Updated Aug 29, 2023 - News

How to prepare for Tropical Storm Idalia

Animated illustration of a siren flashing on top of an umbrella.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Tropical Storm Idalia is expected to make landfall between Tampa and Tallahassee on Wednesday morning as a major hurricane, according to National Hurricane Center forecasts.

  • High winds and flooding from storm surge could begin as early as Tuesday afternoon or evening.

Here's a round-up of tips to prepare for Idalia:

  • Put together a disaster supply kit with food and water, first aid supplies, insurance documents, flashlights, batteries and medicine.
  • Have at least a seven-day supply of food and water. The CDC recommends avoiding spicy or salty foods that increase the need for drinking water.
  • Cover up your windows. If you have storm shutters, use them — otherwise, consider nailing pieces of plywood to the outside frames.
  • Put portable generators outside to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Electronics, like your T.V. or computer, should be plugged into a surge protector.

Of note: Statewide sales tax is waived on items such as batteries, radios, generators, soaps and pet supplies through Sept. 8.

For pet owners: Dog and cat food is tax-free if sold individually. So are travel-sized food or water bowls for pets, cat litter pans, and pet waste disposal bags.

  • It's also recommended to put collars with I.D. tags on your furry friends.

Don't forget to trim tree branches near your home or power lines, especially dead, damaged or weak ones that could be blown around in the wind.

Be smart: The National Hurricane Center's cone forecast shows the probable track of the storm's center — not the extent of its reach. Focusing solely on the center of the cone downplays the impact of a storm.

  • Plus: The category of a storm does not indicate the scale of danger you face —since it only measures maximum sustained wind speeds, not the potential for flooding or other effects of the storm.
  • Listen to local authorities as the storm gets closer, and follow appropriate routes if you're told to evacuate.

In case of an emergency, it's important to know what evacuation zone you're in. If you're unsure, plug your address into this map.

Go deeper: Tampa Bay evacuation orders in effect as Tropical Storm Idalia approaches


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