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Preparing For The Storm - Winter Haven Updates and Resources

Winter Haven Emergency Information and Resources

This page will be continually updated as the situation develops.

Solid Waste Pickup Update

We anticipate resuming household garbage and recycling tomorrow morning (Friday). If your garbage/recycling is usually picked up Thursday, put your cans out tonight for collection Friday. Friday routes will be collected Saturday. (Remember, the City routes have blue/green cans. If your cans are grey/black, Polk County provides your service. Please check their page for updates.)
Note: Storm brush and debris will be collected in partnership with Polk County Emergency Operations. Please use tomorrow and the weekend to get debris separated by category and placed on the curb. Storm collection will begin next week.

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.


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


Your City team has begun sending crews out to check damages in areas where there are known issues at this time. We will update as repairs are being made.
As a precaution, if residents have low water pressure or lost water pressure during the storm, they should boil their water before consumption only.
Stay tuned for additional updates as they become available.


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.


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.


City Offices and Facilities (this information is updated as per storm) Stay tuned for more information.


  • We will update the public of any facility closures for each storm.

As the situation develops, information and resources are posted at:

For more information on how to prepare, visit our Before, During & After the Storm page or download our Hurricane Preparedness Check List.


Polk County Disaster Preparedness Information


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.


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 to report the outage with one click. Visit 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 and sign up for free outage notifications by text, email or phone calls.
  • Visit the TECO outage map at to report and track outages. You can also get restoration status.

Duke Energy:

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.

Utility Department Website

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)