Preparing for hurricane season in Lakeland

Hurricane season officially begins on Wednesday, June 1 and will run through Wednesday, Nov. 30. We’ve rounded up everything you can do to be hurricane-ready in Lakeland.

A map showing the locations of hurricane shelters in Polk County with information about how to use them.

There are 47 public hurricane shelters available in 2023.

Map courtesy of Polk County Tourism

Table of Contents

For Idalia updates, click here.

It’s that time of year. Hurricane season officially began on Wednesday, June 1 and runs through Wednesday, Nov. 30.

The NOAA is predicting an above-average hurricane season in 2023. The 2022 season was also predicted to be above average, and it brought us storms like Hurricane Ian and Tropical Storm Nicole.

We’ve rounded up everything you can do to be hurricane-ready in Lakeland, Florida.

Stay informed

Sign up for Polk County’s emergency notifications on Alert Polk to get important weather updates during a hurricane watch (conditions possible within 48 hours) or a hurricane warning (conditions expected within 48 hours). You can also check the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center for updates or download one of these apps to track weather.

You can also tune into local radio stations WONN 1230 AM and WPCV 97.5.

Have something to eat

The American Red Cross suggests having one gallon of water per person, per day, as well as non-perishables. Don’t forget to pack your hand-held can opener.

Have a hurricane kit

You know the essentials: A first-aid kit, flashlights, medications, et cetera. For a comprehensive list, check out our hurricane kit must-haves.

Prepare your home

We took to Instagram to ask how our followers prepare for potential storms. First Response HVAC gave us this pro tip: “We recommend turning your unit off as the storm gets closer. Your home will cool down as the storm passes and you do not run the risk of further damage due to flood water in your running unit.”

Additionally, Lakeland Electric recommends taking precautionary measures like unplugging non-vital appliances, boarding windows, filling bathtubs for sanitary purposes, locating your electrical panel and fuse box. Be prepared to shut off your water and and electricity at the breaker box if you evacuate. TECO recommends leaving your natural gas meter on.

Have an evacuation plan

According to Polk County Emergency Management, you should stay home as long as it’s safe. However, it’s smart to have a plan B. If you need to leave your house, stay with someone who has a safe space or relocate to a hotel or out of the area.

Polk County also has 47 public shelters (see map above), three of which identify as special needs shelters and three of which accept certain pets. If you do head to a shelter, don’t forget to bring your medications, water, food, changes of clothes, and other essential items.

Remember: While there are 47 Polk County emergency shelters, they are not open at all times. During emergencies, keep an eye on Polk Government Television to see which shelters become activated. Public shelters should be your last resort.

We’re hoping no one has to use it, but just in case, let us know what you’d never be caught stranded without.