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SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2013






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HURRICANE See the GRU guide inside and visit

SeeStorm the GRU guideat inside and visit Central Storm Central at NUMBERS TO KNOW

Power Outages, Emergencies and Downed Power Lines (352) 334-2871 Natural Gas Service Emergencies (352) 334-2550 Water and Wastewater Service Emergencies (352) 334-2711 GRU Customer Service (352) 334-3434 Internet Help Desk for Gator.Net and GRU.Net (352) 334-3000 Follow us @GRUStormCentral | THE GAINESVILLE SUN

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SEMINOLES: New FSU scale measures hurricane season’s strength.


PREPARE: Know what to do to prepare

for the season.


TROPICAL STORMS: A look back at last

year’s tropical storms that hit the area.


TRACKING MAP: Follow the path of the

storm as it approaches.

13 14

PETS: Keep your four-legged friends safe.

SURVIVAL: Tips on making a plan on

what you’ll need during and after a storm.


PLAY IT SAFE: Safety tips for dealing

with a storm’s aftermath.


GRU: The power company has plenty of

experience dealing with storms.


HOSPITALS: Gainesville hospitals

practice for severe weather yearly.


SHELTERS: Area shelters are ready when

called upon.


MORE SHELTERS: A list of shelters. COVER ART: Illustration by Sean Ochal/Staff EDITOR: Jim Ross COPY EDITOR: Ted Beck

Strong season predicted Colorado State researchers believe the lack of an El Nino influence will lead to more storm development. By Joe Callahan Staff writer

Al Sandrik, the National Weather Service’s warning coordination meteorologist in Jacksonville, can never understand why so many state residents never prepare for hurricane season, which begins Saturday. Sandrik compared hurricane preparation to the Florida Lottery. The odds of one “specific” location getting hit by a major hurricane may be low, but those odds are still greater than winning the lottery. And both, he said, will “change your life significantly.” Marion sheriff’s Maj. Paul Laxton, the county’s new emergency management director, said even tropical storms can cause power outages for days or even a week, as in 2004 when Frances and Jeanne slammed the county as tropical storms just two weeks apart. Frances, which struck Sept. 5, damaged 2,000 homes and caused $20 million in damage. Jeanne didn’t damage as many homes or cause as much damage. Laxton said the better prepared residents are during hurricane season, the better emergency officials can get the community back to normal. Those comments come as the 2013 hurricane season is about to begin. And some hurricane experts predict a very busy year for storms. Colorado State University experts predict this year’s Atlantic hurricane season will produce 18 named storms — nine of them hurricanes — by the end of the season, which is Nov. 30. This is the 30th year Colorado

Roll call The first storms of the Atlantic hurricane season will be named as follows: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian and Erin. State University has issued its annual hurricane forecast. The team, which includes professors Philip J. Klotzbach and William Grey, believe the lack of an El Nino influence, which sheers the tops off hurricanes, will lead to increased storm development. The men lead the school’s Tropical Meteorology Project. They believe the 2013 hurricane season will nearly be as active as last year. In 2012, there were 19 named storms — 10 of them hurricanes — in the Atlantic. The team predicts that of the nine hurricanes this season, four will become major storms, which is Category 3 or above. The average annual number of named storms for the past three decades is 12, with six and a half of those being hurricanes and two being major storms, according to the team’s research. Officials say Colorado State’s forecasts are great tools, especially when the team predicts above-average activity, like it was from the mid-1990s through much of the 2000s. A prediction of an active season tends to lead more residents to get fully prepared. Of course, even the slow hurricane seasons can be devastating. Take 1992, for instance. The first hurricane of the season that year did not hit until late August. And that was Andrew, one of the strongest storms to ever hit the United States. CSU’s experts say there is a 72 percent chance the U.S. East Coast

Expert predictions Here’s a look at what the experts predict for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season: COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY/TROPICAL METEOROLOGY PROJECT ■ 18

named storms

■ Nine hurricanes ■ Four major hurricanes


named storms

■ Nine hurricanes ■ Five major hurricanes


named storms

■ Eight hurricanes ■ Four major hurricanes


named storms hurricanes ■ Five major hurricanes ■ 12

— Staff report will be struck by a major hurricane, which is above the century average of 52 percent. The U.S. East Coast, including the Florida peninsula, has a 48 percent chance of being hit by a major storm, down from the century average of 31 percent. Last year, there were changes to hurricane preparedness procedures and hurricane strength scales. Officials say tape is no longer needed to protect windows, and the intensity scale for major hurricanes was adjusted by 1 mph in recent years. On the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, a Category 4 hurricane now has wind speeds between 130-156 mph, which in turn affected the wind scale for the other two major hurricane categories. Category 3 is now 111-129 mph, while a Category 5 is 157 mph and above. Contact Joe Callahan at 867-4113 or Follow him Twitter at JoeOcalaNews.

Colorado State University experts lead the school’s Tropical Meteorology Project. They believe the 2013 hurricane season will nearly be as active as last year. In 2012, there were 19 named storms — 10 of them hurricanes — in the Atlantic. | THE GAINESVILLE SUN

SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2013 |5

New FSU scale measures hurricane season’s strength By Jim Ross Senior editor


This NOAA satellite image taken Oct. 30, 2012, shows superstorm Sandy slowly moving westward while weakening across southern Pennsylvania.

BY THE NUMBERS 2: The number classified as major (Category 3 or higher) 10: The number of hurricanes during the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season 82.2 million: Population, as of July 1, of coastal states stretching from North Carolina to Texas — the areas most threatened by Atlantic hurricanes.

