In 2010, Escambia County adjusted the hurricane evacuation zones based upon the 2010 Florida Statewide Regional Evacuation Study Program and has identified five (5) hurricane evacuation zones along the coastal and significant riverine areas of the county. The five zones are represented by letters A, B, C, D, & E. It is important for people to understand, our message to the public continues to be that people should “run from the water and hide from the wind,” in this case, run from storm surge.
A hurricane is an intense tropical weather disturbance that occurs in the ocean when sustained winds reach 74 miles per hour or more. Hurricanes thrive in waters with a temperature of at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit, combined with a moist environment and non-shearing winds in the upper atmosphere, which allow the hurricane to grow vertically.
While storm surge is water that is pushed onto shore by a hurricane, it is rarely seen as a “wall of water.” More commonly, storm surge is experienced as a rapid rise in the water level – as fast as several feet in just a few minutes. A cubic yard of sea water weighs in at more than 1,700 pounds – almost a ton – and is propelled by the forward speed of the hurricane (typically 10 to 15 mph). Standing in storm surge as shallow as six inches can be challenging, and a one-foot deep storm surge exerts enough power to sweep a car off the road.
Knowing which angle the hurricane storm surge is approaching is very important. Damage to a particular region can vary based on which side of the hurricane hits the area. The Right-Front Quadrant (RFQ) of a hurricane is the strongest side of the storm and will deliver the highest storm surge. For example, a hurricane that strikes the coast straight on will do the most damage as it relates to storm surge.
Each year prior to hurricane season, your family should review your existing hurricane strategy and make changes as necessary. Your hurricane strategy should include evacuation plans, such as where your family and pets will go, what route to take, when to leave and what supplies are necessary. Supplies should last for a minimum of 72 hours.
In the event the storm is a threat to your surrounding area, listen to local media for information and instructions. Additionally, please note the following information to prepare for an emergency:
Should you remain home during a hurricane, please note the following precautions:
- Secure all windows, doors and take refuge in a small interior room, such as a closet, hallway or basement
- Cover yourself underneath a sturdy table or a mattress for protection
- When the eye of the storm passes, remain indoors despite calmer conditions outdoors. Winds will soon raidly increase to hurricane force in the opposite direction
After a Storm
- If you evacuated, wait until authorities allow you to return before doing so
- Stay on firm ground and beware of fallen objects, flooded areas and debris
- Make sure your vehicles have plenty of gas and drive only if necessary
- Replenish supplies, such as batteries, non-perishable food and water
When you return to your home: