Today is the first day of the 2012 Hurricane Season; but area residents have already seen two named storms.
And although forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say the early storms do not necessarily indicate increased activity this summer, WHQR’s Rachel Lewis Hilburn reports that this last day of Hurricane Preparedness Week could be an opportune time to finalize an individual emergency plan.
Government websites – from the municipal and county levels up to the federal -- have extensive checklists for before, during, and after a storm.
Hurricane expert and National Weather Service meteorologist Terry Lebo says he breaks the task down into bite-size pieces by planning according to storm strength.
“What am I going to do for a tropical storm or a Category 1 storm? Well that’s the one where you want to make sure you have extra supplies.”
That means visiting the ATM machine for extra cash, stocking up on non-perishable food and drinking water, and having a ready supply of prescription medications.
“As you get to Category 2 and 3, you’re going to want to think about having more of what you need because you’re going to be without power longer. As you start to get into the top end of 2 and into the 3 range, at that point you might want to think about whether to evacuate. You might think, ‘Okay, where do I want to go?’”
That decision, says Lebo, is best made based on directives from local authorities. When you evacuate, carry important papers – like insurance data, social security cards, and passports -- in a portable, weatherproof case. And don’t forget the animals.
“Another thing you need to think about – if you have pets… if they require medication or if you’re going to evacuate. Are you going to a shelter? Or are you going inland to a hotel? Or are going to stay with family or friends? What are you going to do with your animals?”
You don’t want to be strategizing when the storm is on the way, says Lebo. You want to have the plan in place so when the time comes, you can focus on taking action.
On Saturday, June 2nd, the Cape Fear Museum hosts Stormfest – in cooperation with the National Weather Service from 10 am to 4 pm. The event is free and open to the public.
Meet meteorologists; learn about weather phenomena, and how to predict it. Find out how to prepare for dangerous weather, and discover the resources local governments offer to help with storm response and recovery.