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Florida Matters

Florida Matters: 2017 Hurricane Season Preview

It’s that time of year again, the Atlantic hurricane season is upon us. This week on Florida Matters we’re taking a look at how various areas of the state are preparing for hurricane season, and at some new changes in storm response efforts.

We start our hurricane season preview in Lakeland, where the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Hunter planes have a new home. The agency's Aircraft Operations Center is moving to Lakeland Linder Airport after more than two decades at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

We learn about the two different types of storm watches and warnings the National Hurricane Center is sending out this season. WUSF and WSMR are part of the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network. Alerts can be sent straight to your mobile device if you're in a new Storm Surge Watch or Warning area this year through our mobile app Florida Storms.

We also break down the differences between storm surge maps and flood zone maps, and what they mean for you. You can view the Tampa Bay area’s new storm surge and flood zones here.

As the deadline for reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program looms, we explore the history of the program that has racked up billions of dollars of debt, who needs coverage from the program and why it’s so expensive.

We take a look at how the city of St. Petersburg is upgrading its sewer system so it won’t have to release partially treated sewage onto its streets and into Tampa Bay like it did last year, when it was overwhelmed by heavy rains during tropical storms Colin and Hermine.

For Floridians living in the path of a hurricane, evacuations are not only important, they can save lives. That's especially true in the Florida Keys, where there’s only one evacuation route for the entire stretch of low-lying islands. We explore how the plans for evacuations in the Florida Keys can be instructive for the rest of the state.

What are your concerns about storms this year? Share your questions and comments with us on our Facebook page or tweet at us @FloridaMatters.

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