Plan for the storm
It only takes one. Whether storm activity is predictably low or unexpectedly high for the upcoming or any tropical season, it is important to always have a plan in place. Once a storm has developed, there is far too little time to make adequate preparations to ensure the full safety of life and property.
Before every hurricane season you should know your evacuation routes and local shelters. Check emergency equipment like flashlights, generators and NOAA weather radios. Try to stock up on non-perishable foods and beverages. Have a backup supply of gasoline. Should you need to evacuate, have a plan for your pets. Finally, review your insurance policy. It is important to keep in mind, especially with purchasing supplies in preparation; the more people that wait until the last minute, the more likely that many supplies will be sold out.
If a storm develops and your home area is placed under a watch, check in with WBRZ and NOAA for updates. Make sure vehicles are fully fueled. Ensure you have extra cash as a loss of power could disable credit/debit machines. Double check stocked food, beverage and battery supplies. Make sure necessary medications are on hand. Secure loose items around your property.
If a warning is issued, pay very close attention to WBRZ weather forecasts and have a NOAA weather radio powered in case electricity is lost. Also remember the new media available through your cell phone in the event of power loss. Newscasts can be watched on smartphones and social media feeds such as Facebook and Twitter will provide a continuous stream of information. Board up homes and close storm shelters. Follow instructions issued by local officials, including evacuation orders. Leave the flood zone. Notify friends and family outside of the storm area of your evacuation plans. Plan to leave if you live in a mobile home, live on the coast, in a flood zone or in a high-rise building.
If you stay home during a storm you should turn your refrigerator to the lowest setting and keep it closed to chill items as long as possible. Turn off utilities, propane tanks and unplug small appliances. Fill bath tubs with fresh water for cleaning and flushing in case tap water is lost. Do not drink the bathtub water. If the winds become strong, go to an interior room on a lower floor away from windows and doors and lie on the floor beneath a sturdy object. Be on alert for tornadoes and the eye of the storm. If a period of calm follows very intense weather, the other side of the eye will likely pass over soon with more harsh weather.
For more on creating a family emergency plan and what to do for unplanned hazards visit the preparedness guide developed by FEMA, NOAA and the American Red Cross.
The WBRZ Weather Team will bring you more throughout the week, featuring additional information about tropical cyclones through Hurricane Preparedness Week. You can get much more by also visiting www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare/
You can view our one-hour special, "Weathering the Storm" on Sunday, May 31 from 6-7pm on WBRZ News 2.
All through the season, check in with the WBRZ Weather Team on News 2, wbrz.com/weather and please keep up with us on social media for the very latest: