Hurricane evacuation zones in Clay County have changed.
“Pretty much if you were in an evacuation zone before, you still are. But if you were close to one, you may be in it now,” said John Ward, director of Clay County Emergency Management.
The changes are the result of The National Hurricane Center updating the Sea, Lake, and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) model in 2021.
Emergency officials are encouraging you to have a good understanding of your evacuation zone before a storm hits.
You can go to alert.claycountygov.com to determine if you live in an area that has a chance of being evacuated. “If it comes back and it says no data found, then you’re not in an evacuation zone.”
Clay County’s evacuation zones map is color-coded, and each area is identified with a letter, A through E.
Ward says Black Creek is its own zone because “there may be times outside of a hurricane that I may have to do an evacuation for those folks,” said Ward.
He pointed out that evacuation zones and flood zones are different. An evacuation zone is an area “that may be ordered to evacuate during a hurricane and indicate areas that will be affected by storm surge.” A flood zone is a “federally identified zone indicating a property’s risk for flooding through the years.”
“Whether you’re in an evacuation zone or not, now is the time to be prepared,” he said.
Forecasters are predicting an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. NOAA is predicting 14 to 21 named storms, of which 6 to 10 could become a hurricane, including 3 to 6 major hurricanes.
“I don’t go by numbers,” said Ward. “It only takes one to impact our community.”