Hurricane Preparedness Week kicks off

Governor declares May 7-13 Hurricane Preparedness Week and urges residents to update emergency kits and plans

Palm trees and warning flags are blown by strong winds brought by the arrival of Hurricane Paloma in George Town, Grand Cayman, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008. Late-season Hurricane Paloma's center was expected to pass near Grand Cayman late Friday or early Saturday, then gain strength as it moves toward Cuba which is already suffering from billions of dollars in damage from two previous hurricanes this season. (AP Photo/Joanna Lewis)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – Hurricane season officially starts June 1, but the weeks leading up to the season are a prime time to get ready for whatever Mother Nature has in store for us this year.

“The first thing we need to do is identify our risk,” said David Glenn, science and operations officer at the National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City. “What are we most prone to here in certain areas of eastern North Carolina?”

Here in the East, we can see it all from a storm. So knowing what you’re up against where you live is key. But getting ready for the season goes beyond that.

“The next thing would be to develop an emergency plan,” said Glenn. “What would you do with your family, your loved ones? Where would you go if asked to evacuate?”

Answering these questions now can prevent a lot of headaches when the time does come to evacuate.

Part of making sure you’re ready for hurricane season is getting together an emergency supply kit and having it ready to go. You can download and print out a hurricane supply checklist.

There is an upfront cost, but if you start buying a few items now each time you go to the store, you’ll have your kit ready to go by the start of the season. Even if you already have a kit, it’s still important to check it now.

“If you’ve used up any supplies over the last year with Matthew, make sure you go back and replenish the supplies from your supply kit,” explained Glenn.

With your kit ready to go, you’ll need to make sure you have an evacuation plan too so you quickly know where to go if you need to evacuate.

Governor Roy Cooper wants all North Carolinians to prepare now for another hurricane season, especially since many communities are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew. Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30.

“Last fall, North Carolinians experienced first-hand the life-changing devastation of Hurricane Matthew, and we know from experience that any storm should be taken seriously,” said Gov. Cooper. “Now is the time to get ready to protect your home and family from the next hurricane.”

A Category 1 storm at the time of its landfall in the Tarheel State, Hurricane Matthew caused an estimated $4.8 billion in damage and displaced tens of thousands of families and businesses. It hit the state October 8-9, 2016.

Governor Cooper said work got underway earlier this year to develop resiliency plans for each of the 50 counties that received a federal disaster declaration following Matthew. Those plans will develop strategies and actions to reduce future impacts from flooding events.

“Our local communities are leading by example in emergency preparedness and I urge families and businesses to do the same,” Gov. Cooper said. He wants families to use the week to discuss their emergency plans, review their homeowners and renters insurance policies, and update their emergency supplies.

An emergency supply kit should contain enough supplies not just to get through the storm, but for the potentially lengthy aftermath. Make sure to have enough non-perishable food and water to last each family member three to seven days. Other essential items include:

  • Copies of insurance papers and identification sealed in a watertight plastic bag
  • First-aid kit
  • Weather radio and batteries
  • Prescription medicines
  • Sleeping bag or blankets
  • Changes of clothes
  • Hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and deodorant
  • Cash
  • Pet supplies including food, water, leashes, bedding, muzzle and vaccination records.

“North Carolina is a proven leader in emergency response, but each storm is different, and impacts can vary,” said Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks. “It’s critical that people prepare themselves and their families now for emergencies. As so many families experienced last fall, during those first few days after disaster strikes you may be on your own until responders can reach you and essential services can be restored.”

The most dangerous threat from hurricanes and tropical storms is flooding and storm surge.

More information on hurricanes and overall emergency preparedness can be found on ReadyNC mobile app and online at www.ReadyNC.org.

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