Monday, July 14, 2014

Hurricane Season is Here. Be Prepared

Living in a breathtakingly beautiful coastal area should not be taken for granted, especially during this time of year. Of course summer and early fall are ideal times to enjoy all that the Cape Fear Coast has to offer. However, in addition to lining up all of the essentials, such as beach chairs, coolers, sunscreen, fishing gear, and all those toys, there's one more item to add to the list: Hurricane Preparedness Kit.

June 1st through November 30th, is recognized as the official Atlantic hurricane season. According to meteorologists and historical data, this is the time of year when tropical cyclones are the most likely to form. Known here as hurricanes, these are rapidly rotating storm systems marked by a low-pressure system, high winds, and heavy rains. In order to be classified as a hurricane, a tropical cyclone must have maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph.

Some of the most devastating storms in recent years have occurred during the months of September and October (Katrina and Sandy). However, our coast has seen some pretty significant ones in July and August (Bertha '96 and Bonnie '98). What this should tell us is that, like the Boy Scouts - it's time to "Be Prepared."

Getting Ready

  • During storm season, pay a little extra attention to weather reports and the 5-day outlook. Again, being prepared for what may be ahead is critical.
  • Should a hurricane be predicted, have a plan, including where you will go and the route you will take. Pet owners must also plan accordingly and be aware that most shelters do not accept pets.
  • Gas up vehicles and charge electronics, such as phones and laptops
  • Whether you think you will evacuate or stay, make sure that your home, its contents and all of your important documents such as birth and marriage certificates, insurance papers, passports, drivers licenses and financial information is secure. Also consider using an external hard drive and memory cards to download sensitive documents and information stored in your computer.
  • Again, regardless of whether you choose to evacuate or stay on your property, you will need to gather together a few key items. Be aware that homeowners allowed to return after a hurricane are likely to be faced with power outages and limited access to food and water. So, well before the storm, collect the things you will need. It is best to have them all organized, high and dry in one spot, such as in a rubber maid or other type of waterproof container.

Hurricane Kit

  • Flashlights, batteries, candles, lanterns, fuel, lighters, matches
  • Battery-operated radio and/or TV
  • Containers of water-enough to last 5 to 7 days
  • Canned and other non-perishable food and beverages for at least 3 days
  • Utensils and paper products for food
  • Manual can opener
  • Pet food-kitty litter
  • Medications, prescriptions
  • Hygiene products, diapers, wipes, toiletries
  • Paper products, trash bags
  • First aid kit- Be aware that the most common injuries after a hurricane involve cuts, scrapes, and bee stings
  • Extra clothing, include raincoats and warm weather outer wear depending on the time of year
  • If you plan to use a generator, have fuel on hand

***Be aware to take all of the necessary precautions when using gas or kerosene lamps, candles, and generators.

Before the storm:

  • Compile a list of all important phone numbers, such as your property insurance company, utility offices, physician, local TV and radio stations, tree removal services, and the local emergency management office.
  • Make sure basic tools for tree removal, such as saws and chainsaws are in good working order and accessible.
  • Have any dead limbs or trees removed from your property. Consider taking out trees that would pose a threat to your home should they snap and break in a storm.
  • Be aware of which outside objects need to be secured in case of a hurricane. Have a plan for where boats, wave runners, outdoor furniture, bird feeders, planters, and grills will be stowed.
  • If you do not have storm shutters, have plywood cut for your home's windows. Predrill the holes for easy installation and make sure to label which pieces fit which windows.

For more ideas on how to be as prepared as possible visit this site: 

Thankfully, for the 2014, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a near-normal or below-normal season!

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