The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a very active hurricane season (June 1 through November 30) this year. The organization is encouraging people living in the affected areas to begin preparations.
For the 2006 north Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA is predicting 13 to 16 named storms, with eight to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which four to six could become “major” hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher.
For comparison, 2005’s hurricane season included 28 storms, including 15 hurricanes, seven of which were considered “major.”
Here are some tips for dealing with hurricanes, from About.com. These tips are for advance season preparation:
* Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed, so to avoid breakage and to keep loose limbs from becoming airborne in a storm.
* Have some method of shuttering windows and doors, either permanent storm shutters, or pre-cut plywood. Taping windows does not prevent breakage, and is often ineffective in preventing flying glass.
* Make an evacuation plan. Make sure all family members are aware of it.
* Determine in advance what you will do with your pets. You can’t leave them behind, and pets are not accepted at most storm shelters.
* Stock up on bottled water, canned goods, flashlights, batteries, radio (battery operated) canned goods. Have available Sterno, or a camp stove.
* Appoint out-of-state family or friends to keep track of family member’s whereabouts.
When a storm is coming, pay attention to this advice:
* Move all outdoor furniture, yard tools, and other outdoor items inside.
* Cover the windows with shuttering.
* Move furniture to a higher floor, if available.
* Move any vehicles that will not be utilized in an evacuation to higher ground.
* Monitor emergency broadcast resources carefully. Evacuate when instructed to do so.
* Disconnect all electrical appliances and main power switch prior to evacuating.
Here are some thoughts for actions after a storm:
* Do not examine your home for damage with matches, candles, or other other “flame based” lighting. Use flashlights.
* Avoid downed power lines.
* Do not venture out to view storm damage in other areas until notified by authorities it is safe to travel in your area.
The tips don’t end there. You should prepare an emergency food and water supply. The St. Petersburg Times has additional suggestions here. FEMA’s section on hurricanes also has useful information.