Preparing for Hurricane & Preparedness Checklist Florida 2023

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Hurricane Hitting Florida Beaches

Local’s Guide and Helpful Tips for Hurricane Preparation

This guide is to help people of Florida prepare for hurricane season in 2023. We have included tips for your family, pets, home, and mental state. This information is for those both new to Florida and who have been here for many years. Both the hurricane preparedness checklists and other recommendations will help you be ready. So don’t wait until a large tropical storm is near. Learn from local knowledge and past experiences in Florida’s hurricane seasons.

Hurricane season runs from June 1st through November 30th every year. The majority of storms form between August and October. Records show September to be the peak month with the most activity year after year. Hurricane categories are ranked from 1 to 5 with a Cat 5 being the most powerful. Major hurricanes carry a Cat 3 or higher rank and are the most dangerous.

Large Hurricane Viewed from Space photo

When a storm starts to approach, it is imperative to follow hurricane tracking services for updates in your area. We use the following resources when tracking live hurricanes:

Below are helpful tips for preparing for a hurricane in Florida. Start as soon as possible with your hurricane preparations. Being prepared will help relieve stress when the large storms approach.

Gather Supplies Before a Hurricane

Having the right supplies beforehand is important. Stock up on water and nonperishable foods before the mad rush when a storm threatens your area. FEMA recommends you have enough food and water on hand for each member of your family for at least a week. When preparing for a hurricane, also consider the time right after the storm. Even when a hurricane has passed, your area may not have power and/or utilities for days or weeks. suggests the following quantities at the least:

  • One-gallon of clean water per person per day for drinking and sanitation
  • Several-days supply of non-perishable foods for each person

It is also wise to ensure your medications do not get too low during hurricane season. Make sure you have enough as a precautionary measure so you do not run out.

Water Supply for Hurricane photo

Florida Hurricane Preparedness Tax Holiday

The state of Florida helps with the expenses of preparing for a hurricane. For a limited time you can buy qualifying items sales tax free. In 2023, there are two separate 2-week tax holiday periods available below:

Sat, May 27th, 2023 – Fri, June 9th, 2023
Sat, Aug 26th, 2023 – Fri, Sept 8th, 2023

The Florida Department of Revenue provides the following PDF for more detailed information. 2023 Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday: Frequently Asked Questions for Consumers.

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

Use this checklist for hurricane preparedness to check-off items you have. This will help you keep track of the items you still need.

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist photo

Remember to get popular items before a tropical storm approaches to avoid stores selling out. This will help relieve anxiety once the storm has arrived. Bottled water, plywood to secure your home, and batteries sellout the fastest. Also, make sure at least one vehicle has a full tank of gas in case you need to evacuate.

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

Safety in Your Home During the Storm

If you choose to stay in your home during a hurricane, identify the safest place to be. Always stay clear of windows, skylights, and doors especially if made of glass. Do not venture outside during the storm. Once the hurricane has passed, be aware of fallen debris, flood currents, and downed power lines.

Put Together a Hurricane Evacuation Kit

Preparing for a hurricane includes putting together an evacuation kit. Your pre-prepared evac kit will be a time-saver in case you need to evacuate on short notice. Items like essential documents, medicines, bottled water, and small first aid kit. You should also include blankets, flashlights, and phone charger with cables.

Don’t forget cash in small bills, sentimental items, and anything else your family may need. Everything should be in one area so you don’t have to spent time hunting for them if the worst happens.

Hurricane Evac Kit Checklist

This hurricane preparation list is for gathering your evac kit. Check-off the items you already have on the list. It will help your keep track of items you need to get.

Hurricane Evacuation Kit Checklist photo

Make sure your essentials are convenient to carry in a backpack. Small travel bottles of hygiene products like shampoo, toothpaste, etc. work well.

Evac Kit Checklist

Find Hurricane Shelters Near You

Locating a shelter near you is crucial when preparing for a hurricane. One of the most critical decisions made during an emergency is whether to leave or stay in your home. If you plan to evacuate (or mandated to), find out the shelters near you beforehand. You can find this information by calling your County Emergency Directors’ office.

Plan Your Evacuation Route

An option to finding a shelter is to evacuate by leaving the area. Evacuating ahead of the storm can be stressful so plan out your route ahead of time. Mapping where you go and how best to get there saves time and stress.

In the past, interstates have become parking lots for thousands of people trying to evacuate from a hurricane. Too many people on the same road at the same time causes traffic jams. It’s a good idea to get a map and plan alternative routes to your final destination. This will cut down on the worry of having to outrun a hurricane in traffic.

