Winter Haven Emergency Information and Resources
This page will be continually updated as the situation develops.
Solid Waste Pickup Update
Debris Removal / Cleanup
Please review these guidelines carefully as you begin to clean up debris from Hurricane Ian. It is vital that vegetative and non-vegetative debris be separated when placed by the curb. Questions? Call the Polk County Debris Hotline at 1-800-375-0844.
Parks & Cemeteries Closed Until Further Notice
City parks and cemeteries have experienced a large amount of wind damage and debris. Parks will remain closed until crews are able to clean them up. Priority is on clearing roads first.
Lake Howard Dr S.W. Closed
Please avoid Lake Howard Dr. SW unless you live in the area. The road, and surrounding roads in Fox Ridge Run, are currently flooded due to heavy rains from Hurricane Ian. The water is already receding, but it may take a few days to fully resolve. Our team is actively monitoring the situation.
POLK COUNTY EOC CRISIS RESOURCE
The Polk County Emergency Operations Center has a Hurricane Ian Crisis Resource list for citizens in need. Please keep in mind this does not include assistance with food, clothing or shelter.
- Hotline: 800-451-1954
FIRST CREWS OUT TO ASSESS AREAS
IMPORTANT INFORMATION HOURS AFTER IAN
Stay put and stay safe. Listen to local officials for information and special instructions about hazards like localized flooding or boil water notices. Wait until it is declared safe before leaving home. DO NOT drive around to investigate damage. This is extremely dangerous as crews need time to assess and begin clearing debris and restoring traffic signals. If you are attempting to return home after evacuating, listen to media reports for information on road conditions and wait until it is safe to return.
CITIZEN INFORMATION LINE
Please call 863-508-3058 to access the citizen information line. This provides a recorded message containing important up-to-date information for citizens. It will be updated as the storm progresses and will provide important information when recovery efforts begin after the storm.
ALL CITY OFFICES & FACILITIES CLOSED WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY
City Offices and Facilities (excluding emergency operations) will be closed Wednesday thru Friday, (9/28 – 9/30). We anticipate ramping operations back up Monday (9/30) depending on weather conditions. Stay tuned for more information.
FACILITY CLOSURES ON TUESDAY
- AdventHealth Fieldhouse will close at 12:00 (noon) as it will serve as a part of TECO’s staging efforts to prepare for recovery. This schedule is subject to change.
- Winter Haven Recreational and Cultural Center will be closed to open or drop-in activities Tuesday due to School’s Out Camp.
- Tennis Courts will close at noon on Tuesday to prepare for the storm.
As the situation develops, information and resources are posted at:
POLK COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
PUBLIC SAFETY APP
The Public Safety Department smart phone app is FREE for download. This app is available for Android and IOS and can be found in the app store by searching for Winter Haven Public Safety (you will see the City Seal as the icon). The smartphone app is a very valuable resource and allows you to receive vital messages immediately from our Public Safety team during the storm. You can also utilize the app to report non-emergency items to Police and Fire. We encourage you to download this and allow push notifications as another tool to receive important storm information.
Please do not put cans out Wednesday or Thursday. Solid Waste will not operate on Wednesday or Thursday. Thursday’s collection will be picked up Friday, and Friday’s collection will be picked up Saturday, pending landfill operations.
NATURAL RESOURCES UPDATE
Lake levels remain at above normal levels. Heading into the storm we are currently projected to receive approximately 8-15 inches of rain. City staff has monitored all major storm outfalls to insure they are properly cleared to function at their best capacity for this storm, but some areas of temporary flooding should be expected.
The Police and Fire departments are ensuring all vehicles and staff are prepared in the event of a direct impact.
Tampa Electric and Duke Energy are closely monitoring the storm and are prepared to respond to severe weather that is expected to affect Florida in the coming days.
Customers should prepare for extended power outages. To report and monitor power outages:
- Log into your online account at tecoaccount.com to report the outage with one click. Visit tampaelectric.com/outage and report your outage.
- Text OUT to 27079. Text UPDATE or STATUS for updates on your reported outage.
- Call 1-877-588-1010, Tampa Electric’s dedicated toll-free automated power outage phone system.
- Go to tecoaccount.com/notifications and sign up for free outage notifications by text, email or phone calls.
- Visit the TECO outage map at tampaelectric.com/outagemap to report and track outages. You can also get restoration status.
- Report your outage by texting OUT to 57801, report online or call 800.228.8485.
- Sign up online for phone & email alerts or text REG to 57801 for text alerts.
- Bookmark the Duke Energy outage map.
- Download the mobile app for updates.
Tampa Electric would like to remind customers to be safe after a storm:
- Remember to keep away from downed power lines and urge others to be extremely cautious.
- Remember to use portable generators safely. Plug your appliances directly into the generator. DO NOT connect your portable generator into your home’s circuits. Connecting your generator to the circuits may cause power to flow to outside lines, posing life-threatening danger to restoration crews.
- Portable generators must not be taken into homes or any enclosed space (like a garage) where deadly carbon monoxide gases could build up.
- Stay out of floodwaters, as they can hide energized power lines or put you at risk of drowning.
If an outage occurs in your area, expect to receive a boil water notice after service is restored. This ensures your water is safe while the water lines are recharged. Neighborhoods affected by a boil water notice are also posted on the City of Winter Haven Utility Department site. Scroll to the news section then click on “See All” located on the right. Should you have further questions please call the Utility Department at 291-5853. If you receive water service from a different provider, you should call the agency to answer questions.
Additional Information and Resources
The United Way team has extended their support as we go through this storm event and as recovery begins following Ian’s impact. Call 2-1-1 or text your zip code to 898-211 (Open 24/7, free resource information, multi-lingual)
- Natural Disaster Resources & Recovery – United Way of Central Florida (uwcf.org)
- USDA Food Safety During an Emergency
- Polk County, Florida
- Register for Polk County specific alerts
- Polk County Sheriff’s Office Facebook
- National Hurricane Center
- National Weather Service
- Florida Division of Emergency Management
- United Way of Central Florida
- FEMA Disaster Assistance
- What to do after the Hurricane
- Small Business Assistance
- Florida Emergency Information 24-hour Hotline: 800-342-3557
- Text “FLPrepares” to 888777 to receive Alert Florida notifications