The Atlantic Hurricane season is upon us, but are you prepared? Whether you live or work in areas that are prone to tropical weather, you need to stay alert and be prepared for the worst. Even if the eye (or center) of the storm is not headed towards your direct location, the outer rain bands, hurricane force winds, or tropical storm force winds can span outward from the center hundreds of miles. Hurricanes can produce tornadoes which can add to the damage. A classic example would be Category 3 Hurricane Ivan on September 17, 2004. Across the Mid-Atlantic states, 58 tornadoes touched down with 38 tornadoes being in Virginia alone. It is imperative that every household and office have a plan of action in case an evacuation is ordered or you must shelter in place.
Always watch the local news or listen to local radio stations. They will be able to update you on incoming or potential weather. Have a go-bag ready should an evacuation occur. This go-bag should have the bare essentials such as batteries, flashlights, a first aid kit, bottled water, canned food, a whistle, a compass, a map, a trash bag, a poncho, rope, bug repellent, a battery or solar powered charger, and a knife. If you read that list and thought 'why would that be needed,' allow me to explain. The batteries are for the flashlights or the charger. In case you are trapped under debris, a whistle will let the authorities know where you are and that you need help. The destruction after a hurricane can be catastrophic which might destroy landmarks used for navigation; therefore, a map and compass would help you know where you are and what's around you. A trash bag can be used to keep things dry, especially if you do not own a poncho. Rope would come in handy if you needed rescuing, or if you need to stabilize an injury. Directly after a hurricane, people tend to venture outside to survey the damage. Bug repellent will help keep the mosquitoes and ticks at a minimum. The knife will be there to cut the rope, or free you from any obstructions. This type of go-bag will be ready throughout the year for many events such as a tornado outbreak, or a heavy snow event. Also, this type of go-bag is used for survival if you are caught in a sticky situation.
Another type of go-bag would be one that you pack as soon as you know a storm may impact your area. Things that would go in this bag would be a week's worth of clothing, canned food, flashlights, batteries, portable chargers, hygiene products, feminine products, any valuables, a GPS, etc. To read more on what you should do to prepare, click here.
Regardless of the type of go-bag, they are meant to pick up and leave immediately, no matter the situation. You should also ensure your vehicle is up-to-date in inspections, and ensure the fluids are full. You should check your tire pressure because you might be traveling across many states to escape the storm. Know your location. You should always know what areas that are local to you, would be impacted the most such as flooding. Always inspect your home to see if you need to trim back on branches, or board up any windows or doors. Do not forget about our furry friends. You should already know what you will do with your pets if you need to evacuate.
The Atlantic Hurricane season is from 1 June to 30 November. It is not unusual for a hurricane or tropical storm to form outside of the season. To be safe, start getting prepared now, so you will be ahead of the game if a storm threatens your area.
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ⓒ 2018 Meteorologist Brandie Cantrell