• 9 facts about evacuations in Florida

    By: Racquel Asa , Katy Camp

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - The state of Florida has designated evacuation zones in most of the state's coastal counties. While the interior counties do not have evacuation zones, law enforcement agencies encourage all Floridians to educate themselves about evacuating in times of emergency.

     

    Here are 9 things you need to know about evacuation routes:

     

    1) FREE TOLLS: Only the governor can suspend tolls on certain toll roads in the state to facilitate evacuations. Tolls will be reinstated after residents are cleared to return home after a storm. 

     

    WFTV will notify Central Floridians when the Governor suspends the tolls. Sign up to receive the alerts through our mobile news app. You can download it for free at www.wftvapps.com 

     

    2) KNOW YOUR ZONE: There are 40 counties with "Designated Evacuation Zones" in Florida. Four Central Florida counties have the designation: Brevard, Lake, Volusia and Flagler. 

     

    Use this interactive map from FloridaDisaster.org to find your zone and your evacuation route:

     

    3) AREA SPECIFIC EVACUATIONS: Counties that do not have "Designated Evacuation Zones" can still call for evacuations. The areas won't refer to zones and instead will refer to geographic boundaries or landmarks.

     

    5) KNOW YOUR ROUTE: Certain roads in the state are designated as evacuation routes. Check out the above map to find yours. 

     

    © 2019 Cox Media Group.

     

    6) DRIVING ON THE SHOULDER: To facilitate evacuations, the governor can order "Emergency Shoulder Use". ESU was first implemented during Hurricane Irma in 2017, but it's only allowed on certain state roads. Overhead signs will dictate if your major highway allows shoulder use.

     

    Emergency Shoulder Use

     

     Interstate 4

    • Eastbound from US 41 in Tampa (Hillsborough County) to SR 417 in Celebration (Osceola County)
     

     Interstate 10 

    • Westbound from SR 23 in Jacksonville (Duval County) to Interstate 75 in Lake City (Columbia County)
    • Westbound from Interstate 75 in Lake City (Columbia County) to US 319 in Tallahassee (Leon County)
     

     Interstate 75

    • Northbound from SR 951 in Naples (Collier County) to SR 143 in Jennings (Hamilton County)

     Interstate 75  "Alligator Alley"

    • Northbound from US 27 in Weston (Broward County) to SR 951 in Naples (Collier County)
    • Southbound from SR 951 in Naples (Collier County) to US 27 in Weston (Broward County)
     

    Interstate 95

    • Northbound from SR 706 in Jupiter (Palm Beach County) to south of Interstate 295 in Jacksonville (Duval County)
     

    Florida's Turnpike

    • Northbound from SR 50 in Winter Garden (Orange County) to US 301 in Wildwood (Sumter County)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    7) ONE-WAY TRAFFIC: In the past, the state has used a plan called "contraflow" where traffic flows

    one-way on a major corridor or evacuation route. According to the state Department of Transportation, "Emergency Shoulder Use" plans replace the former one-way plans. Don't fall for pictures on social media that show an interstate jammed with traffic all headed the same direction.

     

    8) CAUSEWAYS WILL REMAIN OPEN: Law enforcement agencies will keep causeways and bridges open unless the bridge is structurally unsound. Drivers crossing causeways with high wind gusts run the risk of losing control of their vehicle. A good rule of thumb is if you don't see a law enforcement officer on a bridge during the storm, you shouldn't be there either.

     

     

    9) HAVE YOUR IDENTIFICATION: If you are ordered to evacuate, law enforcement officers will require you to show a form of identification to return to your neighborhood. Law enforcement agencies are trying to prevent criminals from going into areas where homeowners are not home.

     

    Florida driver's licenses and identification cards are getting a new look.
    Florida driver's licenses and identification cards are getting a new look.
    FDSMV

     

    Watch traffic anchor Racquel Asa and Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Kim Montes discuss evacuation procedures below:

     

    To monitor traffic conditions across the state of Florida, click on this link and bookmark it: https://fl511.com/

     

    Follow Racquel Asa on Twitter for live updates on evacuation routes during severe weather.

     

     

     

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