Hurricane Planning

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued its 2015 Hurricane Season Prediction. NOAA is predicting a below-normal season this year. This includes a 70% chance of 6 to 11 named storms (top winds 39 MPH winds or higher), of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 MPH or higher) and of those, 0 to 2 becoming major hurricanes (top winds 111 MPH or higher, otherwise known as a category 3, 4 or 5.) The time to plan is before a hurricane watch or warning is issued. The best time to plan is now.

The time to plan is before a hurricane watch or warning is issued. The best time to plan is now.

You can never plan enough for a hurricane, but you can prepare for disaster before it strikes and educate yourself about what to do before, during and after a hurricane. These Web pages contain information pertaining to hurricanes and hurricane preparation, as well as local information for those who live in the City of Gainesville and throughout Alachua County. Here you will find emergency contact information, as well as preparation for those who have children, pets or other animals.

What to Do Before a Hurricane

What to Do During a Hurricane

What to Do After a Hurricane

Additional Hurricane Resources

What to Do Before a Hurricane

What is the Difference Between a Watch and a Warning?

  • Watch: Hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area of the watch, usually within 36 hours.
  • Warning: Hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the warning, usually within 24 hours.

Prepare a Disaster Plan Online

  • FloridaDisaster.org is a website that is provided by the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
  • Types of Plans: On FloridaDisaster.org, you can create and print a personalized disaster plan for your family or your business. You may also prepare your disaster plan by following the steps listed below.

Prepare a Personal Evacuation Plan

  • Identify places you can go if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places ahead of time: a friend's home in another town, a motel or a local shelter.
  • Look at the most recent Florida Hurricane Evacuation Route Maps to plan your route.
  • Keep the phone numbers of these places handy, as well as a road map. You may need to take alternate or unfamiliar routes if major roads are closed or congested.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Take these items with you when evacuating:
    • Prescription medications and medical supplies
    • Bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows
    • Bottled water, battery-operated radio and extra batteries, first aid kit, flashlight
    • Car keys and maps
    • Documents, including driver's license, Social Security card, proof of residence, insurance policies, wills, deeds, birth and marriage certificates, tax records, etc.

Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit Including the Following Items (download the Emergency Preparedness Checklist here:

  • First aid kit and essential medications (both prescription and over-the-counter)
  • Canned food and can opener
  • At least six gallons of water per person (3 gallons for drinking and 3 gallons for cooking and hygiene)
  • Protective clothing, rainwear and bedding or sleeping bags
  • Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries
  • Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
  • Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas and water if authorities advise you to do so (Remember, you'll need a professional to turn them back on.)

How to Prepare for High Winds

  • Install hurricane shutters or purchase precut 1/2" outdoor plywood boards for each window of your home. Install anchors for the plywood and predrill holes in the plywood so that you can put it up quickly.
  • Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through.
  • Trees and High Winds - Hurricane Season in Gainesville (pdf)

What to Do During a Hurricane

Know What to Do When a Hurricane Watch Is Issued

  • Keep up-to-date on storm information by accessing websites such as Crown Weather One Stop Weather Source, listening to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio, or watching local TV stations.
  • Prepare to bring inside any lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by the wind.
  • Prepare to cover all windows of your home. If shutters have not been installed, use precut plywood as described above. Note: Tape does not prevent windows from breaking, so taping windows is not recommended.
  • Fill your car's gas tank.
  • Recheck manufactured home tie-downs.
  • Check batteries and stock up on canned food, first aid supplies, drinking water and medications.

Know What to Do When a Hurricane Warning Is Issued

  • Listen to the advice of local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so.
  • Complete preparation activities.
  • If you are not advised to evacuate, stay indoors, away from windows.
  • Be aware that the calm "eye" is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, shrubs, buildings and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds.
  • Be alert for tornadoes. Tornadoes can happen during a hurricane and after it passes over. Remain indoors, in the center of your home, in a closet or bathroom without windows.
  • Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car and climb to higher ground.

What to Do After a Hurricane

Know What to Do After a Hurricane Is Over

  • Keep listening to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or TV stations for instructions.
  • If you evacuated, return home when local officials tell you it is safe to do so.
  • Inspect your home for damage.
  • Use flashlights in the dark; do not use candles.
  • GRU's Storm Central includes information on:
    -Portable Generator Safety
    -Electrical Service
    -Water and Wasterwater Service
    -Natural Gas Services
    -Debris Cleanup

Additional Hurricane Resources

Children and Hurricanes:

Animals and Hurricanes:

Additional Materials on Hurricanes: