The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released the 2021 outlook, which predicts another active season. It’s important to remember that it only takes one storm to devastate a community. Now is the time to prepare your home and your family. Remember, hurricanes are not just a coastal problem, so it’s important to know the risks where you live: rain, wind and flooding could happen far from the coast.
Hurricanes are among the most powerful and destructive phenomena in nature. The primary hazards from tropical cyclones (which include tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes) are storm surge flooding, inland flooding from heavy rains, destructive winds, tornadoes, and high surf and rip currents. Hurricane season started on June 1 in the Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the Central Pacific (including Hawaii). It ends on November 30. Make sure you and your family are prepared by planning ahead.
- Know the Difference between a Watch and a Warning
- A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 miles per hour [mph] or higher) are possible in a stated area. Experts announce hurricane watches 48 hours before they expect tropical-storm-force winds (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) to start.
- A hurricane warning is more serious. It means hurricane-force winds are expected in a stated area. Experts issue these warnings 36 hours before tropical-storm-force winds are expected in the area to give people enough time to prepare for the storm.
- Download the FEMA app and receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide. Sign up for community alerts in your area and be aware of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA)- which requires no-sign up.
- Make a Plan
- Know how the COVID-19 pandemic can affect disaster preparedness and recovery, and what you can do to keep yourself and others safe.
- See these planning tips for people with disabilities and older adults. Check out ACL's emergency preparedness webpage.
- Make sure everyone in your household knows and understands your hurricane plan. Discuss the latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it may affect your hurricane planning.
- Gather Emergency Supplies
- Have enough supplies for your household, include medication, disinfectant supplies, cloth face coverings, pet supplies in your go bag or car trunk. If you live in Hawaii, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, consider having supplies to last at least 10 days.
- Keep your cell phone charged when you know a hurricane is in the forecast and consider a backup charging device to power electronics.
- Build an emergency preparedness kit.
- Be Ready to Evacuate or Stay at Home
- If a hurricane is coming, you may hear an order from authorities to evacuate (leave your home). Never ignore an order to evacuate. Even sturdy, well-built houses may not hold up against a hurricane. Staying home to protect your property is not worth risking your health and safety.
- When Going to a Public Disaster Shelter During the COVID-19 Pandemic follow disaster shelter policies and procedures designed to protect everyone in the shelter, especially those who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.
Find more general information and guidance at Ready.gov Hurricanes, CDC’s Preparing for a Hurricane or Other Tropical Storms and FEMA’s Disaster Assistance - Hurricanes. Until then remember to stay informed, make a plan, and build a kit.