26.2: Percentage of the nation’s population that lives in these states 591,821: Collective land area, in square miles, of the states stretching from North Carolina to Texas

Call it the Seminole Scale. Florida State University researchers have devised a new way of measuring a hurricane season’s activity — more fully accounting for storms’ size, duration and capacity for destruction. When it comes to hurricanes, most people want to know category — 1 through 5, with 5 being the strongest. That scale is mostly based on wind speed. But wind speed doesn’t necessarily correspond to ultimate damage. Sandy never got stronger than Category 2, for example, but it killed 285 people in seven countries and became the second costliest storm in U.S. history.

“Likewise, Hurricane Katrina was a weaker storm than 1969’s Camille but caused much more destruction — even though the two hurricanes followed essentially the same path,” FSU said in a news release. The FSU team wanted a better way to measure a hurricane season’s impact. Its answer is a new scale — the real name is Track Integrated Kinetic Energy, or TIKE — which builds on the concept of Integrated Kinetic Energy. “IKE involves using kinetic energy scales with the surface stress that forces storm surge and waves and the horizontal wind loads specified by the American Society of Civil Engineers,” the news release said. TIKE expands that

concept by accounting for the IKE readings for all named storms in a hurricane season. “TIKE gives a succinct picture by taking into account the number of tropical cyclones in the season, the duration of each tropical cyclone, and the time history of the wind force over a large area surrounding each tropical cyclone,” said Vasu Misra, an associate professor of meteorology in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science and FSU’s Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS), in the release. Sandy’s IKE reading was more than 300 terajoules, which is a measure of energy. That was the largest such reading for any hurricane between 1990 and 2006.

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Sandy no more: Name retired from list Since 1954, 76 names have been retired from the storm list. By Jim Ross Senior editor

So long, Sandy. The World Meteorological Organization’s hurricane committee has retired the name from the official list of Atlantic Basin tropical cyclone names. It’s easy to see why:

Sandy was the storm of the year in 2012, causing damage in the Caribbean and the Mid-Atlantic United States. The officials explanation, as spelled out by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: “Storm names are reused every six years for both the Atlantic and eastern North Pacific basins. If a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of the name

would be insensitive or confusing, the WMO hurricane committee, which includes personnel from NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, may retire the name.” Since 1954, some 76 names have been taken off the Atlantic list. Sandy is the 77th. So, what happens if a future season progresses to the point that an “S” name is needed. Starting in 2018, we can say hello to Sara.

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Being prepared is half the battle during storm season An Alachua County official emphasizes forming a plan, developing a disaster kit, being informed and getting involved. By Morgan Watkins Staff writer

With the start of the six-month-long hurricane season fast approaching, local emergency aid agencies and residents alike are preparing for potential storms. The American Red Cross of North Central Florida, which covers Alachua County and seven others, is primarily focused on prepping its volunteers before storms start rolling across the state, said Casey Schmelz, emergency services manager for

the local chapter. It is hosting refresher training for volunteers, and it welcomes new helpers as well. With the unusually warm Pacific waters of El Nino in play this year, Schmelz said the Red Cross is expecting a more active storm season because the oceanic phenomenon brings with it an increase in both the possibility and strength of storms. “We’re looking at the chance of a 2004 hurricane season again, which

for most Floridians is the last time that we’ve seen a pretty strong impact,” she said. Last year, Tropical Storm Beryl was an early arrival in late May and carried almost-hurricane-force winds. Tropical Storm Debby followed Beryl’s first act, causing widespread flooding in North Florida. Almost a year later, Schmelz said Debby made the local chapter more aware of certain vulnerable populations within its jurisdiction, some of whom still are trying to recover from the effects of that storm. The Red Cross is trying to be extra vigilant about anticipating residents’ needs and is establishing strategic partnerships with various organizations that will help communities better recover from storms. Dave Donnelly, emergency management director for Alachua County Emergency Management, said his department also has been working on forging relationships with local groups because of the region’s experience with those tropical storms. During Debby, the Florida Department of Children and Families in Suwannee County had many clients asking for diapers, baby formula and other supplies. “People are going to go to where they go day to day during an emergency,” he said. Alachua County’s emergency management team has been working with organizations ranging from churches to businesses to civic groups over the past six months to

educate them about what they need to know for hurricane season, Donnelly said. The department will host its first Emergency Response Business Summit in June, which will help local businesses with disaster planning. Floridians also need to remember to pay attention to a tropical storm as well as to a hurricane, Schmelz said. “It can really throw us for a loop, and it can really affect many people who wouldn’t have thought twice about it because it wasn’t named a large storm,” she said. Residents also should be aware of the threat posed by tornadoes that can accompany storms, she said, especially since the National Weather Service has a hard time gauging weather phenomena such as tornadoes in portions of southeastern Alachua County and northern Levy County. “It’s like the Bermuda Triangle for the National Weather Service in our area,” she said. In addition to staying up to date on weather developments during hurricane season, people should make other preparations so they’re ready for a storm if it pays a visit to their neighborhood. Donnelly, of Alachua County Emergency Management, emphasized four pillars of preparedness everyone should consider: form a plan; develop a disaster kit; be informed; and be involved. Families need to plan for a disaster in advance. If you aren’t going to evacuate, is your home storm-worthy, or do you need to prune or remove


Ocala’s George Gossett pumps gas at Sam’s Club. some potentially dangerous trees? If you go to a relative’s house, do you have alternate paths mapped out in case other routes are jammed? You’ll also need a disaster kit, Donnelly said. Pack at least five days’ worth of food and water. Families need one gallon of water per person per day just to drink. Buy food you’d normally eat that doesn’t require much preparation. If you don’t like canned sardines, don’t get them. Staying informed about weather changes is especially important, Donnelly said, whether you do so through the media, the county’s code-red notification

system or other means. The county’s notification system, which residents can sign up for at codered., can send alerts via phone, text or email. Finally, Donnelly said people should consider getting involved in the county’s Community Emergency Response Team or another volunteer program through which they can receive disaster training. Neighbors or loved ones, not trained personnel, are usually the first ones on-scene during a big disaster. Contact Morgan Watkins at 338-3104 or morgan. | THE GAINESVILLE SUN


