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With the Atlantic Hurricane season less than a month away, Miami-Dade County is expanding their evacuation zones to include more areas that may be at risk for storm surge.
The new zones were developed after data from the NOAA-administered Sea Lake and Overland Surge from Hurricanes (SLOSH) identified areas in Miami-Dade along canals and rivers and further inland as being at risk for storm surge.
Miami-Dade Office of Emergency Management Director Curt Sommerhoff said it's all about being prepared.
"We want people to be informed, we tell people all year get a kit, make a plan, be informed," Sommerhoff said. "Well part of being informed is knowing what hazards you're vulnerable to so this I think will hopefully help open people's eyes to the vulnerability that they have to storm surge."
The county has a new interactive storm surge planning zones map where residents can enter their address, an intersection or a landmark to determine which zone they're in.
Each zone or portions of the zone would be evacuated depending on the hurricane's track and projected storm surge.
Sommerhoff said the information could help homeowners who are now in the new zones make decisions on getting flood insurance.
"If they don't have flood insurance, they might want to consider having flood insurance," he said. "It gives people the ability to make those decisions and make decisions to obviously keep their family safe."
Sommerhoff said being prepared isn't just about surviving the storm but the recovery process after the storm that could last for months, years or even decades.
"Recovery is a long haul to get back up and running so having a center like this, the coordination with the agencies, the focus on preparing the public and providing them with a lot of information just like we're doing now with the storm surge planning zones, getting people to understand that, that's going to help us bounce back after a disaster a lot faster," he said.