What Lake County residents need to know before a storm

Hurricane preparation is key

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Lake County residents have all the resources they need to prepare for hurricane season available to them.

[HURRICANE RESOURCES: ClickOrlando.com/Hurricane]

When it comes to staying informed, News 6 meteorologists work diligently to pinpoint dangerous weather as it approaches and moves through Central Florida, making sure residents will know when and how their areas will be impacted.

How to stay informed

To receive updates from our team, you can download the free News 6 and Pinpoint Weather apps by searching WKMG in your app store. Our Pinpoint Weather app will send push alerts customized to where you live.

You can also watch News 6 and check ClickOrlando.com for all weather updates.

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Lake County emergency management's hurricane preparedness guide is broken into three main components: general knowledge, making preparations and after the storm.

The general knowledge section breaks down everything you need to know about the storm, including terminology, information about the hurricane categories and some other facts. This will be the best place to start so you can fully understand some of the alerts you'll be seeing if the area becomes at risk.

When and if a storm is forecast, developing a disaster plan is crucial for you and your family. A discussion should be held so that each family member is aware of what to expect during a storm, including safe spots to hide and several escape routes.

Knowing how to turn off the utilities, basic first aid and CPR are other skills everyone in the household should know. 

If you'll be sheltering in place, the Lake County emergency management office recommends taking precautions so that your home is more resistant to storm damage. Shutters made of either plywood, steel or aluminum should be constructed as early as possible. It's also best to fix any weak spots in doors, windows or roofs; check that rain gutters and downspouts aren't loose or clogged; remove weak branches from trees or shrubbery; and cut air channels through trees so they can withstand high winds.

Disaster plans are needed for anyone who plans to shelter in place, but for those in low-lying or manufactured homes, evacuation will likely be required. The Lake County Emergency Operations Center will issue evacuation orders 36 hours before a storm is forecast to strike.

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Regardless of where you end up during the storm, you'll need certain supplies. Water is the most important thing to have on hand, so make sure you have enough for each person in your family to have 1 gallon per day for five days.

Nonperishable food is a must, so stock up on canned food, juices, snacks and other items that won't spoil. Basic toiletries, including medications and first aid supplies, are also needed.

Shelter information

You'll need these same items, as well as a pillow and blanket, if you end up going to a shelter. 

If and when the county opens shelters, public shelters, special needs shelters and pet-friendly shelters can be found at the following addresses:

It's important to note that not all shelters accept pets, so make sure the one you're planning to visit does before you arrive. Those locations are: Astatula Elementary, Leesburg Elementary, Lost Lake Elementary, Mascotte Elementary, Round Lake Elementary, Spring Creek Elementary, Treadway Elementary, Umatilla Elementary and The Villages Elementary.

In order to ensure a spot at a special needs shelter, you'll need to click here to fill out a registration form. Those without internet access should call 352-343-9420 for more information.

NOTE: Not all emergencies will call for every shelter to be opened. You should always check with the county and call the shelter itself before packing your bags and heading to any of the listed locations.

Other resources

The danger isn't over once the storm passes. Take precautions to make sure you don't fall victim to heat exhaustion, food-borne illnesses or mosquito-borne illnesses. Throw away any food or water that could potentially be contaminated and avoiding standing water that could potentially be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

If you're using a generator, carefully follow the manufacturer instructions so you don't risk carbon monoxide poisoning. Click here for more generator safety tips.

There can also be hazards outside your home. Look out for combustible liquids that might have spilled, exposed outlets, downed power lines, gas leaks and floodwaters that could be contaminated by sewage systems and septic tanks. Another part of being cautious means staying off the road until county officials say it's OK to drive again.

There are a few phone numbers residents should have on hand in case they need to report power outages:

City of Leesburg Electric
2010 Griffin Road
Leesburg, 34788
Customer service: 352-728-9800
Report outages: 352-728-9830

City of Mount Dora Electric
510 N. Baker St.
Mount Dora, 32757
Customer service: 352-735-7151
Report outages: 352-735-7141

Clay Electric Co-op Inc.
24950 E. County Road 316
Salt Springs, 32134
352-685-2111
Customer service: 800-224-4917
Report outages: 888-434-9844

Duke Energy
Customer service: 800-700-8744
Report outages: 800-228-8485

Sumter Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Eustis office:
50 West Ardice Ave.
Eustis, 32726
352-357-5600

Groveland office:
850 Howey Road
Groveland, 34736
352-429-2195

Sumterville office:
330 S. U.S. Highway 301
Sumterville, 33585
352-793-3801

For more information from the Lake County Office of Emergency Management on how to plan for disasters, like the county's Facebook page and visit LakeCountyFL.gov.

For weather updates, tips on how to prepare your home, family and pets ahead of a storm and what to expect during and after one, visit ClickOrlando.com/Hurricane.

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