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Lesson learned from last year Tropical storms soaked North Central Florida and packed a pricey punch. By Cindy Swirko Staff writer

orth Central Florida last year finally got the rain it needed to end a lengthy drought that had sent groundwater and lake levels plunging. But with Tropical storms Beryl and, especially, Debby, rain came in torrents. People scrambled to save their lives and those of their pets and livestock. Homes flooded. Downtown Live Oak flooded. The public damage in Columbia County alone was estimated at $12 million to $15 million just for roads and other infrastructure, not including private homes. In the months since then, state and local agencies have taken steps to prepare for future storms. But as Columbia County Emergency Management Director Shayne Morgan said, it’s difficult to prepare for the type of rain that Debby produced. “One of the problems is that we got 30 inches of rainfall in two and a half days. That’s a boatload of rain coming down,” Morgan said. So heavy was the rainfall that the Suwannee River at White Springs, which stood at 51 feet mean sea level on the Sunday before the storm hit, rose to 81.37 by Tuesday. Flood stage there is 77 feet. The rain forced the closure of a section of Interstate 10 in Columbia



ABOVE: Don Boyette stands near his home in Live Oak last July. Boyette’s home of 46 years was completely gutted after flood waters from Tropical Storm Debby breached the house. “With the good Lord’s help I’ll get through,” he said. BELOW: Cedar Key Fire Chief Robert Robinson walks on a section of a floating dock that broke loose during storm surge from Tropical Storm Debby last June.


County while rainfall that overwhelmed swales along Interstate 75 sent water pouring into the adjacent Lake City Country Club neighborhood. Now, with the repairs

and plans for future work, officials hope that should storms hit again, communities will be better able to absorb it. Gina Busscher, district spokeswoman for the Florida Department of

Transportation, said modifications are planned to Interstate 10 that should make it better able to fend off flooding after heavy rains.


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Austin Tinker floats on flood waters from Tropical Storm Debby in downtown Live Oak last June.

TROPICAL: Officials adjusting their plans Continued from 8 “We’ve opened bids to raise the interstate and put in giant culverts so the water can flow under I-10, which will keep it from flooding in the future, we hope,” Busscher said. “It’s a $24 million contract. The work should commence in November. That will take care of a lot of the problems when it floods.” Busscher added that crews are steadily cleaning ditches and culverts to remove debris that contributes to flooding. Morgan said that as Columbia County repaired roads and associated infrastructure, it made improvements that will lessen the chance of flooding. “We were looking at about $9 million in damage to road and culverts being blown out,”

Many of the areas hardest hit by Debby and Beryl are in the district, whose Live Oak headquarters was surrounded by water for weeks after Debby. Minnis added that the district also is developing SHAYNE MORGAN, ways, in conjunction with Columbia County Emergency Management director local governments, to better store stormwater so Morgan said. “All road and we’ve been working it can be used in a benefirepairs have been comtoward doing this, in the cial way. pleted so the roads are all area between the immedi“We are working usable again. We’ve tried ate response and the to make improvements to long-term recovery part of through what needs to happen and what needs to better handle an influx of the equation,” Morgan be done to not only get rid rain. We have just repaired said. “Getting people the them with the same thing help they need in between of the water, as has been done in the past, but to that was there.” is one of the areas we are also benefit the resource Morgan added that the working to improve on.” county has reviewed its Steve Minnis, communi- with that excess water,” Minnis said. “We are response to the needs of cations director for the actively exploring a people from last year’s Suwannee River Water storms with an eye toward Management District, said number of projects to improving its emergency the district now is working possibly capture some of that excess flow and response plan. more closely with emerrecharge the groundwater “I saw that we probably gency coordinators in need to shore up the plan, advance of storms. system.”

“I saw that we probably need to shore up the plan, and we’ve been working toward doing this, in the area between the immediate response and the long-term recovery part of the equation.”

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Important local information, radar, updated forecasts and this tracking map available at














STORM GUIDE 2013 | 11


Hurricane strengths

■ TROPICAL DISTURBANCE: First stage of unstable weather that may develop into a hurricane.


Tropical weather terms

■ TROPICAL DEPRESSION: The tropical activity has a low-pressure area that could become a hurricane. Highest wind speed is 38 mph. ■ TROPICAL STORM: Wind speeds of 39-73 mph. Low-pressure area is well-defined by rotating circulation.

Any storm of Category 3 or more is considered major.

Minimal 74-95 mph winds

Some common misconceptions about the physics of hurricanes:

Storm surge: 4-5 ft.

2013 Atlantic names Retired names Andrea Barry Chantal Dorian Erin Fernand Gabrielle Humberto Ingrid Jerry

Karen Lorenzo Melissa Nestor Olga Pablo Rebekah Sebastien Tanya Van Wendy

Websites Here is a list of websites that track the progress of approaching hurricanes: The National Weather Service: The National Hurricane Center: The Federal Emergency Management Agency: The Weather Channel: Florida Forecast: Accuweather:

Map and Graphics by ROB MACK/Staff artist; SOURCE: National Weather Service


Carol, Hazel, Edna Janet, Connie, Diane, Ione Audrey Donna Carla Flora Cleo, Dora, Hilda Betsy Beulah Camille Celia Agnes Carmen Eloise Anita David, Frederic Allen Alicia Elena, Gloria Gilbert Hugo Bob Andrew Luis, Marilyn, Opal, Roxanne Cesar, Fran, Hortense Georges, Mitch Floyd, Lenny Keith Allison, Iris, Michelle Isidore, Lilli Fabian, Isabel, Juan Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne Dennis, Katrina, Rita, Stan, Wilma Dean, Felix, Noel Gustav, Ike, Paloma No retired names Igor, Tomas Irene Sandy


FACT: Friction Friction decreases decreases sustained sustained winds winds but but increases increases gusts. gusts. Storm Storm weakens weakens because because itit lacks lacks moisture moisture and and heat heat that that ocean ocean provided. provided.

