Hurricane preparation: What should you be doing now?

With Tropical Storm Ian projected to make landfall in Florida next week, residents may want to prepare for the storm before it hits the Sunshine state. 

The Florida Division of Emergency Management is encouraging Floridians to review their disaster preparedness plans and listen to all orders from local officials.

How to prepare for a hurricane

First and foremost, make a plan. Every household should have a plan specific to the needs of their household. Every person in the household should assist in developing the emergency plan and understand the plan.

Residents should also know if they live in an evacuation zone, a low-lying, flood-prone area, a mobile home or an unsafe structure during hurricane season. It is also very important for residents to know their home and its ability to withstand strong winds and heavy rain.

Last, residents should keep their vehicles' gas tanks at least half full during hurricane season to ensure they have enough fuel to evacuate as soon as possible without worrying about long lines at the gas station. Those with electric vehicles, should make sure their battery is maintained between 50% and 80% capacity at all times. 

What should you put in a disaster supply kit?

Residents should create a disaster supply checklist with the following items 

  • Two week minimum supply of medication, regularly used medical supplies, and a list of allergies
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • NOAA Weather Radio
  • Cash
  • Cell phone chargers
  • Books, games, puzzles, or other activities for children
  • Maintain a list of important phone numbers
  • Rain gear such as jackets, hats, umbrellas and rain boots
  • Sturdy shoes or boots and work gloves
  • Specialty items for infants, small children, the elderly, and family members with disabilities
  • Nonperishable packaged or canned food and beverages, snack foods, juices, baby food, and any special dietary items to last at least 7 days.
  • Water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Paper plates
  • Napkins
  • Plastic cups
  • Utensils
  • First Aid kit
  • Insurance cards
  • Medical records
  • Banking information
  • Credit card numbers
  • Copies of social security cards
  • Copies of birth and/or marriage certificates
  • Set of car, house, and office keys
  • Copy of will
  • Pet food and water to last at least 7 days
  • A carrier and cage for your pet
  • Muzzle and leash for your pet

Tropical Depression 9

Tropical Depression 9 is forecast to strengthen into a major Category 3 hurricane with possible landfall in Florida, the National Hurricane Center said Friday.

The system is currently located east-southeast of Kingston Jamaica packing maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.

Current models show the system strengthening into a Category 1 Hurricane Hermine early Monday. By Wednesday, the models show it becoming a Category 2 hurricane over Cuba before moving toward Florida on Wednesday morning at a major Category 3 hurricane.