MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — Manatee County leaders are hoping residents plan now for the beginning of hurricane season.
Emergency Management Chief Steve Litschauer said residents should know their evacuation zone, have a supply kit and know how sturdy their home is.
"Know your home, meaning what is the construction of your home — is it built to withstand high winds? The problem we ran into with Irma was those folks that did not need to evacuate did, and they were occupying space for those who needed shelter,” said Litschauer.
Litschauer said it is only necessary for those living in evacuation zones to evacuate tens of miles, not hundreds of miles.
“Knowing weather and where you are going to evacuate to is an important factor,” said Litschauer.
Manatee County opened 25 shelters during Irma.
The shelters were nearly at capacity, so they will open 27 shelters if a hurricane comes to the Tampa Bay area this year.