Moderate 96-110 mph winds

FACT: Size Size and and intensity intensity are are Big independent. Hurricane Hurricane Andrew, Andrew, Big hurricanes hurricanes independent. are for for example, example, was was very very intense intense are intense intense hurricanes. but but relatively relatively small. small. hurricanes. MYTH:

Windows, Windows, doors doors should should be be closed closed on on the the storm storm side, side, open open on on the the opposite opposite side. side.


Storm surge: 9-12 ft.


Storm surge: 13-18 ft.

Extensive 111-129 mph winds

Extreme 130-156 mph winds

storm storm reaches reaches land land is is caused caused by by winds winds pushing pushing ocean ocean surface surface ahead ahead of of the the storm. storm.


Storm surge: 6-8 ft.

Once a storm has caused great damage, its name is retired. 1954 1955 1957 1960 1961 1963 1964 1965 1967 1969 1970 1972 1974 1975 1977 1979 1980 1983 1985 1988 1989 1991 1992 1995 1996 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012

FACT: Surge Surge of of high high water water as as

Friction Friction over over land land kills kills the the storm. storm.

■ TROPICAL STORM WARNING: Tropical storm is expected within 24 hours.

■ HURRICANE WARNING: A hurricane is expected within 24 hours. Because of the erratic nature of hurricanes, the warning could come only a few hours before.


Low Low pressure pressure in in storm’s storm’s eye eye causes causes storm storm surge. surge.

■ TROPICAL STORM WATCH: An announcement that a tropical storm poses a threat within 36 hours. ■ HURRICANE WATCH: An announcement that a hurricane is expected within 36 hours.

Hurricane myths

FACT: All All doors doors and and

windows windows should should be be shut. shut. The The difference difference between between pressure pressure inside inside the the house house and and outside outside in in the the storm storm is is not not enough enough to to cause cause an an explosion. explosion. No No house house is is airtight. airtight.

The eye of a storm Thick cloud walls that can reach 7 miles to 9 miles in height surround center

Eyewall Absorb huge amounts of moisture from ocean, causing heaviest rainfall

CATEGORY 5 Catastrophic Winds over 157 mph

Storm surge: 18+ ft.


Winds here move in counter-clockwise direction with great speed; combined with low pressure can raise ocean surface by 23 ft. to 40 ft. AP

SOURCES: National Hurricane Center, The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Weather; research by PAT CARR

12| SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2013


SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2013 |13

Retirement communities prepping for storm season By Kristine Crane Staff writer

Oak Hammock at the University of Florida, a retirement center in southwest Gainesville, is getting ready to start its annual hurricane education and training so staff and residents are fully equipped for a hurricane as the season approaches. CEO Cathy Ferguson said the training spans information on what residents should have on hand, such as extra toilet paper, to where you can go and how to communicate needs to staff. Residents also are reminded to know where their medications are. She added that in the event of a disaster, more staff members are called in; and an emergency phone system rings to all residents’ numbers, leaving the same messages for them. “Oak Hammock as a facility is designed to withstand a hurricane of level 5,” Ferguson said. The strongest hurricane to hit Florida in the past 20 years was a Category 4 — Hurricane Charley — in 2004, which hit the southwestern part of the state but affected the central and eastern parts, as well. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was a Category 5 and affected

mostly South Florida. Ferguson added that people living in the independent living houses that surround the main facility can come and stay in the main building during a disaster if they feel uncomfortable, although the homes are well-built. “We would have enough food to continue to feed people, and enough water stored,” she added. Rebecca Catalanotto, director of Health Services at North Florida Retirement Village, home to 600 residents —140 of whom are in assisted living — said the complex has an emergency management plan should inclement weather strike. That includes having a certain amount of food and water on hand, levels that are approved by the county health department. She also said the facility has mutual aid agreements with other facilities throughout Florida that will take in residents if the facility would need to be evacuated. The complex regularly has fire drills that residents participate in and hurricane drills for staff. Contact Kristine Crane at 338-3119, or kristine.


There are no public shelters in Alachua County that will allow pets to accompany their owners.

Does your readiness plan include pets’ needs? By Maru I. Opabola Staff writer

As hurricane season approaches, it’s important for pet owners to remember when making their storm survival plans that they have choices on how to protect their furry family members, Alachua County Emergency Management Director Dave Donnelly said. Donnelly said the best option during a major storm is for pet owners to travel with their animals to the home of a friend and/or family member who lives outside of the area affected by the disaster. If that option not available, pet owners are urged to research pet-friendly hotels outside of the disaster zone, he said. Alachua County Animal Services’ website provides a link to the website www.

Kit for pets ■ Pet


■ Three-day

supply of food and water ■ First-aid kit ■ Special medications ■ Vet records ■ Proof of rabies vaccination ■ Spare leash and collar ■ Familiar toys and/or blanket to reduce stress ■ Pet sanitary items (litter, collection bags, paper towels) ■ Current photo and description of pet, which allows users to search along their route for hotels that allow pets. Donnelly recognized there are circumstances when neither a relative’s home nor a hotel option

are possible for pet owners. In that case, they should contact their veterinarian regarding boarding or contact a kennel where they can leave their animal. There is no public shelter in Alachua County that will allow pets to accompany their owners who are fleeing from a storm. In the event a person arrives at a shelter with a pet, he or she will be met by an Animal Services officer, who will take the pet to the county facility located at 3400 NE 53rd Ave. The owner must provide the pet’s shot records, and the animal must be in a carrier or on a leash. It also must be wearing a collar with identifying tags at all times. Regardless of the plan, Donnelly said it’s advisable to have all of the

above-mentioned items in a disaster kit for pets prepared in advance. Donnelly will be speaking July 13 at the Alachua County Pet Disaster Preparedness Forum, an event being hosted by Paul Davis Restoration, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and the Alachua County Department of Emergency Management. The event is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the College of Veterinary Medicine, 1945 SW 16th Ave., Building 211. Experts from the College of Veterinary Medicine also will be speaking about disaster preparation for animals and the use of microchipping and social media in the reunification of pets with their owners in the event of separation.


14| SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2013

Storm survival: Stock up on supplies Having a plan and gathering essential needs will help you ride out a hurricane. Staff report

The disaster plan Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone. ■ Install safety features in your house, such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. ■ Inspect your home for potential hazards (items that can move, fall, break or catch fire) and correct them. ■ Have your family learn basic safety measures, such as CPR and first aid; how to use a fire extinguisher; and how and when to turn off water, gas and electricity in your home. ■ Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services number. ■ Pick two places to meet: a spot outside your home for an emergency and a place away from your neighborhood in case you can’t return home. Choose an out-of-state friend as your “family check-in contact” for everyone to call if the family gets separated. ■ Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Keep a smaller disaster supplies kit in the trunk of your car. ■ Keep enough supplies in your home for at least three days. Assemble a disaster supplies kit (as listed below). Store these


Radio Shack sales associate Brandon Verhalen looks over weather alert radios.

Inspect your home for potential hazards (items that can move, fall, break or catch fire) and correct them.

Clothing, bedding ■ One blanket and or sleeping bag a person, stored in a watertight container ■ One change of clothes and shoes a person, stored in a watertight container ■ Rain gear, heavy/sturdy boots or shoes; work gloves, and hat or cap to wear in sun DOUG ENGLE/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Flashlights, lanterns and head lamps range from $2 to $20 at The Home Depot. supplies in sturdy, easy-tocarry containers, such as backpacks or duffle bags.

The disaster checklist General flashlights and or lantern with extra batteries. Candles are not recommended because they can pose a fire hazard if left unattended. ■ A corded, land-line telephone. Cordless telephones do not work without power. ■ Extra, charged cellphone battery and or car ■

charger for cellphone ■ Radio, and/or weather radio (NOAA radio) with extra batteries ■ Camera and film; extra batteries. To take photographs of damage for insurance purposes ■ Fire extinguisher ■ Sterno fuel and unit; charcoal and lighter or propane for gas grill ■ Tools: Keep a set with you during the storm. A pocketknife, nails, saw, a hammer, an ax and rope are important. Towels and buckets are useful if you develop a leak.

Special infant needs, diapers, bottles and formula, medicine ■ Pantry well stocked: canned goods, dry milk, dry cereals, powered drinks, pastas ■ Non-electric can opener, plastic utensils, disposable plates, garbage bags ■ Extra ice in freezer, when storm is approaching ■

Medical, personal Other needs hygiene Car tank filled with First-aid kit and manuals ■ Sunscreen and insect repellent ■ Bleach, for demolding ■ Medications and specific medical information. Special infant needs diapers, bottles formula and food. ■

Food, water and supplies ■ Drinking water. One gallon a person, a day. A three-day supply is recommended. (Replace stored water every six months)

gasoline Flat fixer for tires, properly inflated spare tire ■ Air horn or whistle (to call for help) ■ Fill tub and large containers with water for flushing toilet if water supply stops ■ Pets inside or otherwise protected, ample supply of pet food ■ Loose outside objects stored or secured ■ Tree branches tied or cut ■ Inventory of personal belongings for insurance claims: A written list and proof of purchase (receipts, warranties) for ■

expensive items. Supplement with photographs or video and keep with important documents in secure location (safe-deposit box, workplace or out-of-state relative).

Bring to a shelter Prescription medicines Baby food and diapers Cards, games, books, toys ■ Toiletries ■ Battery-powered radio ■ Flashlight (one per person) ■ Extra batteries ■ Blankets or sleeping bags ■ Identification ■ Valuable papers (insurance) ■ Cash (with some small bills) and credit cards. Banks and ATMs might not be available for extended periods. ■ ■ ■

Post-storm cleanup Duct tape Bleach Tarp to temporarily cover damaged areas ■ Water purification tablets Sources: National Hurricane Center, American Red Cross ■ ■ ■ | THE GAINESVILLE SUN

SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2013 |15

After the storm: Remember to play it safe Staff report

The rain and wind might have died down, but it doesn’t mean the danger is over. As residents start to get out, move about and assess damage, there are some precautions everyone should take.

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning Generators, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices should never be used inside a home, basement, garage or camper — or even outside near an open window. Have at least one working carbon monoxide detector.

Be aware of the risk of chain-saw injury Each year, approximately 36,000 people are treated in hospital emergency departments for injuries from using chain saws. ■ Operate, adjust and maintain the saw according to manufacturer’s instructions provided in the instruction manual. ■ Properly sharpen chain-saw blades, and properly lubricate the blade with bar and chain oil. ■ Choose the proper size of chain saw to match the job, and include safety features such as a chain brake, front and rear hand guards, stop switch, chain catcher and a spark arrester. ■ Wear the appropriate protective equipment, including hard hat, safety glasses, hearing protection, heavy work gloves, cut-resistant legwear (chainsaw chaps) that extend from the waist to the top of the foot, and boots which cover the ankle. ■ Always cut at waist level or below to ensure you maintain secure control over the saw. ■ Bystanders or co-workers should remain at least two tree lengths (at least 150 feet) away from anyone felling a tree and at least 30 feet from anyone operating a chain saw to remove limbs or cut a fallen tree.

