When do hurricanes occur?
- Officially, the Hurricane Season runs from the first of June to the end of November. The Atlantic Ocean hurricanes (which would be weakened as they traveled overland to Sun City Center) tend to form in August/September. The Sun City Center area is most vulnerable in June/July and September/October when hurricanes tend to form nearby in the Caribbean.
Who's in charge?
- The Hillsborough Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is in overall
charge of any disaster in the County. Following the hurricane, the Hillsborough County Fire Chief becomes the lead officer who directs all rescue efforts
from the EOC. He has the responsibility and training to dispatch
people, equipment and material to where it is needed.
Before the storm...
- The National Hurricane Center in Miami determines the status of
an approaching hurricane. Based on the topography of Florida, our
location and the nature of past Caribbean storms, the worst case
scenario predicted for Sun City Center would be for us to be on the receiving end of a Category
3 Storm. This implies maximum winds of 135 miles-per-hour (mph).
- The National Hurricane Center issues a WATCH 36 hours before
landfall and a WARNING 24 hours before landfall.
When an Official Watch is issued (usually 36 hours before
- Local organizations activate the "Watch" phase of their
When an Official Warning is issued (usually 24 hours before
- Local organizations activate the "Warning" phase of their
Who decides it is time to issue a Disaster Evacuation Notice?
- A committee composed of representatives of all cities in Hillsborough County, the County Commissioners and officials of the EOC continuously review the hurricane's predicted progress and make the decision when they feel it is in the best interests of our residents to declare an Evacuation.
Are shelters available in Sun City Center?
- No! Because of our height above sea-level and our
distance from the gulf, Sun City Center is not an evacuation
area, and therefore there are NO shelters available to the residents, other than those with Special Medical Needs (see the next section). The best
bets are to either leave the area way ahead of time (like several days) or to simply stay in your home. If you decide to leave
the area, keep in mind that Interstate 75 will be clogged with the
folks from Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota and Manatee Counties who are also trying to flee the storm.
Who should plan to evacuate?
Calls to and from the kids...
- One of the by-products of disasters are disabled or clogged telephone lines as
relatives check on your health and well-being. This is quite
understandable. However, encourage your relatives (before the storm) to not call you within 24
hours after the storm. And be sure to let them know what your plans are before or as soon as the official Hurricane Watch is issued. Promise to give them a call or send them e-mail after the
storm, if possible. Select one relative or friend outside the area to be the call center for your family. You call them and then people who care about you also call them to get an update on your situation. If the local phone system fails, ham radio operators will be at the Hospital, Emergency Squad, Security Patrol, Old Town Hall and KP Clubhouse. They will be able to send a message from you to those outside the area. If you are one of the residents with "special medical needs" who will be transported to a shelter, let your relatives know in advance so that they won't worry, since they will not be able to reach you there.
When the winds reach 35 mph (with gusts to 50 mph)...
- The Sheriff's Deputies switch to "Emergency Deployment" status.
- Almost all other emergency response activity is suspended. The
reason for this is that an emergency vehicle (fire truck,
ambulance, etc.) destroyed during the height of the storm
for a single run would not be available for all of the emergency runs
after the storm. Ambulance operations are particularly
dangerous during high winds to both the personnel and patient!
- Almost all of the private homes in Sun City Center and Kings Point are
built of concrete block. A few simple precautions are to turn-off
the electricity and water and to move to an interior room that does
not have windows and would not become a glass-carrying wind-tunnel
between the front and back windows of the house. In many of the
homes, the interior bathroom or a walk-in closet should be
considered. The smaller the room, the better it should shelter you -
and it should have a door that closes solidly. Minimum survival equipment
includes a heavy blanket and weatherproof tarp to cover you if the roof comes off and the rain and debris comes in, flashlight, portable
radio and jugs of water. Don't drink booze! You'll need
your full agility and wits about you during and after the storm.
During the storm...
- The storm will last roughly 8 to 12 hours. If the eye passes near Sun City Center, there will be three parts to the storm. The initial storm build-up of several hours will culminate in the fury of the passage of the leading eye-wall. This eye-wall may also contain tornados. The second part will be the very brief calm within the eye of the storm which may last for anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. Don't go for a stroll during the calm because... The third part of the storm will start suddenly with the full fury of the passage of the back eye-wall and then gradually taper off over a period of hours. And the wind will probably be from a very different direction causing still more property damage.
After the hurricane has passed, winds have dropped below 35
mph and it is safe to venture out...
- The Emergency Squad, Security Patrol, Radio Clubs and other emergency
organizations resume operations when the EOC gives permission and when the roads are passable. No one, other than emergency vehicles, will be permitted on the roads until the Fire Department makes its storm damage assessment and permits general traffic.
- Residents should check on their neighbors if within walking distance. Expect to find the streets littered with roofing nails, glass, roofing tiles, trees, downed and hot power
lines, etc. Common sense dictates that one should not drive around
to look at the damage because you're bound to get a flat tire(s) from the
nails and glass and your car may end up blocking an emergency corridor.
Likewise, if you decide to walk around to view the damage, assume
that ALL wires laying on the ground are live! Generally,
you're safest if you stay at home.
Whom should I call in case of a medical problem?
- Life Threatening Medical Emergencies should call the Emergency Squad at 634-3800. "911" will tend to be jammed with calls.
- In the event that there is a total failure of the telephone system, ham radio operators will be at the Hospital, Emergency Squad, Security Patrol, Old Town Hall and KP Clubhouse. They will be able to send a message from you to the proper
Current Weather/Hurricane Information
If you have any questions, corrections or additions,
please contact Dave Brown, 634-6048, firstname.lastname@example.org
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