TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – April 12th marks just 50 days until the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season begins. As the season nears, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) is encouraging all Floridians to begin home and preparations now for any potential storms that may impact the state during the upcoming season.

“During the next 50 days, I encourage all Floridians to finalize and review their preparedness plans as well as take mitigation actions to lessen the impact of future storms on homes and businesses,” FDEM Executive Director Kevin Guthrie said in a statement. “Now is the time to make a plan and figure out what steps you need to take to ensure you and your loved ones are prepared.”

The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and runs until Nov. 30, with the historical peak of the season beginning in Sept. Since last year’s season was very active, and the damage from hurricanes Ian and Nicole, FDEM says it’s imperative for residents to prepare ahead of time.

While preparedness doesn’t have to be costly, the FDEM shared some low-cost and no-cost ways for residents to be ready for the potential hazards a storm can bring.

Here are some ways Floridians can make a plan at low to no-cost:

  • Make a plan – Every household should have a disaster plan that is specific to the needs of everyone in the home, including children, pets and seniors. Everyone in the home should assist in developing the emergency plan, understanding the plan and practicing it.
  • Know your zone, know your home – It’s important for residents to know if their home is in an evacuation zone, a low-lying, flood-prone area, a mobile home, or an unsafe structure during hurricane season. Residents should also take the time to know their home and its ability to withstand strong winds and heavy rain. This information will help residents better understand orders from local officials during a storm. Visit FloridaDisaster.org/Know for more information and to find your zone.
  • Have multiple ways to receive weather alerts – Residents should have multiple ways to receive weather alerts and follow all orders from local officials. Every household is encouraged to have a battery-operated or hand-crank weather radio to ensure they can continue to receive alerts from the National Weather Service in the event of power outages or damaged cell towers. To sign up for WFLA 8 Weather Alerts, click here.
  • Halfway full is halfway there – Residents and visitors are encouraged to keep their vehicle’s gas tanks at least half full during hurricane season to ensure they have enough fuel to evacuate tens of miles as soon as possible without worrying about long lines at gas stations and to avoid gas shortages before a storm. For Floridians with electric vehicles, it’s recommended that the battery be maintained between 50% – 80% capacity at all times, depending on the type of vehicle and what the vehicle’s manual recommends. Visit FloridaDisaster.org/HalfwayFull for more information.

It’s best to prepare the same every year, regardless of the forecast for a number of storms. Even with 50 days until the season officially starts, it is never too early to get prepared.