If injury occurs, apply direct pressure over heavy bleeding. ■ Beware of injury from the release of bent trees or branches. ■

Driving safely in a disaster location Avoid driving through water, especially when it is moving fast. ■ Do not drive through standing water if fallen electrical wires are in the water. ■ Avoid driving when tired, fatigued or upset. ■ Plan your route in advance. ■

Protect yourself from electric hazards Never touch a fallen power line. Call the power company to report fallen power lines. ■ Avoid contact with overhead power lines during cleanup and other activities. ■ Do not drive through standing water if downed power lines are in the water. ■ If a power line falls across your car while driving, stay inside the vehicle and continue to drive away from the line. If the engine stalls, do not turn off the ignition. Warn people not to touch the car or the line. Call or ask someone to call the local utility company and emergency services. Do not allow anyone other than emergency personnel to approach your vehicle. ■ If electrical circuits and electrical equipment have gotten wet or are in or near water, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. Do not enter standing water to access the main power switch. Call an electrician to turn it off. ■ Never turn power on or off yourself or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water. Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician. All electrical equipment and appliances must be completely dry before returning them to service. Have a certified electrician check these items if there is any question. ■


ABOVE: Avoid contact with downed lines during or after a storm. They may be live and can be deadly. Report any outages or lines down to your power company. BELOW: Avoid driving through water, especially when it is fast-moving.


16| SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2013

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Gainesville Regional Utilities workers are used to pitching in after a storm, whether it’s right here or helping other companies across the nation. Last year a crew helped restore power in New Jersey after Sandy hit.

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GRU crews have experience with recovery after storms A large Gainesville crew pitched in after Sandy hit the Northeast last year. By Christopher Curry Staff writer

After a storm barrels through, snapping poles and downing power lines, electric companies rely on one another to rebuild. When Tropical Storm Sandy hit last year, a 25-member Gainesville Regional Utilities line crew trekked up the East Coast to assist. The first stop was Baltimore. For the most part, the brunt of the storm spared that area. After four or five days, GRU workers headed to the devastation in hard-hit New Jersey. For two weeks, the crew restored power in a 100-mile radius around Jersey City. Used to torrential rains and

tropical storms, the GRU crews were more battle-tested than their Northeastern counterparts, said Charlie Holder, an electric systems operations coordinator with GRU. “They weren’t prepared for that kind of stuff,” he said. “Hurricanes aren’t typical up there.” David Sparks, the electric transmission and distribution manager for GRU, said decades of responding to tropical events have taught lessons about the need to fix the main transmission lines and substations first in order to restore power to large groups of customers quickly. The aftermath of a storm also demonstrates how electric companies rely on one another. In Florida, the municipal-owned utilities all have mutual aid agreements, Sparks said. When Tropical Storm Fay hit in 2008, crews from Tallahassee,

Lakeland, Ocala and Orlando came to assist GRU. “It’s a big group of people that all know each other and all help each other,” Sparks said of the utilities’ line crews. “At the drop of a hat, in a matter of hours, you can double your workforce.” But even that assistance was delayed in 2004, when multiple storms blew through most of the state and electric companies had to worry about their own territories first. Still, when the Florida crews were occupied, power companies from other Southeastern states came to assist. Looking ahead to the storm season, Sparks said customers may monitor information about power outages and report outages at www. Customers also may phone in information about a power failure at 352-334-2871. | THE GAINESVILLE SUN

SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2013 |17

Preparation critical for hospitals Gainesville hospitals prepare for severe weather with drills twice a year. By Kristine Crane Staff writer

If there’s one good thing about a hurricane, it’s that it gives you some forewarning. And for hospitals, that ability to plan can be critical for caring for current patients and planning for a potential influx of others, said Steve Truluck, the director of safety, security and external transportation and parking at Shands at the University of Florida. “With a hurricane, you’ve got days, watching it from way out in the Atlantic. You’ve got just enough time to do water checks to protect against water intrusion,” Truluck said, adding that other types of disasters such as tornados don’t give as much advance warning. “You don’t see the tornado coming five and seven days out. It’s an immediate strike thing,” Truluck said. “The damage is usually in a much smaller location than a hurricane, which is a 150 miles wide.” In the event of either disaster scenario — and others such as bombings — Shands, like Gainesville’s other major hospitals, has emergency plans that are constantly being refined, Truluck said. Part of that is increasing Shands’ 852-bed capacity, Truluck said. “We have beds in supply and locations designated within the hospital where rooms are — maybe a conference center that can have beds,” he explained, adding that the beds would be for a potential surge of incoming patients and not for critical care patients. Truluck said all disaster victim patients go through a triage process — either on site at the disaster, or in the hospital emergency room — and they are given a color based on a color-coded scheme related to their level of

trauma. “Green are walking wounded — they can ambulate and could have a broken arm or a laceration. Really it’s like an urgent-care type level of care,” Truluck said, adding that “red” is for more serious injuries, and black means dead upon arrival. Truluck said Shands goes through drills twice a year to simulate what would happen in the event of severe weather or something like a bombing on game day, in which power and city water would potentially be lost. The drills, which involve patient volunteers, allow them to determine things such as whether they have enough stretchers in stock. Then they go over plans with various departments in the hospital such as food services and facilities maintenance. “We make sure all of our call lists are up to speed. A number of things are constantly in review, but we refresh all of those things as we go into hurricane season,” Truluck said. ■■■