Hurricane Evacuation Route Sign photo

Hugging Your Elderly Parent photo

Hurricane Preparation for Your Elderly Loved Ones

If you have an older person in your life that lives in Florida, there are a few things you can do to prepare them. Whether you live near or far away, you can ensure they have the proper resources.

Read more about Preparing Your Elderly Loved Ones for a Hurricane.

Dogs Puppies Cats Kittens Gerbil photo

Preparing Your Pets and Animals for a Hurricane

If you are a pet owner, ensure you have food for them for at least a month. Also, prepare an emergency supply of medications. A one-month supply of medicines like flea, tick and heartworm prevention will do.

Read more about Hurricane Preparation for Your Pets and Animals.

Prepare and Protect Home and Property

Take a look around your home and remove items that could be a projectile in hurricane force winds. For example, if you have large trees near your home, trim them back. This can help lower the chances of them falling on your home during the storm.

Major hurricanes rank Category 3 or higher. Their wind speeds are well over 100 miles per hour and do the most damage. This hurricane wind scale chart by the NOAA shows wind speeds for each category rating. Make sure you consider this when preparing for a hurricane.

If you have hurricane shutters, inspect them to make sure they are in working order. An alternative is to use plywood to protect your home’s windows and doors. Buy plywood now and store it in your garage to avoid the rush and risk of plywood running out.

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

CategorySustained Winds
174-95 MPH
296-110 MPH
3 (Major)111-129 MPH
4 (Major)130-156 MPH
5 (Major)157 MPH or higher
National Hurricane Center (

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist for Your Home

This preparation list is to ensure tasks around your property get done beforehand. Check-off items you have completed to help you keep track of what still needs done.

Hurricane Preparedness Checklist for Property photo

Preparing your home and property for a hurricane can save you a ton of money. Even the simplest tasks like clearing out your gutters and drains can be huge. This will help keep flood waters away from your home and thus lower water damage. Also, consider other hurricane preparations needed for your specific situation. Purchasing a generator and fuel to supply power to your home in case of an outage may also be considered.

Home Hurricane Preparedness Checklist

Check Your Home Insurance When Preparing for a Hurricane

Don’t wait until it is too late to check that the status of your home insurance coverage is active. When a hurricane is coming, your area could get placed under moratorium. During this time, you can not buy a new policy, make changes to your existing policy, or upgrade your coverage.

Did you know Florida homeowners’ insurance alone does not cover flood damage? This includes water damage caused by a hurricane. Look at your homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy for specific flood coverage. If something isn’t clear, contact your agent and get an explanation of what your policy provides. Ask what your hurricane deductible is and if you have coverage for storm flooding.

Review your policy with a knowledge insurance agent to protect your home and family. Check your coverage amounts and deductible. Ensure your current coverage is enough to replace your belongings if lost due to a hurricane. You may also get living expenses to help cover food and hotel costs. There is also food spoilage coverage in the event of a wide spread power outage.

Be Proactive with Your Home Flood Coverage

Being proactive is important because flood policies can take up to 30-days to take effect. Also, be aware coverage for flood damage is unavailable if there’s a tropical storm less than 250 miles off the coast. Be sure to keep a copy of your insurance policy with you if possible. Take a photo of these documents on your phone or other device. Doing this will provide quick access to them if you’re ever without internet.

Make an inventory of home, furniture, and belongings. Take cellphone photos or videos to show proof of ownership. Be sure to include each room, the outside of your home, and roof if possible. Your photos and/or videos are tangible proof that can help if you need to file an insurance claim later.

In addition, take photos and videos of the damage caused by the hurricane.

Large Fans to Reduce Water Damage photo

Need help with your home insurance or flood insurance? Caton Hosey agents are here to help with over 70 years of insurance and hurricane experience. Our staff can answer questions and provide valuable insight into home insurance. Contact us for more information or call us at 1-800-767-3161 today.

Preparing Your Mental State for a Hurricane

Dealing with a hurricane can cause strong emotions and stress. These feelings can be even more intense due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Anxiety and loss of control can seem overwhelming at times. It is wise to get help coping with these natural feelings. Seek council from family, friends, and professionals when necessary.

People with pre-existing mental health conditions should continue their treatment and/or medication. Also be aware of new or worsening symptoms during hurricane season. Reach out to a doctor or professional if you feel conditions worsen.


In closing, our aim is to help with a guide we can all follow to prepare for hurricanes. We hope the hurricane preparedness checklists help you organize your items fast. Please feel free to share this with your family and friends. Preparing for a hurricane can be stressful. But, we are confident using this info can better manage the stress of hurricane season.


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