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An Active Hurricane Season Likely

an active hurricane season likely

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts an active hurricane season this year. Eric Burris, First Warning Meteorologist with WESH 2 News, Daytona Beach, agrees. With last year’s customized forecast accurately under his belt, Burris has again analyzed weather patterns and has forecasted where the “hot spots” will be along with the “hot dates” so you know when to expect them.

This year, Burris predicts an above-average risk for coastlines along the Gulf that begins in Louisiana and extends to include most of Florida’s coast. He believes that Floridians may be at the highest risk during three specific periods this season.

They are between May 23rd and May 28th, July 9th through July 15th, and August 26th through September 1st. Time will tell if his predictions prove accurate, but if you haven’t done due diligence and prepped for hurricane season, you should. You want your home ready to weather the storms if necessary.

Since we prep for hurricane season every year, you may have your preparedness list ready to roll and it’s simply a matter of checking through it. If not, we’ll run through a typical checklist here so you can make yours.

Map it out

First and foremost, you need to have a plan of action. Plan your evacuation route ahead of time. Having a map handy may not be a bad idea either. That’s because in the “event of a real emergency,” it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Written instructions or a map outlining your planned escape route can help you keep a level head. That will affect how your entire family reacts to the moment.

If it’s suggested that you evacuate the area, the sooner the better! Waiting until the last minute will likely hamper your escape as traffic congestion worsens. You may not need to travel far to get your family into the safe zone, but you should remove yourselves from its path to avoid possible injury.

What’s your contact plan?

Make multiple handwritten lists of emergency contact numbers in addition to 911. Police, fire, utilities, and rescue numbers can be listed individually as a just-in-case measure. Include the phone numbers of relatives, friends, and neighbors whom you want to reach as soon as possible after the storm passes.

Share meeting places with those close to you. That way, if phones and internet access are inaccessible, you still have a game plan. Perhaps everyone can plan to be at the meeting place during designated times each day making it easier for everyone to connect.

Do you need an insurance check-up?

It’s cutting it close to make the start of the season, but it doesn’t hurt to check with your insurance agent to make sure all the “i’s” are dotted and “t’s” crossed as far as your coverage goes. Should you get caught in a storm, you want to be sure you can repair or replace anything severely damaged or destroyed.

Act now if you need to get flood insurance in place because it typically takes thirty days for it to go into affect.

If it’s been a while since you documented your possessions, take some photos and list serial numbers so you have ample information for the insurance company if worse comes to worst. It will help speed up your claim.

Strengthen your home

There are several things to do around your home that will help it sustain the onslaught of hurricane-force winds and rain. If you have hurricane shutters, make sure they are easily accessible, and then should you need them, they won’t be buried behind everything else you’ve got stored away.

It’s important to remember that the garage door is the most vulnerable part of your home because if it falls prey to the wind, the odds are your entire house will be destroyed. Once storm-force winds access such a large opening, the wind will mercilessly attack the remainder of your home looking for any nook or cranny to escape again. The result may liken an explosion—no kidding. You can purchase garage door kits that will help you strengthen its integrity if replacing it with a hurricane-resistant door isn’t in the budget.

Anchor down any large planters, sheds, privacy enclosures, and maybe the grill if you don’t have a place to store it away. Be prepared to bring in patio furniture and decor.

Trim your trees of any dead branches and excess foliage. The leaves act as a barrier blocking the wind’s path. That coupled with the rain-saturated ground could cause the tree to topple over. Any hanging fruit should be picked. Even if you lose your harvest, it saves your—and your neighbors—home from being hammered with it. An orange hurtling through the air at hurricane-force speeds causes damage. Imagine a hundred of them!

Stock up on supplies

Consider everything you and your family need to be self-sufficient and start gathering it! NOAA recommends that you be ready to meet basic needs for food, water, medicines, and cash to sustain yourselves for 72 hours and, possibly, up to a week.

It’s best to plan for two separate scenarios. One is remaining at home and, the second is evacuating to safety.

We borrowed this list from NOAA’s site:

  • Cash: Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods.
  • Water: At least one gallon per person per day for 3-7 days for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food: 3-7 days worth, include non-perishable packaged or canned food and juices, baby food, and pet food.
  • Meal supplies: Manual can opener, paper plates, paper cups, paper towels, and plastic utensils
  • Radio: Battery-powered radio and NOAA Weather Radio with extra batteries
  • Sleep: Sleeping bag, blankets, and pillows
  • Clothing: Seasonal clothes, rain gear, and sturdy shoes
  • First-aid kit with, vitamins, medicines and prescription drugs
  • Toiletries: Hygiene items, moisture wipes, and sanitizer
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Car and house keys
  • Toys, books, and games
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to filter contaminated air
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off gas or utilities
  • Maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Paper and pencils
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Glasses, contacts, and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper cream
  • One week or longer supply of prescription medicines with a list of all medications, dosage, and any allergies
  • Copies of medical insurance and Medicare identification cards
  • In case of emergency (ICE) contact information for doctors, relatives, or friends to notify if you are injured

Prepare for your pets

Make sure and gather things you need for your pet as well. Food, medications, water bowl and water supply, leash, collar, and toys should make the list. Also, we suggest making sure you have a picture of you and your pet to help you identify them if you become separated.

The photograph was a “why didn’t we think of that?” type of moment around here. In this digital age, we don’t always think to have “hard copies” of documentation available when we need them. As far as the picture goes, instead of storing it in the supply bin, pop it in a frame for “safekeeping” until next year.