3 Tips to Boost Your Hurricane Preparedness
The Atlantic hurricane season is upon us, with a start date of June 1. It’ll last through Nov. 30, with peak activity in late August through September.
Hurricanes that impact the Carolinas often originate off the western African coast. Meteorologists can track their trek across the Atlantic for several days. Predictive models come into play for potential landfall. Hurricanes that move close enough to the Carolinas don’t impact the coast only. Flooding and other byproducts of the storm can affect hundreds of miles inland. These events can have repercussions on daily life and the local economy.
Did you know? According to NASA, a hurricane can expend as much energy as 10,000 nuclear bombs during its life cycle.
AccuWeather is an American media company that provides commercial weather forecasting services worldwide. Their annual hurricane season forecast for 2020: Another above-average summer, the fifth consecutive prediction as such. Their forecast:
- 14-18 tropical storms - sustained winds of 39-73 mph
- 7-9 hurricanes - sustained winds of 74 mph or more
- 2-4 major hurricanes - sustained winds of 111 mph or more
An average season: 12 tropical storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.
How strong is your emergency preparedness game? Here are three tips to help you prepare for the hurricane season. It’s a good idea to make these steps part of your spring/summer routine. Good practice can leave you in a better spot for potential stormy weather!
1. Assess your risk
High winds aren’t the only concern with hurricanes. Flooding can cause catastrophic damage, too. The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides an online flood map that shows your risk. Check it out and review your insurance coverage.
Pro tip: Now’s the time to determine if you need flood insurance. It’s available through the National Flood Insurance Program. But don’t put it off; there’s a 30-day waiting period on new policies.
2. Build a hurricane emergency kit
Tropical storms can wreak havoc on everyday life. Strong winds can snap trees and bring down power lines, leaving residents without power. Supplies of food, water and other staples can become scarce in some scenarios. Keep a hurricane emergency kit prepared in case your home loses electricity or you’re unable to leave. Here are a few essential items to start with:
EXTRA BATTERIES | For all the items you see listed below that may need them.
FIRST AID KIT | Include bandages, pain relievers/fever reducers, and rubbing alcohol. Ready-made kits are available with lots of variety and make a good investment.
FLASHLIGHT | Upgrade your regular household flashlight with a durable, impact-resistant model. This site reviews the top 10.
FOOD | Stock up on at least three days’ worth of non-perishables (canned and dry goods). Top choices include:
- Canned juices
- Dried fruit
- Dry cereal or granola
- High energy foods (such as beef jerky, granola bars and pasta)
- Non-perishable pasteurized milk
- Protein or fruit bars
- Peanut butter
- Ready-to-eat canned fruits, meats and vegetables (don’t forget a manual can opener!)
RADIO | Have a battery-powered or hand-crank radio on-hand. You can also get a NOAA weather radio with alerts for all hazards. Check your local hardware store and online.
Pro tip: Follow your utility company’s social media as part of your emergency preparedness kit. You can find Santee Cooper on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. You can also track outages and find updates online.
WATER | For drinking and sanitation. Rule of thumb: One gallon of water per day per person for at least three days.
Did you know? The eye of a hurricane contains some of its most powerful winds. But they don’t last forever. Some storms undergo an eyewall replacement cycle. A new eyewall takes the place of the old one and the storm keeps going.
Know evacuation routes for your community. In South Carolina, you can find your evacuation zone at scemd.org. If a strong hurricane hits, your best move is to evacuate. If you leave your home, take your emergency kit and non-perishable foods. Don't forget books and games if you have children (or even for grown-ups in your family) and pet supplies for your furry friends.
INVENTORY your valuable possessions. Take photos of electronics and keep receipts, at least by photograph.
SAFEGUARD valuables in a small home safe.
REPLACE gravel in landscaped areas with shredded bark, which won’t cause as much damage in high winds.
CUT weak branches and trees that could fall on your home.
INSTALL storm shutters on windows. Fit plywood panels to windows, which you can nail to window frames before you evacuate.
SEAL outside wall openings. These include garden hose bibs, outdoor electrical outlets and vents. Use urethane-baked calk to keep the water out.
ANCHOR boats on a trailer to the ground or your home. Check your boat insurance policy, too.
Pro tip: Evacuate if advised. Staying behind in your house under those circumstances is dangerous. It also puts emergency personnel at risk should they need to rescue you.
Did you know? The slowest winds in a Category 1 storm are 74 mph. That's still faster than a cheetah, the fastest land mammal on earth.
Tropical storms and hurricanes are unpredictable but are a part of life in coastal communities. We recommend putting these hurricane safety tips into play this summer. Your best defense is to stay informed and prepared for whatever comes!
Find more tips and information on storms and hurricanes from our Storm Center.