Hurricane Matthew Preparedness: Plan your evacuation route now

State agencies get ready in case evacuation orders are in place

By Nadeen Yanes - Reporter

As of Tuesday afternoon, no evacuations have been ordered as Matthew tracks toward Florida but if they are issued, do you know where to go?

Volusia County resident Christine Namadan hadn't really thought about it. 

"I don't really know. I-4, I guess," she said. 

Namadan has lived in Florida for 28 years and knows her hurricane history. 

Find a list of open hurricane shelters here.

"Charlie, Francis, Jeanne are all very clear in my mind," Namandan added. But she's still nervous about Matthew, having a plan to go to her brother-in-laws house in Clearwater, just in case it gets bad. 

Like Namandan, state officials want you to get results and get ready now. 

"We don't know what this hurricane is going to do. Have a plan in place, know which route is the best," said Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Kim Montes. 

If you are coming from the coastal counties, she says your major evacuation routes will include I-95 and I-4, which both have major construction. So the alternative routes include SR 46, SR 520, Highway 50, US-192 and the 528's Beachline. 

"But a lot of those roads are two-lane only," Montes said. "You can only fit so many cars on the road so if you plan ahead and leave sooner than you aren't going to run into congestion."

But many of those alternative routes have construction zones too. That is why Governor Rick Scott mandated FHP and FDOT to make sure those roads are clear in the case of an evacuation.

"FDOT would have to answer when those equipment would be secured so they don't become objects that can be damaging to vehicles or cause crashes, but we do expect at some point that stuff would be addressed," Montes said. "Then those lanes that typically would be blocked for construction would not be blocked so we can have more cars utilize those lanes."

As for FHP, they are already bringing equipment and generators from inland counties to the coast in case powerlines and traffic lights go out. 

Montes adding just like they are getting prepared, you should too, before it's too late. 

To find the evacuation routes in your county, click here.

To find construction zones in your area, click here. 

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