Across the street from Shands, the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center also does drills twice a year to assess the hospital’s preparedness for natural disasters, said spokeswoman Heather Frebe. She added that because the VA treats only veterans, it probably would be a last-resort resource for other patients in the community. However, the VA does take in other vets from around the state during disasters. “If something happens in Tampa, and we do have beds, we could take patients,” Frebe said, explaining that all VA hospitals in Florida are connected via satellite radio. All VA patients in the U.S. are also in the electronic records, which facilitates care during emergencies, Frebe added. “There’s still going to be confusion because of an emergency, but in terms of what patients’ needs are, they are able to assess because that’s part of patients’ electronic records,” she said. Frebe said that the hospital also

constantly communicates details of its operating status on its Facebook page and website. She added that during Tropical Storm Debby, several VA patients and employees were affected in Lake City — which meant that work schedules and doctors’ appointments had to be rescheduled. “People weren’t coming in to be triaged; it was more of an information-type incident for us,” she said. ■■■

In Northwest Gainesville, North Florida Regional Medical Center has a 2,500-square-foot command center for emergencies on the fifth floor of the surgical tower that includes a communications and monitoring hub, a large living space for staff to stay in during a surge of patients, and emergency food and water supplies, said Jeremy Gallman, director of safety, security and emergency management at North Florida. Gallman said that after each major disaster the country experiences — such as the intense rainstorms that impacted New York City last summer — the hospital goes through its own emergency plan “with a fine-tooth comb” and reassesses its own patient capacity. The hospital soon will have a 445-bed capacity once construction on additions is completed this summer. Gallman estimates at least 90 more beds could be added — with some patients doubling up in rooms — during disasters. Gallman said people need to be aware that during disasters, hospitals are for patients and not the general public. Having experienced Hurricane Hugo in Charlotte, N.C., in 1989, Gallman said people wandered in seeking food and shelter. “While we would love to do that, it’s almost an impossible task when you need to take care of patients,” he said. Contact Kristine Crane at 3383119, or kristine.crane@gvillesun. com.


Rick Knabb, National Hurricane Center director, talks this month in Fort Lauderdale about the lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy and expectations for the Atlantic storm season, which begins Saturday.

Hurricane center chief focusing on water hazards Improving its storm surge forecasts has been a goal, especially after last season. The Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE — Last year’s hurricane season drove home some big lessons, according to the nation’s chief hurricane forecaster: Storm surge and flooding are dangerous and difficult to predict, and sometimes it’s even harder to communicate that sense of urgency to the public. It wasn’t just high winds that posed a threat and caused damage, said National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb, who joined Florida’s emergency managers earlier this month in Fort Lauderdale at the annual Governor’s Hurricane Conference. “2012 was all about water, water, water. Debby, Isaac, Sandy,” Knabb said. “It was storm surge from the ocean, it was inland flooding, it was river flooding.”

The hurricane center has been working for several years to improve its storm surge forecasts and public warnings about potential flooding risks far from the coastline. The last season has added a sense of urgency to get those upgrades ready by the 2015 season, Knabb said. Superstorm Sandy brought high winds, extreme tides, drenching rains, flooding and even heavy snow when it slammed into New Jersey in October. Much of the damage left by Tropical Storm Debby in June came from river flooding after heavy rains soaked northern and central Florida. The hurricane center said it would change the way it warns people about tropical storms that become something else, after some critics suggested that Northeast residents underestimated Sandy’s danger because forecasters stopped issuing hurricane warnings when the storm merged with two cold-weather systems and lost its tropical characteristics.


18| SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2013

Area storm shelters ready to open for residents By Morgan Watkins Staff writer

Alachua County didn’t need to open its hurricane shelters last year, but it still has a roster of sites ready for action this storm season in case people need them. The county has 11 general population shelters and four specialneeds shelters for residents with specific medical needs. Alachua County Emergency Management goes through a process each year to ensure the shelters and their staff members are prepped for hurricane season, Emergency Management Director Dave Donnelly said. The county’s Community Support Services staff run

the general population shelters, so they’re receiving training from the American Red Cross of North-Central Florida, he said. The Alachua County Health Department staffs the special-needs shelters. The emergency management department also hosts an annual shelter summit each year, where it reviews its shelter plan with staff from the local Red Cross chapter, various county offices and other organizations. The Regional Transit System also is a part of these discussions because the county will work with its staff to help transport people to the shelters in emergency situations. “It is a large team of people coming together to

make this happen when we do open shelters, so we’re kind of touching base, refining the plan a little, [and] discussing issues that may have come up from last year,” Donnelly said. Even though the county didn’t need to open any shelters last year, it needs to be prepared, and residents should be ready to take advantage of them if and when that happens. Residents can check out the list of county shelters online at alachuacounty. us/em. If a storm comes that requires opening the shelters, people should check which ones are operational because the one nearest to them may be closed or already filled,


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Donnelly said. The county may open the shelters in a staggered pattern by opening two shelters until they’re filled before opening up two more. The county hasn’t removed or replaced any shelters since last year, but it has added a new one: Meadowbrook Elementary. Residents should come up with a plan for how they will handle the situation if they need to go to a shelter this hurricane season, which runs from Saturday to Nov. 30. Donnelly suggested people pack changes of clothes, as well as toys and books for children to keep them occupied at the shelter. Residents need to bring something to sleep on because not every person gets a bed at a shelter, said Casey Schmelz, emergency services manager for the local Red Cross chapter. She also suggested anyone who uses a walker or cane, even just occasionally, should bring it with them because the beds are low to the ground


and they may need it for support. People with pets should think about where they will take their animals as well since they aren’t permitted in county

shelters. “Sometimes pets are an afterthought,” she said. Contact Morgan Watkins at 338-3104 or morgan. | THE GAINESVILLE SUN

SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2013 |19

Where can you go if you can’t stay home? hese sites will serve as shelters for the general population or those with special needs during a hurricane or other natural disaster. Shelter openings will be announced based on the severity and potential damage of a storm. Contact the emergency management office in each county for more information.



