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Prepared for Hurricane Season? Here Are Some Ideas

If you plan to evacuate, know where you’re going to go. It doesn’t have to be far from home — just out of harm’s way and could include a county-run emergency shelter or the home of a friend or relative.

A palm tree being blown sideways by hurricane winds.
(TNS) - Just when you thought COVID and the newest gas crisis was wrapping up, here comes Hurricane Season. North Carolina is the hurricane magnet of the United States so it doesn't hurt to be prepared as June 1 approaches.

While NOAA is holding back until next week, other forecasters are not being shy in saying that 2021 will be "above normal" in hurricane activity. Sure, that's what they've said for the last several years running, but what can you do? The 30-year average, according to, is 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. The same website cited Dr. Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist with The Weather Company, is predicting 18 named storms, 8 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

But forecasters and EMS managers are encouraging people to not put much stock in those figures anyway. Whether there's one storm or 20, it only takes one to get you. "We promote that it only takes one storm," as Newport NOAA meteorologist Erik Heden says.

Heden also urges residents to get over the habit of preparing for storms based on their categories on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale.

Two of the worst hurricanes in recent memory — Floyd in 1999 and Florence in 2018—were only Category 1 storms. But they were slow-moving as well, dumping inches and even feet of rain while Florence also pushed a 13-foot tidal surge into the city.

Craven County Emergency Services Director Stanley Kite said that many people ignored the county's local impact statement when that storm arrived, despite a call to evacuate the county on its approach and warnings of a major surge. "We have data that a lot of people evacuated but turned and came back," he said. As a result hundreds had to be evacuated from their flooded homes by boat.

The point of preparedness is to do it well before a storm forms and eyeballs North Carolina for its point of landfall. "Have a plan," Kite said. This includes checking whether you are in a flood-prone area through and determining whether to evacuate to shelter in place.

If you plan to evacuate, know where you're going to go. It doesn't have to be far from home — just out of harm's way and could include a county-run emergency shelter or the home of a friend or relative. And don't forget to include your pets in your plans. "And don't forget your elderly neighbors," Kite added.

NOAA also suggests watching out for neighbors, assisting them in preparations and being sure to check on them after a storm as soon as it is safe to go outside.

Kite said it is also important to let friends and loved ones know what you will be doing. During Hurricane Florence, he said, "we got a lot of calls from people wanting safety checks when they don't know where their loved ones are."

Farmers and horse owners should be ready to move livestock to safe areas. Some areas, such as Pamlico County, can help you locate safe haven for them.

Kite said you need to have resources to self-sustain for at least 72 hours: food, water, batteries, and a battery-operated radio for instance.

The National Weather Service offers several sites on hurricane preparation and tracking, among them Among its suggestions are getting an insurance checkup to be sure you're properly covered. Disaster supplies, it advises, includes food, water a full tank of gas, cash on hand, medicine and prescriptions, a radio, batteries and phone chargers (plug in to your car for awhile in a pinch).

QBE North America, meanwhile, has offered suggestions for businesses to prepare for major storms:

—Have a business plan that key staff is well aware of;

—Father contacts that are crucial to business operations and have them in an accessible off-site location;

—Have generators on hand for power outages and be sure employees know how to use them;

—Have an up-to-date inventory of all products and assets;

—Make sure employees know how to turn off water, gas, and other utilities and train enough people so they can be called on in a crisis — particularly some within a short distane of the office;

—and stock up on essential and emergency items ahead of time including PPE, disinfectants, first aid kits and water.


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