Monday, April 15
Shadow

Hurricane Season Is Officially Here

ASHEBORO NC – The start of June marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. With the first storms already brewing weather experts are saying this year’s seasons will be another active one. 

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is calling for a 60% chance of an above-normal season and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season. Thankfully, experts do not think we will see the historic level of storm activity we saw in 2020. Forecasters say they expect anywhere from 13 to 20 named storms, of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes with 3 to 5 of those becoming major hurricanes at Category 3 or higher.

Now is the time to prepare

“With hurricane season starting on June 1, now is the time to get ready and advance disaster resilience in our communities,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Visit Ready.gov and Listo.gov to learn and take the steps to prepare yourself and others in your household. Download the FEMA app to sign-up for a variety of alerts and to access preparedness information. Purchase flood insurance to protect your greatest asset, your home.

Planning starts with understanding the risks you face. While Randolph county is in the heart of North Carolina, we’re no stranger to hurricanes. The triad has seen impacts from 64 named storms since forecasters started keeping track. (You can see them all using NOAA’s online Determine Your Risk (Hurricane Preparedness) tool.) 

Ready.gov says to make a plan ahead of time and to make sure everyone in your household knows and understands your plan. It should include knowing how you be alerted to possible storms, where would you shelter in place and where would you evacuate to if you needed to leave. Just as important as making as plan is have an emergency kit. 

A basic emergency kit should include a few essentials like water (one gallon per person per day for several days), food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food), a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlights, a first aid kit, extra batteries, baby wipes or moist towelettes, garbage bags, a few basic tools including a wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities), a manual can opener, and a cell phone with chargers and a backup battery as well as feminine supplies, clothing, and blankets. (Get a basic checklist here)

It’s important to remember to customize your emergency kit to fit your needs. Those who take medications may want to include a few days worth of extra medication or to refill their prescriptions early (if possible) when you know a storm is coming. If you have small children include games and puzzles. Those with pets should remember to add extra water and pet food. 

It’s also important to keep some cash on hand in case a loss of power or the internet prevents stores from accepting credit or debit cards. 

A summary graphic showing an alphabetical list of the 2021 Atlantic tropical cyclone names as selected by the World Meteorological Organization. The first named storm  of the season. The official start of the Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 and runs through November 30. (NOAA)

A few more tips to help you prepare:

Strengthen your Home – Declutter drains and gutters, bring in outside furniture, consider hurricane shutters.

Get Tech ReadyKeep your cell phone charged when you know a hurricane is in the forecast and purchase backup charging devices to power electronics.

Review Important Documents – Make sure your insurance policies and personal documents like your ID are up to date. Make copies and keep them in a secure password-protected digital space.

Gather SuppliesHave enough supplies for your household, include medication, disinfectant supplies, maskspet supplies in your go-bag or car trunk. After a hurricane, you may not have access to these supplies for days or even weeks.

(Remember that not everyone can afford to respond by stocking up on necessities. For those who can afford it, making essential purchases and slowly building up supplies in advance will allow for longer time periods between shopping trips. This helps to protect those who are unable to procure essentials beforehand and must shop more frequently. Only take the items you and your family may need so that others who rely on these products can also access them.)

Ft Image by NOAA