How to Stay Safe and Prevent Damage During a Hurricane

How to Stay Safe During a Hurricane

May 5 through 11, 2019 is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. The 2018 hurricane season was the third consecutive above-average hurricane season. There was over $50 billion in damaged caused by 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. Now is the time to review these hurricane safety tips and make plans for the upcoming season.

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Predictions for the 2019 Hurricane Season

In the Atlantic region, hurricane season is June 1 through November 30. The peak of hurricane activity typically runs from mid-August to late October. In the Eastern Pacific region, hurricane season is May 15 through November 30. The average hurricane season produces 12 named storms. 6 total storms become hurricanes, with 3 of them becoming major hurricanes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a near-normal hurricane season in 2019. This is due in part to warmer than average temperatures. They are predicting 9 to 15 named storms, 4 to 8 of which could become hurricanes. At this time, they expect 2 to 4 of those storms could become major hurricanes. NOAA is 70% confident in their prediction.

Hurricane Watch Versus Hurricane Warning

While the terms watch and warning can be confusing, knowing the difference is critical to staying safe during the storm season.

Watch – It is possible that a hurricane may impact the identified areas within the next 48 hours. If the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane watch for your area, check your emergency disaster supply kit, review evacuation routes and emergency preparedness plan, and listen to local officials.

Warning – A hurricane is expected to impact the identified areas within the next 36 hours. If the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane warning, comply with evacuation orders from local officials and inform friends and family of your evacuation plans.

Planning in Advance for a Hurricane

The best time to plan for a hurricane is before the season even starts. You can complete these hurricane safety tips before there is any risk of storms.

Plan where you will go

– Plan an evacuation destination in advance, should local officials order an evacuation. Have a few options so you can adjust depending on the path of the storm.

Pack a go-bag early

– Pack a few sets of clothes, toiletries, copies of important documents, first aid supplies, a flashlight, an extra phone charger, and some money. Keep a checklist of medications you take with the bag so you don’t forget them.

Stock up on supplies

– In case you don’t need to evacuate, stock up on shelf-stable food, bottled water, batteries, and toilet paper. By planning in advance, you can avoid the rush when the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane watch or warning.

Have a communication plan

– Have a plan in place for communicating with your immediate family, as well as friends and family in the area and across the country. Talking with them in advance will save time and limit confusion before, during, and after the storm.

General Hurricane Safety Tips

The National Weather Service recommends the following actions when a tropical storm or hurricane threatens:

What to do After a Hurricane

Even though the storm may have passed, your area could still be at risk.

What to do When Returning Home

Follow these post-hurricane safety tips to make your return home as safe as possible.

For more information about hurricane safety tips, review the Hurricane guide and the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Resources.

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