352-264-6500 Elementary School (spe-

cial needs) 3500 NE 15th St. Gainesville ■ Westwood Middle School (special needs) 3215 NW 15th Ave. Gainesville ■ Buchholz High School (special needs) 5510 NW 27th Ave. Gainesville ■ Alachua Elementary School (special needs) 13800 NW 152nd Place Alachua ■ Talbot Elementary School 5701 NW 43th St. Gainesville ■ Williams Elementary School 1245 SE Seventh Ave. Gainesville ■ Shell Elementary School 21633 SE 65th Ave. Hawthorne ■ Archer Community School 14533 SW 170th St. Archer ■ Eastside High School 1201 SE 45th Terrace Gainesville ■ Kanapaha Middle School 5005 SW 75th St. Gainesville ■ Oak View Middle School 1203 SW 250th St. Newberry

■ Waldo

Community School 14450 NE 148th Ave. Waldo ■ High Springs Community School 1015 N. Main High Springs ■ Meadowbrook Elementary School 11525 NW 39th Ave. Gainesville ■ Santa Fe High School 16213 NW U.S. Hwy 441 Alachua


904-966-6336 High School 581 N. Temple Ave. Starke ■ Bradford Middle School 527 N. Orange St. Starke ■ Starke Elementary School (special needs and pet shelter) 1000 Weldon St. Bldg. 4 Starke ■ Lawtey Community School North Park Street and U.S. 301 Lawtey ■ Brooker Elementary School 18551 Charlotte Ave. (SR 18) Brooker ■ Hampton Elementary School SR 221 and CR 18 Hampton ■ Southside Elementary School 823 Stanbury St. Starke ■ Reception and Medical Center (sex offender shelter) 7765 S. CR 231 Lake Butler ■ First Baptist Church 163 W. Jefferson St. Starke ■ Madison Street Baptist Church 900 W. Madison St. Starke ■ Hope Baptist Church 3900 SE SR 100 E. Starke ■ Bradford


904-284-7703 Elementary 2625 Spencer Plantation Blvd. Orange Park ■ Oakleaf High School 4035 Plantation Oaks Blvd. Orange Park ■ Oakleaf Junior High 4085 Plantation Oaks Blvd. Orange Park ■ Oakleaf Village Elementary 410 Oakleaf Village Parkway Orange Park ■ Orange Park High School (petfriendly shelter) 2300 Kingsley Ave. Orange Park ■ Coppergate Elementary 2250 CR 209 N. Middleburg ■ RideOut Elementary 3065 Apalachicola Blvd., Middleburg ■ Tynes Elementary 1550 Tynes Blvd. Middleburg ■ Clay High School (pet-friendly shelter) 2025 SR 16 West Green Cove Springs ■ Green Cove Springs Junior High 1220 Bonaventure Ave. Green Cove Springs ■ Lake Asbury Junior High 2851 Sandridge Road Green Cove Springs ■ Shadowlawn Elementary 2945 CR 218 Green Cove Springs ■ Clay Hill Elementary 6345 CR 218 Jacksonville ■ Keystone Heights High School (petfriendly shelter) 900 SW Orchid Ave. Keystone Heights ■ McRae Elementary 6770 CR 315 C. Keystone Heights ■ St. Johns River Community College (special-needs shelter) Thrasher-Horne Building 283 College Drive Orange Park ■ Argyle

■ Plantation Oaks Elementary 4150 Plantation Oaks Blvd. Orange Park

DIXIE COUNTY 352-498-1240, ext. 7

■ Old Town Elementary School

(special needs and general population) 221 SE 136th Ave. Old Town ■ Ruth Rains Middle School (back-up shelter) 981 SW CR 351 Cross City ■ Anderson Elementary (back-up shelter) 815 SW CR 351 Cross City

■ Chiefland

Middle School (secondary shelter) 811 NW Fourth Drive Chiefland ■ Joyce Bullock Elementary School 130 SW Third St. Williston

PUTNAM COUNTY 386-329-0379

■ Browning-Pearce Elementary

School (American Red Cross) 100 Bear Blvd. San Mateo ■ Ochwilla Elementary School (American Red Cross and pet friendly) 229 N. SR 21 Hawthorne ■ Q.I. Roberts Middle School (AmeriGILCHRIST COUNTY can Red Cross) 901 SR 100 386-935-5400 Florahome ■ Trenton Elementary School ■ Interlachen Elementary School 1350 SW SR 26 (American Red Cross) Trenton 251 S. SR 315 ■ Bell Elementary School Interlachen 2771 E. Bell Ave. ■ Jenkins Middle School (last-resort Bell shelter) ■ Health Academy at Bell High School 1100 N. 19th St. (special needs) Palatka 930 S. Main St. ■ Palatka High School (last-resort Bell shelter) 302 Mellon Road LEVY COUNTY Palatka 352-486-5213 ■ Middleton-Burney Elementary ■ Bronson Elementary School (special School needs) (last-resort shelter) SR 24 1020 Huntington Road Bronson Crescent City ■ Chiefland Elementary School ■ Crescent City Junior/Senior High 1205 NW Fourth Ave. School (last-resort shelter) Chiefland 2201 S U.S. 17 ■ Williston Elementary School Crescent City 801 S. Main St. ■ Kelley Smith Elementary School Williston (special needs) ■ Bronson Middle/High School 121 Kelley Smith Road 8691 NE 90th St. Palatka Bronson ■ Williston High School (secondary UNION COUNTY shelter) 386-496-4300 427 W. Noble Ave. ■ Union County High School (special Williston needs and general population) 1000 S. Lake Ave. Lake Butler


20| SUNDAY, MAY 26, 2013

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Storm Guide for May 26, 2013  

Storm Guide for May 26, 2013, Gainesville, Florida

Storm Guide for May 26, 2013  

Storm Guide for May 26, 2013, Gainesville, Florida