Prepare Early for this Year’s
Hurricanes and Tornadoes
The potential for extreme weather is quite high this year. The hurricane season officially starts on June 1, but don’t tell Mother Nature that. It got an early start in 2012 when both tropical storms Alberto and Beryl launched in May. That was only the third time we’ve had two named storms before June 1 since records have been kept.
Over the 2012 Memorial Day weekend, tropical storm Beryl slammed into the East Coast and caused a ruckus:
It damaged houses and businesses in North Charleston, South Carolina;
Lowland flooding occurred near Wilmington, North Carolina;
Power went out all over North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida;
It also caused more flooding in Florida: 12.65 inches of rain dropped near Tallahassee;
Beryl closed down Jacksonville International airport, closed bridges, and cancelled garbage collection services;
Mind you, Beryl wasn’t a major hurricane with 100 miles per hour (mph) or greater winds; it was a “weaker” tropical storm with winds around 55 mph.
Considering this early tropical storm, even the federal government has been reminding people to prepare for the hurricane season.
As a self-reliant person, being ready is second nature, prudent, and common sense. However, if you don’t think you’re properly prepared for emergencies, we have a couple of easy suggestions for you to look into.
What’s Driving This Hurricane Season?
According to historical climatologist and consultant Evelyn Browning-Garriss it’s heat, heat, and more heat.
We have a very hot Atlantic, as hot in May as it is during mid-July. The temperature is hotter than normal, and starting earlier than normal, too. It’s not just the Atlantic, the Pacific is more active than normal, too. That was the first time both Pacific and Atlantic tropical storms had started before the season officially began.
She does not blame global warming. Instead, the Earth’s natural rhythms are the cause of warmer climates and wind patterns that affect our regional weather.
More Tornadoes across America as Well
Tornado season can last all year long. Normally, during the winter tornado weather starts in the gulf and then moves north as spring progresses through the continental U.S. and warms the ground.
Last season, we saw high temperatures throughout the U.S. and warm unfrozen ground created ideal conditions for low-lying thunder storms that can lead to tornadoes.
According to the National Climatic Data Center, the U.S. has already broken more than 6,000 heat records. Browning-Garriss says the U.S. has broken all tornado records with 319 reported. For instance, March typically has around 80 tornadoes, but in 2012, there were 160 in a single outbreak. There was even a tornado in Hawaii!
Tornadoes have hit unexpected and unprepared places, like when eight twisters landed on Michigan early in the same year.
Be Prepared and Have a Plan!
Be aware of your risks. You can track hurricanes through the National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
Set up a family communication plan, says FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. Lessons learned from the 2012 Joplin tornado revealed that cell phones are more effective for sending texts than calls. And, the Internet is a fast way to communicate with many people at once.
Power typically goes out during severe weather. Have access to generators, battery powered devices, extra batteries, and even battery-operated cell phone chargers.
Pre-plan your options. Know your surroundings and create a plan (including back-up plans) with your family. This way you know your next steps even if you can’t reach anyone by phone.
Make sure you have supply of long-shelf-life emergency food. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and every home should have some.
Have a pre-made emergency kit (bug out bag) with essential supplies. This way you can grab it and go in a sudden evacuation. Folks often get little advanced notice.