Preparing For A Hurricane

The Atlantic hurricane outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says 2015 will be a below-normal season, with six to 11 named storms. Of those storms, three to six could become hurricanes. But experts with NOAA warn that a below-normal season doesn't mean we're off the hook.

Florida has experienced below-normal seasons that have brought catastrophic impacts to communities -- including Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and Hurricane Charley in 2004. This week on Florida Matters, we're taking a look at how you can prepare if any storms do come our way.

Video Extras

Sesame Street: Hurricane - Part 1

More Information: 

After The Storm

Something new this year for the beach communities in Pinellas County is the Barrier Island Re-Entry Program. Residents and business owners will now have to sign up for an emergency access permit if they want to be among the first to return after an evacuation.

Florida Matters Mark Schreiner checked in with some folks out at the beaches in Pinellas about this new rule, which creates an express lane for residents and business owners to get back out to the barrier islands after a hurricane. The county has also developed an online tool where residents can see what storm surge levels might do to their property.

Tampa General Hospital

In 1927, Tampa opened its new downtown hospital on the tip of Davis Islands. Back then, no one talked about the dangers of storm surge. But pass by the hospital today on a drive along Bayshore Boulevard, and you may wonder just how the waterfront hospital can keep its patients --  and medical staff -- safe during a hurricane.

With 1,000 beds and special units for transplant and burn patients, the facility infrastructure is designed to stay up and running before, during and after a storm. As Florida Matters Mary Shedden reports, disaster planning is a year-round discussion at Tampa General Hospital.

Special Medical Needs & Early Prescription Refills

Getting ready for hurricanes can become more complicated if you have special medical needs, whether it's early prescription refills, figuring out how to keep a ventilator on or keeping certain medications cold.  Florida Matters producer Lottie Watts takes a look at the extra preparations for people who are managing chronic medical conditions.

Emergency Operations Centers

Before the season even starts, emergency centers at counties across Florida test their ability to respond to hurricanes. Florida Matters Michael S. Butler takes us to a mock hurricane exercise in Manatee County.

Talking To Children

When a storm is on its way, it can cause stress and anxiety for everyone, particularly children. Florida Matters Susan Giles Wantuck explains how parents can talk to children about hurricanes.

Hurricane Cuisine

Canned tuna, boxed apple juice, peanut butter crackers -- what’s in your hurricane food supply of non-perishables?  Emergency response experts suggest that families have food and water to last from 3 to 7 days. But who wants to eat seven days of canned chili or beef jerky?

There are options with a little planning ahead of time. Florida Matters Bobbie O’Brien headed to Locale Market in St. Petersburg to talk with co-owner Chef Don Pintabona, a nationally renowned chef who has cooked his way through natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy and manmade disasters like 9/11 in New York City.

Chef Pintabona also shares one of his favorite recipes that can be prepared during a storm: 

Cavatelli Pasta with Peas, Proscuitto & Ricotta Cheese



1 lb.                       Cavatelli

2 C                         Pear Tomatoes ( red & yellow) , halved

1/2lb.                    Fresh garden peas , shucked and blanched

½ C                       Ricotta Cheese (about 4 oz.)

2 T                         Fresh mint , julienned

1 ea.                       Spanish Onion, diced

3 ea.                       Garlic cloves , slivered

1 T                          Fresh ground black pepper

3T                           Olive Oil

2 oz.                      Proscuitto, julienned

2 Tbsp                 unsalted butter , soft

1t                            red pepper flakes (optional)

              Salt , to taste


1. In a pot of boiling , salted water , add the pasta and stir to prevent from sticking together. Boil pasta about 3 minutes , or until they float to the top.

2. Meanwhile in a large sauté pan over moderate heat , add the olive oil and onions and sauté until onions are translucent, about 1minute.Add garlic and sauté until golden, then quickly add the proscuitto  & tomatoes to stop the cooking process.

3. Season with salt and pepper and gently toss the tomatoes just to wilt and release their juices . add in the peas and toss to mix

4. When pasta is ready ,  drain the pasta reserving a ½ cup of the pasta water . Toss the pasta in a bowl with 2 Tbsp of soft butter , and season with salt & pepper.

5. Add the Tomato mixture to the drained pasta , and the reserved pasta water ,as needed to moisten

6.  Toss together well , taste and adjust seasoning . Add red pepper flakes if desired

For the Plates

  1. Place desired amount of pasta in four warm pasta bowls, distributing the garnish evenly
  2. Place a nice dollop of ricotta on top of each dish , and garnish with the julienned mint . If desired you can sprinkle with some fresh grated parmigiano cheese.

Headnote:  There’s always a few pounds of pasta in the house, and cooking for a family of five, it’s also a quick , easy dish to make. Adding alittle proscuitto & ricotta to this dish makes a simple Cavatelli  a main course.


Serves 4 –6 p.p.

Tribeca Grill

Executive Chef : Don Pintabona

Original Broadcast Date: 

Tuesday at 6:30 PM | Sunday at 7:30 AM on WUSF 89.7
Monday at 10:00 PM on WSMR 89.1

Robin Sussingham

Robin Trohn Sussingham is a reporter and program host at WUSF Public Broadcasting, and is the producer of Florida Matters. She came to WUSF from public radio stations KUER and KCPW in Utah, has contributed stories to NPR and Marketplace, and also has an extensive background in print reporting. She was born in Lakeland and often reports about Polk County.

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