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We have a pretty big hurricane heading our way this week. While living in Central Florida, we do get our share of storms, but fortunately few hurricanes. This got me to thinking about everyone who has travel plans this week. If you are traveling during a hurricane, here’s what you can expect and how to prepare as a traveler.
Hurricanes in the Atlantic and Typhoons in the Pacific are strong storms with winds and rain at various levels as follows:
Categories are determined by Maximum Sustained Winds as follows:
- Category 1. 74-95 mph
- Category 2. 96-110 mph
- Category 3. 111-130 mph
- Category 4. 131-155 mph
- Category 5. 156+ mph
Winds and rain can cause flooding, power outages, down trees, debris, etc. Perhaps a common misconception is the eye of the storm and where it makes landfall. Yes, that’s the worst part of the storm, however, a hurricane can spread over a hundred miles wide. Keep an eye on that cone for severe weather.
If you are traveling during hurricane season, June 1 – November 1, it’s wise to purchase travel insurance that covers you due to weather-related emergencies. This way if you cancel, you’re not out the cost of the trip. If you’re already booked or traveling without insurance, chances are most companies within the US will still work with you if a state of emergency is declared.
Mobile App Recommendations
To stay on top of notifications and hurricane updates, I recommend the following apps.
- Weather Radio – acts just like a weather radio
- Your Airline’s App
- Hotel or Attractions app
Be sure to allow push notifications to update you before and during the storm.
Check Tourism Bureaus
Statewide tourism bureaus will also have updates regarding the storm. For example, this is from Visit Florida’s Website:
What do travelers do if they are in Florida and a hurricane is approaching?
The safety of Florida’s visitors is a priority to everyone who works in the tourism industry. VISIT FLORIDA works closely with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, local tourism offices throughout the state, as well as local, state and national media to ensure visitors have access to accurate and timely information that will help them make the most informed travel planning decisions possible. Visitors are encouraged to go to VISITFLORIDA.com to follow the latest weather and travel updates, in addition to staying tuned to local television and radio stations. If visitors are asked to evacuate from coastal areas, please follow the instructions of the emergency response officials.
If you’ve been keeping an eye on the weather and know a hurricane is on the way to your destination (or if you’re already there) be sure to check your airline. They will have updates on their website and your flight may be canceled. If you’re without power or the internet, be sure to take down the airline’s phone number to call for updates.
Your hotel or attraction should also have updates on their website for your travel safety.
If you’re at a hotel during a storm, it’s best to stay put. Most modern hotels in the US hurricane zones are built to withstand hurricane-force winds as well as have backup generators if a power outage is an issue.
Additionally, larger hotel chains and attraction accommodations employees are trained in emergency preparedness. Not to mention, they are locals and have dealt with this before. Follow their lead and advice. The best thing during a hurricane is to remain calm. Asking staff to “bend the rules” puts you at risk. They are there to protect you.
If you are driving in the area, whether in your car or a rental, get gas before the storm hits. Power outages affect gas stations too and depending on the area affected, you may not see gas for miles.
Plan Your Exit Strategy
Along the same lines, plan your exit strategy. If you are in an area that’s told to evacuate, do so. If you are driving in or out of the area, know the evacuation routes ahead of time. Know too that these will get congested, so patience is key.
Another planning tip, know where the shelters in the area will be. These are often set up in schools. Google the county you’re in for both the school system and emergency shelters.
Have you been traveling during a hurricane? What is your advice or how did it go? Comment below for best practices to keep fellow travelers safe.
By all means, this is not an all-inclusive list. Detail Oriented Traveler is not responsible for your safety and well-being and should not be held accountable.