What Polk County residents need to know before a storm

Resources available to help

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

POLK COUNTY, Fla. - When it comes to preparing for a storm, Polk County has its residents covered.

[HURRICANE RESOURCES: ClickOrlando.com/Hurricane]

While the local emergency management office offers plenty of resources, its up to members of the community to do their research before hurricane season begins so they can have a plan in place before severe weather strikes.

How to stay informed

We recommend that Central Floridians start by installing the News 6 Pinpoint Weather app, which allows you to sign up for location-based push alerts so you'll receive detailed updates based on where you live. You can download that and our free news app today by searching WKMG in your app store.

The next step is to sign up for Polk County public safety notifications. When a particular area could be at risk of a hurricane or tornado, residents will receive critical updates via text message or email. Click here to fill out the enrollment form.

Social media is another good place to turn for storm-related information. Click here to follow Polk County Emergency Management on Facebook and here to follow the department on Twitter.

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Regardless of whether a storm is in the forecast, the county has a disaster preparedness plan accessible to residents at all times.

Staying at home, provided your residence is safe and properly elevated, is the recommended option for most people. Those who live in mobile homes or other residences that might not be able to withstand strong winds and rain should try to shelter with a friend or family member or at a hotel, either locally or in a region outside the storm's path.

Shelter information

Going to a public shelter should be a last resort since space is limited. Shelter locations will be announced when and if they open but, even then, always call ahead to ensure there's availability.

Those who have animals or specific medical situations should plan to go to a special-needs shelter. The registration form for those shelters is available here in English and here in Spanish.

Regardless of where you're sheltering, be sure to have a 72-hour emergency survival kit with you. For a list of kits available for purchase online, click here.

For Hurricane Dorian, Polk County officials provided the following shelter information: 

Based on the current track and estimated time of arrival in Polk County of Hurricane Dorian, the following public shelters will open at 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 1:

  • Auburndale High School, 1 Bloodhound Trail, Auburndale
  • Chain of Lakes Elementary, 7001 CR 653, Winter Haven
  • Davenport School of the Arts, 4751 N CR 547, Davenport
  • Donald Bronson Community, 124 Bronson Trail, Polk City
  • George Jenkins High School, 6000 Lakeland Highlands Road, Lakeland
  • Horizons Elementary, 1700 Forest Lake Drive, Davenport
  • Kathleen High School, 2600 Crutchfield Road, Lakeland
  • Lake Marion Creek Elem., 3055 Lk. Marion Creek Road, Poinciana
  • Mulberry Middle School, 500 Martin Luther King Ave., Mulberry

Special Needs shelters will also open at 8 a.m. Sunday, for those residents with special medical needs. Polk County Emergency Management's Special Needs Program is designed to provide shelter and/or transportation for residents with medical or physical conditions and/or dependent on medical electrical equipment who require assistance during an emergency. Those staying at the special needs shelters have been prearranged and registered.

The only pet friendly shelter that will be open will be at Lake Region High School, 1995 Thunder Road, Eagle Lake. Pet owners must bring shot records for their pets, an airline-approved carrying case or crate and pet food.

Other resources

For more information from the Polk County Office of Emergency Management on how to plan for disasters, visit Polk-county.net/emergency-management.

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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