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Big changes to hurricane evacuation warning system (with HOWTO video)


Back in the old days, like last year's hurricane season, you knew that you evacuated your purple zone home if it looked like the wind was going to go over 75 mph or the storm surge might top six feet.  

Red is the new purple.
This year, red is the color that says "evacuate now" when even a mild hurricane is likely to hit Manatee County. And a few people -- about 6.5% -- who were in the old "B" evacuation zone are now in the "A" zone. And the B zone is no longer blue. It has turned orange. All the other zones have changed colors, too.

Evacuation zones are not determined only by predicted wind speed but by a combination of wind speed and a projection called SLOSH, for Sea and L.ake Overland Surge, which deals with how high storm-driven waves might become.

Manatee County emergency management chief Laurie Feagans says the new Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system the county is using to measure the county's topography is accurate to within 6 inches, while the old measurements were only accurate to 5 feet, and the new, more accurate measurements are the reason they're making changes.

Feagan also says not to worry about changes to flood insurance or wind insurance policies; that these evacuation zone changes won't affect your insurance rates at all.

Finding your new evacuation zone
The great majority of Manatee residents will not have any change in their evacuation plans, especially those who live inland. Those who live along the coast and on barrier islands are most likely to be affected, and should be the first to pick up a new evacuation zone map from a nearby city or county building. They're all supposed to have these maps available, for free.

Another way to find your new evacuation zone -- or at least your new color -- is to click this link, which takes you to the Manatee County Map Server. The 90-second video directly below this paragraph will show you how to look up your address and find which zone you're in after the recent changes.

Click to play HOWTO video




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