WHAT is a Hurricane: Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over the water and move toward land. Threats from hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and tornadoes. These large storms are called typhoons in the North Pacific Ocean and cyclones in other parts of the world. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale classifies hurricanes into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and wind damage potential. With wind speeds of 111 miles per hour or more, Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes are major according to this scale. Category 1 and 2 hurricanes can also cause damage and injuries.
WHEN does it happen: The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak occurring between mid-August and late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.
WHERE does it happen: Each year, many parts of the United States experience heavy rains, strong winds, floods, and coastal storm surges from tropical storms and hurricanes. Affected areas include all Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, parts of the Southwest, the Pacific Coast, and the U.S. territories in the Pacific.
PROTECT YOURSELFEVACUATE Because hurricanes can be detected and tracked in advance of making landfall, residents in the storm’s path often get several days of advance notice. When a hurricane threatens your area, the best action to protect yourself and your family from the high winds and flooding caused by hurricanes is to evacuate when ordered to do so, before those conditions hit your area. Know and follow the directions from local officials for community evacuation or seek higher ground for localized flooding. If you expect to go to a shelter after evacuating, download the American Red Cross Shelter Finder App at www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/shelter-finder-app.
REINFORCE FOR WIND, ELEVATE FOR WATER Your goal now, before a hurricane occurs, is to reduce the risk of damage to structures from winds and flooding. This includes strengthening the building’s outer shell—including the doors, windows, walls, and roof—and removing or securing all objects and non-building structures, as well as clearing the outside areas around the building. Measures to protect against potential flooding include waterproofing basements and elevating critical utilities (e.g., electrical panels and heating systems). In flood-prone areas, consider elevating the entire structure.
INSURANCE Purchasing flood insurance provides financial protection for the cost of repairs due to flood damage. Standard insurance policies do not cover flooding, including storm surge flooding, but flood insurance is available for homeowners, renters, and business owners through the National Flood Insurance Program. You may also be able to purchase insurance for wind.
STAY PREPAREDStore your supplies so you can grab them quickly if you need to evacuate; know in advance what else you will need to take. Take time now to make a list of the things you would need or want to take with you if you had to leave your home quickly. Store the basic emergency supplies in a “Go Bag” or other container. Be ready to grab other essential items quickly before leaving. Remember to include specialized items for people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, such as older adults, children, and those with Limited English Proficiency.
Here are some suggestions to consider: –
- Prescription Medications
- Flashlight and radio, either hand-cranked or battery-powered, with extra batteries
- At least 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least 3 days. A normally active person needs about three-quarters of fluid daily, from water and other beverages. Water is also needed for food preparation and sanitation
- At least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food for members of your household, including pet food and considerations for special dietary needs. Include a nonelectric can opener for canned food
- First aid kit, medications, and medical supplies; and Battery backup power for power-dependent mobility devices, oxygen, and other assistive technology needs.
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person, if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Personal documents: Birth Certificate, Passport… etc.