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Make Your Mobile Device your Best Friend in a Hurricane

Your smartphone or tablet can be your best friend in the event of a hurricane. There are many websites and apps that you can use to guide you through a storm’s approach, arrival and recovery.

At risk of overstating the obvious, your phone needs to be charged to ensure access to the wealth of information on the internet. Make sure you have a phone charger for your vehicle (and consider a backup charger) so you can keep your phone or iPad running. Invest in a solar-powered portable battery charger in case of a prolonged power interruption. Many of these devices are available from $20 to $50, and can be a life saver after a serious storm.

Here are online resources you may want to consider bookmarking and apps you can download ahead of time.

PREPARING FOR THE STORM

EVACUATION

  • Find an evacuation route – FL511.com or use the FL511 app

If you need to evacuate, this resource will provide a guide to road and bridge closures, as well as the best evacuation route. After the storm, FL511 will keep you updated on road conditions and closures.

SHELTERS

FORECASTS

Download user-friendly apps that include real-time alerts, interactive radar and other useful information

This site offers many graphics. Download Storm by Weather Underground app for hourly forecasts, animated radar and other features. Other good sites for hardcore weather enthusiasts include NOAA SuperRes Radar US and NOAA RadarUS. 

LOCAL FLORIDA HURRICANE INFORMATION

These local sites will offer current answers to such questions as:

  • Is my neighborhood going to be evacuated?
  • Are there any weather alerts in my area?
  • What’s open and what’s closed?

You can also connect with these sites on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.

NEIGHBORHOOD INFORMATION

Nextdoor.com is a private social network for individual neighborhoods. You can post questions there about your immediate neighborhood. Types of questions you can ask here include:

  • Gas availability
  • Outages
  • Road closures
  • Local damage
  • What’s open and closed

POWER OUTAGES

You can report power outages at Lakeland Electric or TECO (Tampa Electric). Use the online maps at https://lakelandelectric.com/emergency-information-center and https://www.tampaelectric.com/residential/outages/outagemap/ to see outages and get more information.

FIRST AID FOR PEOPLE AND PETS

  • Red Cross Get Help website and mobile apps – redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps

LOCAL NEWS

Want reliable information on how you and your family can prepare for the Florida hurricane season? Click here for emergency preparedness to help you protect yourself and your loved ones. If you would like more information on how Lanier Upshaw can help you prepare for stormy weather, contact us here.