Hurricane Season Starts June 1, But Hurricane Planning Begins Now
Like far-flung in-laws, a few unwelcome and unexpected guests may be paying visits to the U.S. Atlantic coast this summer and fall. Igor, Fiona and Richard are among the names the U.S. National Hurricane Center has reserved for storms that, with a little luck, will lose steam before turning into full-blown hurricanes during the coming June-to-November season.
You and your family are more likely to weather the storm if you have a disaster plan in place. Before you find yourself scrambling for enough half-inch plywood to cover all your unshuttered windows, step through this checklist:
Prepare a disaster kit. Assemble first-aid supplies,
medications, canned food, bedding and three gallons of water per
person. Don't forget a hand-operated can opener! Of course, you'll also
need a radio, flashlight and extra batteries. If your family includes
an infant, or a disabled or elderly person, stock any special supplies
they may need. And now's the time to get together written instructions
on how to shut off gas and other utilities if an evacuation is ordered.
You won't want to do this as the storm rumbles into town.
Listen to radio or TV. Remember that radio and the batteries in
your disaster kit? NOAA Weather Radio, local radio or TV stations will
not only inform you about a developing storm, but they'll also provide
evacuation instructions should the need arise. And remember: When
authorities tell you to go, go. Continue to listen for updates. If
ordered to evacuate, take a radio with you.
Plan ahead for evacuation. Create a personal evacuation plan,
including possible places – motels or friends' couches – where you can
stay outside the storm path, plus phone numbers for your destination
and detailed maps of your evacuation route. Remember, major roads may
be jammed, so have maps that provide enough detail for alternate
- Create an evacuation kit. If you have time before you hit the road, grab any vital prescription medications, a first-aid kit, bottled water, a radio and extra batteries. Keep car keys and maps handy. Also remember to take personal identification and other important documents, including your family's driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, insurance policies, deeds, birth certificates, wills, etc. As Katrina showed in 2005, you may need these later.
Get more info. For more on hurricane preparedness, visit redcross.org.
Or keep tabs on forecasts from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at noaa.gov.
Keep up on developments by visiting the Nationwide Catastrophe Center.