Atlantic hurricane season will begin next week on Sunday, June 1, and lasts through November 30. Fortunately, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting that this season will either be at or below normal levels as El Niño causes stronger wind shear and reduces the quantity and intensity of tropical storms.
If predictions hold true, there will be only 8-13 named storms, 3-6 hurricanes, and 1 or 2 major hurricanes (categories 3-5) this year. On average, there are 12 named stores, six hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes annually.
While we may be in for a light season, it is important to remember that it only takes one big storm making landfall to cause a major disaster, and it is best to be prepared for worst-case scenarios. Following these tips will help you and your family to stay safe in the event of another storm like Sandy:
- Assess your risks and see whether your home is vulnerable to surges, flooding, or falling trees and limbs.
- Gather and consolidate important information such as emergency contacts and local hospital phone numbers.
- Establish an emergency evacuation plan and meeting spot with your family.
- Stock up on canned goods and bottled water; in a real emergency you’ll want enough non-perishables to last your family several days if not longer.
- Have thick blankets readily available.
- Have a hurricane survival kit: make sure you include first aid materials, flashlights, and water bottles. An AM/FM radio, blankets, and dense, nutritional food bars are a good idea as well.
- Pack several days’ worth of clean clothes.
- If you take any prescription medications, consider packing a week’s worth of dosages with other emergency supplies.
- Listen and look for weather warnings and emergency broadcasts.
- Buy a battery backup and car-charger for your phone. If the power goes out your cellphone may become your only means of contact and communication so you’ll want to be able to recharge it.
- If you are told to evacuate, don’t hesitate to do so before it becomes too late.