NOAA Predicts Intense and Active Hurricane Season

NOAA Predicts Intense and Active Hurricane Season

Hurricane Preparedness: Steps to Stay Ahead of the Storm

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its highest-ever hurricane season forecast for 2024. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, and forecasters predict an 85% chance of an aggressive season with an above-average number of storms.

Specifically, they forecasted 17-25 named storms, 8-13 hurricanes, and 4-7 major hurricanes with wind speeds above 111 mph.

Don’t live in hurricane alley? Doesn't necessarily mean you're off the hook. For instance, after 2021's Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, the remnants of the storm moved inland and to the Northeast, where it spawned multiple tornadoes and caused historic and deadly flooding – even hundreds of miles inland. As the saying goes - hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the essential steps you need to take before a hurricane, and the best safety practices for weathering the storm. Whether you're a seasoned survivor or new to a hurricane-prone zone, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to tackle the challenges that come with hurricane season.

Before the Storm

Stay Informed and Have a Plan in Place:

As we head deeper into hurricane season, make sure you are regularly checking for weather updates from trusted sources such as the National Hurricane Center, NOAA, or your local news station. Know your evacuation routes like the back of your hand and have a bug out plan for where you and your family will go if an evacuation is necessary. Having a plan in place helps you act quickly in the event a mandatory evacuation order is given. If you are instructed to evacuate - do it.

Stock up on Essential Supplies:

In the event of a hurricane, it's important to have enough food, water, and other essential supplies on hand for at least three days (longer is better). Aim for two weeks' worth if you have the means. This includes non-perishable food, water, and any necessary medications. Don't wait until the last minute to stock up on these items as stores may run out or be closed due to the storm.

Below is a short-list of items to stock ahead of a hurricane.

Non-Perishable Food and Water: Stock up on canned goods, dried fruits, nuts, and enough water to last at least three days. Think of it as your hurricane pantry, ready for any rough weather.

Medical Supplies and First Aid Kit: Don't let minor injuries become major problems. Have a well-stocked first aid kit, including prescription medications, bandages, antiseptics, and over-the-counter medicines.

Tools and Equipment: Flashlights, batteries, multi-tools, and a manual can opener are non-negotiables. Trust us, you’ll thank yourself when the power’s out and you’re opening cans with ease.

Hygiene and Personal Care Items: It's hard to forget the great run on toilet paper that took place in 2020. Don't wait until the shelves are empty. Stock up on toilet paper, personal hygiene items, and any other necessary supplies at the first whisper of a storm forming.

Important Documents: Gather critical documents (IDs, insurance policies, medical records) and store them in a waterproof container. It's smart to digitize these docs too—it'll ensure you have access to critical information.

Pet Supplies: Don't forget to prep for your pets. Make sure your pets have at least three days of extra food and water on hand.

Pack Your Go-Bag/ Evacuation Kit: You'll also want to pack a go-bag (one for each family member + pet) with essentials like food, water, weather-appropriate clothing, phone chargers, flashlights, toiletries, and personal hygiene items. A little foresight here can keep you comfortable when it matters most. Most importantly, if and when the order is given to evacuate, you'll be ready to grab it and go when time is of the essence.

For a more comprehensive list of resources, view or download our 72-Hour Hurricane Survival Checklist.

Prepare Your Home:

In addition to stocking up on supplies, there are steps you can take to prepare your home for a hurricane. These include:

Secure Outdoor Furniture and Clear Your Yard: Strong winds can easily turn patio furniture, BBQ grills, garden supplies, and other items into dangerous airborne projectiles. Bring in or secure any outdoor items that could be blown away. A pre-storm tidy-up can save you from serious damage.

Trim Trees and Branches: Remove any dead branches or overhanging trees that could potentially fall onto your property during high winds. While you have your ladder out, clear gutters of leaves and debris.

Board Up Windows and Doors: If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, consider having storm shutters installed or pre-cut plywood boards on hand to cover windows and doors.

Move Vehicles to a Safe Location: If you have the means to do so, move your vehicles to a garage or other safe location away from trees and low-lying areas that could flood.

Fortify Your Garage Door: Reinforce your garage door with a kit or install braces to protect against high winds. According to NOAA, "The garage door is the most vulnerable part of the home, so it must be able to withstand hurricane-force winds. Many retrofits are not as costly or time consuming as you may think."

Check Your Insurance Coverage: Review your homeowners and flood insurance policies to ensure you have adequate coverage for potential hurricane damage. If needed, consider purchasing additional coverage. Some policies cover preemptive measures like buying sandbags or water pumps.

Prepare Your Vehicle:

Keep the Fuel Tank Full: Never let your gas tank dip below half during hurricane season. When evacuation orders come, you’ll want to hit the road without a pit stop.

Emergency Car Kit Essentials: Equip your vehicle with an emergency kit that includes food, water, blankets, and a first aid kit. Your car could become your temporary shelter, so stock it well.

6 Steps to Protect Yourself During a Hurricane:

When a hurricane is in full force, it's important to stay calm and follow all safety protocols given by local authorities. Some key things to remember during the storm include:

Stay Informed: Whether you decide to stay in your home or seek shelter elsewhere, it's crucial to continue monitoring weather updates and emergency alerts. Make sure you have a working battery-powered radio. Keep tabs on the latest hurricane news. Reliable sources like NOAA and local news outlets can guide your actions.

Stay Indoors: Avoid going outside during a hurricane unless absolutely necessary. Strong winds and flying debris can be dangerous. If you must go outside, wear appropriate protective gear. If your house becomes flooded while you're there, call 911 and move to a higher floor or the roof.

Stay Away from Windows and Doors: To avoid potential injury from broken glass or flying debris, stay away from windows and doors during a hurricane. An interior, windowless room is the safest place to shelter.

Use Flashlights Instead of Candles: Candles might seem cozy, but they’re a fire risk when there's a chance hurricane-force winds could blow out a window. Flashlights and battery-powered lanterns are safer choices.

Avoid Travel Unless Ordered to Evacuate: As NOAA states, "Local officials can provide you with up-to-date information as the situation changes in your area. Evacuation orders may still be given at this late stage — leave immediately if ordered! Follow recommended evacuation routes — do not take shortcuts, as they may be blocked. Be alert for road hazards such as washed-out roads or bridges and downed power lines. Never drive through floodwaters."

Beware of Carbon Monoxide: During power outages, many people turn to alternative power sources or off-grid cooking methods. However, these can be dangerous if not used properly and may lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Never use a generator inside your home or garage and always make sure to have proper ventilation when using any fuel-burning devices.

Stay Safe This Hurricane Season

When it comes to hurricanes, preparation is your best defense. From detailed plans and essential supplies to staying informed and securing your home, every step counts. By following these comprehensive hurricane preparedness guidelines, you'll be equipped to face the challenges of hurricane season with confidence and resilience. Stay safe, stay prepared, and stay ahead of the storm.

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