Summer Prep: Hurricane Season
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 and includes the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. The eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 to November 30, extending from Mexico and Central America westward to 140°W. The impact of tropical storms and hurricanes can devastate individuals, communities, and businesses.
According to the National Hurricane Center, the average Atlantic hurricane season has 14 named storms and seven hurricanes yearly, including three major hurricanes categorized as Category 3, 4, or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The news is often filled with reports of their destructive force. While we cannot control the weather, there are proactive measures that can be taken to prepare in advance and reduce the impact and damage caused by these storms for both your home and your business.
Early preparation is key to minimizing the damage a hurricane can inflict on your home or business. Here are some things you should do if you live in a hurricane zone:
- Determine your risk.
- Review/update your insurance policy for both your home and business.
- Develop an evacuation plan for both your home and business.
- Have a backpack with the following supplies prepared at your home and business:
- Water (minimum three-day supply, one gallon per person per day)
- Non-perishable food (three-day supply, per person)
- Manual can opener
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
- First aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
- Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
- Cell phone with charger and backup battery
- Strengthen areas of your home and business ahead of a storm.
- Protect any important personal or business documents.
- Download the FEMA App and subscribe to any local alert systems.
When a Storm is Brewing
When the possibility of a tropical storm or hurricane making landfall in your area arises, it is important to stay calm and take necessary precautions. Follow these key steps to ensure your safety:
- Stay informed:
- Stay up to date with emergency information and alerts.
- If you reside in a mandatory evacuation zone and local authorities advise evacuation, act promptly and evacuate.
- Determine the best measures to protect yourself from high winds and flooding.
- Seek shelter:
- Take refuge in a designated storm shelter or seek an interior room to protect yourself from high winds.
- In the event of flooding, move to the highest level of the building. Avoid closed attics, as they may trap you in rising floodwaters.
- Never attempt to walk, swim, or drive through floodwaters. Remember the phrase: “Turn around. Don’t drown!” As little as six inches of fast-moving water can knock a person off their feet, and just one foot of moving water can sweep away a vehicle.
- Utilize online resources:
- Take advantage of various online resources to prepare in advance for hurricane season.
- Websites such as ready.gov/hurricanes, noaa.gov/hurricane-prep, and fema.gov/emergency-managers/risk-management/hurricanes offer valuable information and guidance.
Remember, prioritizing safety is crucial when dealing with hurricanes. Start your preparations today, even if you haven’t begun yet, to minimize risks and potential damage when a hurricane threatens your area.
Up-to-date tropical activity can be found on the National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s website here.
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