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2017 Hurricane preparedness guide

Evacuation maps, shelter locations

If a storm comes, you'll need to know how to get out of town or go to a shelter. Know your county's evacuation routes. Might there be a low-lying area between you and a major route? Study up in advance and have a backup plan. (Note: Some of the maps take a while to load, and it's recommended that you have an updated version of Adobe Flash to display them.)


Surviving the storm

Before a storm threatens Tampa Bay, you'll want to be prepared. If a storm strikes, you'll want to get out of town, or to a shelter. And after the storm, you'll want to survive. Find out how inside the hurricane guide published in print editions of the Tampa Bay Times.

  1. Carlton: The cross atop the church that moved, and other strange tales from Hurricane Irma


    Down in Miami, the famous tan-don't-burn Coppertone Girl on the side of a building lost her head — part of it, at least, the top of her blond hair lopped off in the fierce winds of Hurricane Irma. ("At least her tan line and doggie weathered the storm," the Miami Herald noted optimistically.)

    Hurricane Irma partly decapitated the Coppertone Girl in Miami. [Miami Herald]
  2. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. Duke Energy Florida president answers questions about utility's response to Irma


    ST. PETERSBURG — After more than a week since Hurricane Irma knocked out power to millions of Floridians, Duke Energy announced it will finish its restoration efforts Tuesday.

    Duke Energy Florida President Harry Sideris greets St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman on Tuesday at a news conference where both spoke about Hurricane Irma recovery. The event was held at a Florida Department of Transportation lot next to Maximo Park in St. Petersburg, where the city is collecting Irma yard debris which will be mulched and sold to a local tomato farmer. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  4. Puerto Ricans in Tampa Bay wait with dread as Hurricane Maria approaches island


    TAMPA — As Hurricane Maria swirled in the Atlantic Ocean, Sarykarmen Rivera got a call from her parents in Puerto Rico. They had an ominous message.

    Hillsborough journalist Sarykarmen Rivera displays a photo of herself and her family on Tuesday that was taken in her hometown of Guayama, Puerto Rico.
  5. Yep, 2017 hurricane season really is more intense than normal


    It was only 25 days ago that Hurricane Harvey made landfall.

    A handout satellite image from Sept. 8, 2017, of, from left, Tropical Storm Katia, Hurricane Irma and Tropical Storm Jose, which would intensify into a hurricane. The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has been unusually active. There have been 13 named storms this year. Only four other seasons since 1995 have had that many by Sept. 18. [NASA/NOAA GOES Project via the New York Times]
  6. Hurricane Maria intensifies into Category 5 storm, batters Dominica


    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Hurricane Maria intensified into a dangerous Category 5 storm and pounded the small island of Dominica as it surged into the eastern Caribbean on Monday night, and forecasters warned it might become even stronger.

    Hurricane Maria has intensified into a dangerous Category 4 storm as it bears down on the Caribbean. [National Hurricane Center]
  7. Downed by Hurricane Irma, Wish Tree standing tall again at Salvador Dali Museum


    ST. PETERSBURG — The focal point of the Salvador Dalí Museum's "Avant-garden" has been restored to its previous-Hurricane Irma glory.

     Dali Museum gardener Gus Vargas, right, trims damaged branches next to the museum's Wish Tree on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, after a crew lifted the tree into an upright position. The Florida ficus tree was blown over during Hurricane Irma. "The garden and tree will be in good shape after some cleanup," said Vargas. "It could have been much worse." he said.  The tree is a central feature of the museum's "Avant-garden." [SCOTT KEELER | Times][
  8. Sending help to Hurricane Irma ravaged Cuba is difficult


    MIAMI — Aware that the Cuban government sometimes rebuffs hurricane relief from large U.S.-based charities, Cuban Americans and exile organizations are trying to come up with ways to help friends and family after Hurricane Irma tore through the island's north coast.

    A despondent Mariela Leon sits in front of her flood damaged home after the passing of Hurricane Irma, in Isabela de Sagua, Cuba, on Sept. 11. Irma was still a Category 5 when it raked Cuba's coast, the first hurricane that size to hit the storm-prone island since 1924. [Ramon Espinosa | Associated Press]
  9. Historic and harrowing: Chronicling Hurricane Irma's destructive path


    We sawed through plywood and boarded up windows, hoarded water and bought stores out of batteries. We took down flags and porch swings and filled up with gas, hit the road or hunkered down.

    In short, we all made plans.

    This photo provided by Caribbean Buzz shows boats clustered together after Hurricane Irma Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. The death toll from Hurricane Irma has risen to 22 as the storm continues its destructive path through the Caribbean.
The dead include 11 on St. Martin and St. Barts, four in the U.S. Virgin Islands and four in the British Virgin Islands. There was also one each in Barbuda, Anguilla, and Barbados. The toll is expected to rise as rescuers reach some of the hardest-hit areas. [Caribbean Buzz via AP]
  10. Irma evacuation nightmare: Next time some may not leave


    FORT LAUDERDALE — After a painful flight across several states to escape unpredictable Hurricane Irma, Suzanne Pallot says it's unlikely she would evacuate South Florida again — an attitude echoed by other evacuees that experts say could put them in danger when the next storm hits.

    Miami evacuee Sora Pallot poses with her grandmother, Suzanne Pallot. Suzanne says she’ll try to stay home next time.
  11. Flooded Withlacoochee residents remain upbeat in face of Irma damage


    DADE CITY — A goat and five ducks, the last remaining residents of the Withlacoochee River RV Park & Canoe Rental, were evacuated Sunday afternoon.

    Aerial drone view of the flooding in the Talisman Estates are of the Withlacoochee river that is currently at major flood stage and will crest at 17.5' later this week.  [Saturday, September 17, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  12. In Irma-devastated U.S. Virgin Islands, resolve blends with worry of being forgotten


    CORAL BAY, U.S. Virgin Islands — Sharon Coldren, standing on the balcony of the Coral Bay Community Council building, raised a megaphone to give a warning to about 100 of her fellow islanders.

    On the hill above Cruz Bay on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, the house where Eugenio Santana Santana, 61, lived was blown away by Hurricane Irma.