important hurricane information

In Greater Fort Lauderdale we enjoy 3,000 hours of sunshine, cool breezes from the Atlantic Ocean, 23 miles of warm, golden sands and an average year-round temperature of 77 degrees. For all this natural beauty, we are reminded there is a small price - hurricane season. Fortunately, unlike with other natural disasters, modern-day tropical weather forecasting provides ample time for preparation.

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has a communications network coordinating with local emergency management officials to assist hotels located on or near the beach in providing up-to-date information on evacuations, inland hotel availability and hurricane shelter options for visitors in the event a hurricane warning is issued for the area.

For more information visit broward.org/hurricane or call the Broward County Emergency Operations Center at (954) 831-4000. The Broward Hurricane Hotline is 311.

Other helpful links for hurricanes/tropical storm information:
The Weather Channel - weather.com 
USA Today Travel & Weather - usatoday.com/weather/wilist.htm 
Visit Florida - visitflorida.com 
National Hurricane Center - nhc.noaa.gov
South Florida Hurricane Center - srh.noaa.gov/mia 
National Weather Service - nws.noaa.gov 
National Climatic Data Center - ncdc.noaa.gov 
Florida Emergency Management Center - myflorida.com

Frequently Asked Travel Questions About Hurricane Season

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: Tropical cyclone with winds of 74 miles (118 kilometers) per hour or greater that occurs in the North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern North Pacific Ocean.

QWhat is the difference between a hurricane warning and a hurricane watch?
A: The National Hurricane Center is the agency responsible for monitoring and issuing watches and warnings in the Atlantic and Northeast basins. A warning is issued when hurricane conditions are expected within 24-36 hours, and a watch when hurricane 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.  

QWhat is the Eye of the storm? What are Rainbands? 
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 eyewall, the area surrounding the eye is the most precarious with dense clouds and the highest force winds of a storm. The storm's outer rainbands 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.

Q:Is it safe to travel to Greater Fort Lauderdale during hurricane season?
A: Absolutely! It is a great time of year for vacationers to travel to Greater Fort Lauderdale. 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 Greater Fort Lauderdale and a hurricane threatens the area?
A: The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau actively works with Broward County emergency management officials who keep in constant contact with the National Hurricane Center, based in South Florida. The CVB provides official updates to hotel management in the event there is a need to evacuate. Information regarding lodging availabilities located inland from the beach is provided to beach and waterfront hotels that would receive possible evacuation orders.  If there is a storm threat, check with the hotel's front desk, visit the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau website at sunny.org/visitors/hotels or, while in the area, call the visitor assistance line at (877) 664-4774. Should a storm threaten, for safety reasons, visitors are always asked to evacuate beachfront and 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 Greater Fort Lauderdale 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 to see if there is availability at another hotel further inland? The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau works cooperatively with area hotels to advise beach and waterfront hotels of hotel availability for visitors requiring evacuation due to a hurricane warning issued in the area. Also the CVB's housing services department has sets up a special hotel hotline (877) 664-4774 to provide hotel availability for visitors needing to relocate. These numbers are published in advisories sent to hotel management and posted on the Greater Fort Lauderdale website at sunny.org/visitors/hotels.

If visitors do not want to change hotels or can not find availability in a similar level accommodation, Broward 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. Please see attached list of hurricane shelters.

Q: I have immediate plans to travel to Greater Fort Lauderdale, 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 barrier islands and beach areas, 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. If you travel to Greater Fort Lauderdale, you will not be permitted on the barrier islands. 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 Greater Fort Lauderdale once the storm has passed and access to the beach areas is restored.

QWhen can we resume our vacation to Greater Fort Lauderdale? 
A: Visitors can resume their vacation plans once the storm has passed and any restricted access to the beaches has been lifted. If the storm has impacted Greater Fort Lauderdale, visitors can resume vacation plans once electricity, road access and other infrastructure are restored. Check the Greater Fort Lauderdale website at sunny.org for the latest information concerning the status of the area.

QWhat about lodging refunds? 
A: Each property has its own refund policy. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau strongly urges the hospitality community in Broward 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 the Web.

QHow do hurricanes/storms affect Florida's delicate eco-system?
A: - Scrubs harmful algae from coral reefs. 
    - Prunes dead limbs from trees allowing sunlight to penetrate the forest floor. 
    - Deposits sand on the barrier islands making them higher and wider. 
    - Moderates global temperature. 
    - Rain helps to refill the aquifer. 
    - The water flow in natural springs increases. 
    - Wildlife benefits from the increased water. 
    - Dried out wetlands are rehydrated.