
  • Do laundry.
  • Move vehicle(s) into a garage or next to a building; and avoid parking near trees and utility poles.
  • Get out your 5 to 7 day Disaster Supplies Kit and keep handy.
  • Fill water containers, bath tubs and sinks.
  • Freeze water jugs and fill ice chest.
  • Turn refrigerator to lowest setting and lower the temperature on your air conditioning thermostat (turn their circuit breakers off after power goes out.)
  • Recharge batteries.
  • Place flashlights and batteries throughout the house and keep one with you (do NOT use candles.)
  • Secure all doors and windows.
  • Double-check safe room.

If You Leave:

  • Notify your host home and family members that you are evacuating.
  • Bring along your pre-assembled 5 to 7 day Disaster Supplies Kit including water, snacks, cash and medications.
  • Bring drivers license, photo ID, proof of address, proof of insurance, loan papers, deeds and important documents, family photos,
    pets (unless other arrangements were made), an address book, and a list of important phone numbers including family contacts.
  • Gas up your vehicle (do not enter an evacuation route on less than a full tank).
  • Move patio/yard furniture inside your garage or home.
  • Secure all doors and windows.
  • Remember, pets are only allowed in pet-friendly shelters.
  • If boarding pets, take them to their destination.
  • Lock up and leave, allowing at least twice the usual travel time. Avoid flooded roads and beware of washed out bridges and canals.
  • Go to your predetermined host home or an emergency shelter, if necessary.
  • Notify your prearranged family contact when you arrive at your storm-safe location.

Hurricane Category Ratings (Saffir-Simpson Scale)

Category 1---Minimal (74-95 mph winds)
Damage primarily to shrubbery, trees, foliage and unanchored homes; no real damage to other structures; some damage to poorly constructed signs. Low-lying coastal roads inundated, minor pier damage, some small craft in exposed anchorage torn from mooring.

Category 2---Moderate (96-110 mph winds)
Considerable damage to shrubbery and tree foliage; some trees blown down. Major damage to exposed mobile homes. Extensive damage to poorly constructed signs. Some damage to roofing materials of buildings; some window and door damage. No major damage to buildings. Coastal roads and low-lying escape routes inland cut by rising water two to four hours before arrival of hurricane center. Considerable damage to piers; marinas flooded. Small craft in unprotected anchorages torn from moorings. Evacuation of some shoreline residences and low-lying areas required.

Category 3---Extensive (111-130 mph winds)
Foliage torn from trees; large trees blown down. Many well constructed signs blown down. Some damage to roofing materials of buildings; some wind and door damage. Some structural damage to small buildings. Mobile homes destroyed. Serious flooding at coast and many smaller structures near coast destroyed; larger structures near coast damaged by battering waves and floating debris. Low-lying escape routes inland cut by rising water three to five hours before hurricane center arrives. Flat terrain five feet or less above sea level flooded inland eight miles or more. Evacuation of low-lying residences within several blocks of shoreline possibly required.

Category 4---Extreme (131-155 mph winds)
Shrubs and trees blown down; all signs down. Extensive damage to roofing materials, windows and doors. Complete failures of roofs on many small residences. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Flat terrain 10 feet or less above sea level flooded inland as far as six miles. Major damage to lower floors of structures near shore due to flooding and battering by waves and floating debris. Low-lying escape routes inland cut by rising water three to five hours before hurricane center arrives. Major erosion of beaches. Massive evacuation of all residences within 500 yards of shore required, and single-story residences within two miles of shore.

Category 5---Catastrophic (155+ mph winds)
Shrubs and trees blown down; massive damage to roofs of buildings; all signs down. Very severe and extensive damage to windows and doors. Complete failure of roofs on many residences and industrial buildings. Extensive shattering of glass in windows and doors. Some complete building failures. Small buildings overturned or blown away. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Major damage to lower floors of all structures less than 15 feet above sea level within 500 yards of shore. Low-lying escape routes inland cut by rising water three to five hours before hurricane center arrives. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within five to 10 miles of shore possibly required.

Hurricane Tips:  

Have a Boat Plan
Keep Your Pets Safe
Shelters—Last Resort
Generator Safety
Have Personal Plan
Hurricane Supplies
Last Minute Evacuation
Home Preparation
Storm Surge
Mobile Home
Leaving Town
Before You Buy
Disaster Checklist
Document Envelope
Boil Water Order
Clean Water
Food Safety
Carbon Monoxide