Hurricane Preparedness Week - Enjoy the beautiful weather but be prepared for the worse

Picture of hurricane with "Are You Weather Ready?" floating over it
Friday, May 14, 2021 - 12:42pm

Spring is in the air, summer is around the corner and people are enjoying pleasant weather across North Carolina. Hikers are making their way along a mountain trail where a waterfall cascades to the stream below. The stream winds its way through the lush forests to a river that rolls through the Piedmont. Greenways along the riverside are bustling with people pushing strollers and cruising along on a bike ride. The river eventually makes its way to the ocean, where rolling waves break lazily along the coastline. Beachgoers sit under colorful umbrellas and enjoy the cool ocean breeze.

At the same time, this is Hurricane Preparedness Week and the potential for a tropical depression to pick up strength, feed off the warm ocean currents of the Atlantic Ocean and head east towards North Carolina is only a short time away. Hurricane season officially begins June 1 and runs until November. Meteorologists will monitor the progress of any storm, modeling its potential and the direction it may travel based on other weather systems swirling around the world that may influence its growth and path. As it grows, increasing in size and ferocity, if it becomes a tropical storm the National Hurricane Center will name it.

Back in North Carolina, people continue to enjoy the beautiful weather, but are staying informed about the track of potential tropical storms on the National Weather Service website, ensuring their weather radio has fresh batteries and spares just in case, and emergency alerts are enabled on their cell phones. They are making sure their emergency supply kit has a week’s worth of up-to-date goods like food and water, and that they have copies of their important papers, including flood insurance documents. Everyone in their household has reviewed the family emergency plan and knows what to do and where to go if they need to evacuate. Checking in with the neighbors, they speak with them about their plans and point them to ReadyNC.org for readiness tips. In other words, they are preparing to keep themselves, their neighbors and their loved ones safe in the event of a disaster. Are you?

Hurricanes and tropical storms can be large, catastrophic events with high winds and tornadoes, as well as flooding from heavy rain and storm surge. Across North Carolina many counties are still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Isaias and the remnants of Hurricane Eta in 2020; Hurricane Dorian in 2019; Hurricane Florence, as well as tropical storms Michael and Alberto, in 2018; and Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

For families, as well as communities, being prepared could mean the difference between being a hurricane victim or a hurricane survivor. It is vital to take the time to prepare your emergency plan and update your emergency supply kit with enough non-perishable food and water to last each person in your family a minimum of one week. Kits should also include: 

  • First-aid supplies 
  • Weather radio and batteries
  • Prescription medicines
  • Sleeping bag or blankets
  • Changes of clothes 
  • Hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and deodorant
  • At least $200 in cash
  • Pet supplies including food, water, bedding, leashes, muzzle and vaccination records
  • Masks and hand sanitizer

Stay informed when severe weather strikes by tuning in to local news, monitoring trusted websites, or listening to a NOAA Weather Radio. Stay alert for evacuation information and know evacuation routes in your community. Heed the warnings from state and local officials and evacuate quickly when told to do so. 

In short, enjoy the beautiful weather but be prepared for the coming storms.

More information on severe weather and hurricane preparedness is located on ReadyNC.org.  
 

Author: 
Brian Haines