Whether you just moved near the coast or you’ve lived there all your life, the fact remains the same: today marks the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season, and everyone must prepare.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts an active to extremely active season. NOAA estimates that 14-23 named storms, 8-14 hurricanes and 3-7 major hurricanes will occur during the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, officially beginning June 1 and ending November 30.
More than 35 million Americans live in regions most threatened by Atlantic hurricanes. Instead of waiting for the first storm to make its appearance, the American Red Cross urges families to prepare now.
Steps you can take to be prepared include:
- Build a disaster supply kit or check the kit you prepared last year. Include a three-day supply of water and ready-to-eat non-perishable foods. Don’t forget a manual can opener, battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries. Your kit should also have a first aid kit, prescription and non-prescription medications, and copies of important documents. You can also shop the Red Cross store for emergency preparedness kits and supplies.
- Prepare a personal disaster and evacuation plan. Identify two meeting places—one near your home, and one outside your area in case you can’t return home. Make plans for your pets. Select an out-of-area emergency contact person.
- Be informed. Know what a hurricane WATCH means. If a hurricane WATCH is issued:
- Listen to weather updates from your battery-powered or hand-cranked radio.
- Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, hanging plants, bicycles, toys and garden tools. Anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
- Close all windows and doors.
- Cover windows with storm shutters or pre-cut plywood.
- If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture or move it to a higher floor to protect it from flooding.
- Fill your vehicle’s gas tank.
- Check your disaster supply kit to make sure items have not expired.
If a hurricane WARNING is issued:
- Listen to the advice of local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so.
- Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve. If you are not advised to evacuate, stay inside, away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
- Do NOT use open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
- If power is lost, turn off appliances to reduce damage from a power surge when electricity is restored.
Get more information on how to prepare for the 2010 hurricane season.