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Visit Tampa Bay closely monitors all tropical storms and hurricanes and their potential impacts to the Bay Area. The safety of our visitors and residents is a priority and we will continue to follow any developments via the National Hurricane Center and Emergency Management teams at Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa.


Helpful links:

National Hurricane Centernhc.noaa.gov
National Weather Servicenws.noaa.gov 
Visit Floridavisitflorida.com 
Florida Hurricane Centerflhurricane.com


Hillsborough County Info:

  • Hillsborough County's Disaster Preparedness Guide, accessed via HCFLGov.net/StaySafe, is available in English and Spanish and contains comprehensive information on how to prepare for any hazard.
  • I am Tampa Ready for the City of Tampa’s storm preparedness guidelines.
  • FloridaDisaster.org for the latest on the state’s response actions


Alert Tampa



Want to know more before you travel to Tampa Bay during hurricane season? Check out the frequently asked questions below to see if they resolve your concerns. 


QWhen is hurricane season?
A: The Atlantic hurricane season is officially June 1 through November 30, with the peak of the season considered mid-August to mid-October.


QWhat is a hurricane?
A: A tropical cyclone with winds of 74 miles-per-hour (118 kilometers) or greater that occurs in the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern North Pacific Ocean.


Q: What is a tropical storm? 
A tropical cyclone with winds between 39 to 73 miles-per-hour (63 kilometers).


QWhat is the difference between a hurricane or topical storm warning and a hurricane or tropical storm watch?
A: A warning is issued when hurricane or tropical storm conditions are expected within 24-36 hours, and a watch when hurricane or tropical storm conditions are possible within 36-48 hours. If a warning or watch is issued, visitors should begin preliminary preparations for potential evacuation of hotels and airport delays or flight cancellations. Residents and visitors should monitor local news and weather reports to learn about potential street flooding from heavy rain or possible storm surge and high winds. 


QWhat is the Eye of the storm? What are rain bands? 
A: The hurricane eye is a relatively calm area about 20-40 miles in diameter with fare weather including partly cloudy skies and light winds. The eye wall, the area surrounding the eye is the most precarious with dense clouds and the highest force winds of a storm. The storm's outer rain bands are the bands of clouds and thunderstorms that trail away from the eye wall in a spiral fashion and are capable of producing heavy bursts of rain and wind that can extend outward from 25 miles in a small hurricane to more than 150 miles for a large one. The right side of a hurricane is usually the most dangerous in terms of storm surge, winds, and tornadoes. Be advised to stay indoors while the eye passes, it is by no means the end of the storm. 


Q:Is it safe to travel to Tampa Bay during hurricane season?
A: It is a great time of year for vacationers to travel to Tampa Bay. During the summer and fall months there are excellent opportunities to take advantage of the value season in the destination. As with most weather occurrences, nature is unpredictable. Fortunately with hurricanes, there is usually ample time to prepare for a possible storm affecting the area.


QWhat should I do if I am visiting Tampa Bay and a hurricane threatens the area?
A: Hillsborough County emergency management officials keep in constant contact with the National Hurricane Center, based in South Florida. Should a storm threaten, for safety reasons, visitors are always asked to evacuate waterfront hotels temporarily until a hurricane warning is lifted. Although emergency officials will err on the side of caution, evacuation orders are only given if there is a significant storm threat.


QI'm visiting Tampa Bay and there is an order to evacuate the hotel I am staying. Where can I go and how do I get there?
A: There are several options. Check with the front desk or hotel concierge regarding availability at another hotel farther inland. Visit Tampa Bay works cooperatively with area hotels to advise on available vacancies in the area. To learn more, visit VisitTampaBay.com/stay

If visitors do not want to change hotels or can not find availability in a similar level accommodation, Hillsborough County will provide visitors the opportunity to evacuate to a hurricane shelter while a hurricane warning is in effect for the area their accommodations are located. If visitors do not have a rental car or their own car while visiting, the County provides buses and shuttles to local hurricane shelters. 


Q: I have immediate plans to travel to Tampa Bay, but an evacuation has been ordered for the area I am scheduled to stay. Can I continue with those plans? 
A: If an evacuation is ordered for the county, the hotels in these areas will not be open for business and will be in the process of relocating guests to inland hotels or shelters. Furthermore, most, if not all visitor facilities will not be open for business in preparation for the hurricane. It's best to reschedule travel plans to visit Tampa Bay once the storm has passed.


QWhat about lodging refunds? 
A: Each property has its own refund policy. Visit Tampa Bay strongly urges the hospitality community in Hillsborough County to provide refunds of unused nights as soon as local officials issue a visitor evacuation order. The majority of properties subscribe to this standard. Prior to making a reservation, it is prudent for the visitor to have a clear understanding about a particular lodging facility's refund policies in the event of a hurricane threat. Several travel insurance plans are available from companies that can provide additional fiscal protection. Contact your travel agent for details or search online. 



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