The season started. The U.S. proposal to start each year’s Atlantic hurricane season to begin on May 15th every year is still on hiatus this year, although reports have been started since May 15th. No reason is cited, but officials at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO) would have to reach a decision to move the formal start date to either May 15th or May 1st. I will keep you informed of any of such changes as they happen. Meantime, be ready. I am sharing some helpful tips and pointers to be prepared before the storm! I continue the year with featured and clear and concise posts as the series of “Summer & Fall Weather Series” continues throughout the summer and fall months.
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BE READY FOR TROPICAL ACTIVITY NOW
Does the Forecast Include a Tropical Area or Hurricane Moving Into Your Area?
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Weather Service observe movement of storms worldwide, and report tropical movement into your area to predict catastrophe before danger presents itself–danger that can lead to flooding, high winds, property damage, injuries and deaths. Being prepared is not only possible, but paying proper attention can be the difference between life and death:
Tips: Preparedness Before, During & After Tropical Weather:
Here are tips before the storm, a lot of these should generally be maintained before a hurricane watch is issued, months before a prediction is made:
PREPARATION BEFORE A HURRICANE:
- Strap down the roof. Using hurricane straps/clips to fastening your home’s roof to the frame of the house, thus reducing any roof damage.
- Put head plus foot bolts on all entry doors.
- Buy or make window covers and storm shutters. Board up any remaining windows. Make sure all glass is covered no matter how small to reduce debris.
- Take any antennae and satellite equipment down.
- Caulk around the doors and windows.
- Secure and protect all attached structures. Make sure all patio furniture, grills are put away or get it into your house. Turn off propane and try to cover them if possible.
- Test the sump pumps and drains, and make sure the back-flow flap valves are operating to assure that water does not back up from the drain pipe.
- Turn off ALL utilities at the shut-off valves, and trip the electric main. Pull out all the unnecessary plugs at every receptacle in case of lightning strikes after possible submersion. Do not unplug the refrigerator and/or freezers. Make sure that you have battery operated security as it is not safe to leave AC on during a storm.
- Take before photos to have handy for your information and insurance purposes. They may be necessary to assist your later damages from the storm.
The instance that you hear, several days before onslaught, put off Xbox and all hobbies and get adequate sleep, because once you are going to make a decision and prepare if the hurricane looks like it is going to hit, you are going to need this sleep very badly. DO NOT think for a minute that you can stay and ride out the storm!! Reporters dispatched out into the storm are trained individuals who undergo years of training and underlying experiences, so don’t even think that going out on a whim to stay and see the hurricane is a viable option. When the authorities state that it is unsafe to stay, get ready right away! Do NOT wait until it is too late. Procrastination is your worst enemy, as a bad rush hour is a baby compared to trying to get out late in a hurricane. This is why a lot of times all lanes of highways go the same way–OUT!
- When authorities say to evacuate, DO NOT argue, and do so immediately.
- Make sure you bring proper ID, you will need it to get back when the storm has passed.
- Leave and mobile homes and to go to a nearby shelter.
- If your home is not on high ground or in a flood plain, go to a shelter.
Make sure you do not forget anything at home, because you will not be able to return to home one you leave! The authorities WILL NOT allow you to go back once you make your move for any reason, as they do not have time to deal with security issues and are trained to make sure everyone is getting out. If you wait too long and cannot evacuate, if you have an emergency, a lot of times there may be no assistance for you in an emergency.
DURING A HURRICANE:
- Always stay indoors during a hurricane, and do not venture outside because strong winds will blow things around. The force of a flying object can be deadly or devastating.
- Make sure you know low-lying and flood prone areas, and STAY AWAY. Once water covers, you will not know how low they really are. Do not walk on the flooded areas, as manhole covers wash away, and the chance of falling into a crevice is very dangerous.
- Stay informed by monitoring the storm by radio, and if power is still an option, plug in the TV, and/or internet. A battery operated NOAA.com weather radio is most helpful.
- Avoid the phone, except for a serious emergency.
Stay alert for extended rainfall and all subsequent flooding after the hurricane has passed and tropical storm has moved out of the area. If you evacuated, return only when the officials approve say it is safe. Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out areas. Have ID ready as checkpoints only allow officials, media, cleared parties and people with proper credentials to pass for safety and security.
However, what you can’t see can be very dangerous. Floodwaters often become contaminated with sewage or chemicals, and these elements are left behind in your decimated possessions, buildings and vehicles. Gas leaks and live power lines can be left on and are deadly if not discovered, and are not obvious at first glance, so be very careful!
- Stay Informed: Stay tuned to your local news for updated information on road conditions.
- Water Safety: Ensure water is safe to drink, cook and/or clean with after the flood. Pay attention to the authorities for boil orders, so the water is safe to use after a flood. Pay particular attention to the utility companies about restoration and note that the companies often have apps to update you about getting service back. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after a storm that deals with power outages due to the improper use and or placement of a portable generator. Never use a portable generator inside your home, garage or other closed space. For safety information on use of generators, you can review the following: Carbon Monoxide Dangers.
- Avoid Flood Waters: Standing water likely hide many dangers including toxins, bacteria and chemicals. Also there may be hidden sharp objects under the water. There may also be collapsed roadway, ground, missing manhole covers, and you never can tell how deep the water is once it is covered by water. If it’s likely your home will flood, don’t wait for an evacuation order, just get out! Talk to your neighbors, friends and family about emergency visits. If you have pets, make accommodations and take them with you or somehow get them to safety.
- Avoid Disaster Areas: If you are not trained or a professional, please do not visit disaster areas. Your presence may delay a rescue and other emergency operations that is underway because of concern that you may be injured. It is always the right thing to make sure that this does not happen, because in any emergency situation, time is of essence
- Obey Road Closed and Caution Signs: Road closure and other cautionary signs are not designed to be decorative, and are put in place with safety in mind. Paying attention to them often can mean the difference between life and injury!
- Wait for the “All Clear”: Do not go back to enter your property or searching for items including vehicles until you’re given the “All Clear” by the authorities. If you enter flood damaged buildings and grounds, be extremely careful. Buildings and grounds can be unstable, so water can cause the floods to a further collapse, a ceiling to fall, or other unseen problems. Make sure that the electrical system has been disconnected before entry. Have the power company or a qualified electrician fix any wiring. Contact your insurance agent to evaluate property damage. If you have a generator, follow proper safety procedures: The FEMA Portable Generators and Winter Storms article has relevant information that can be used during the cleanup process after hurricanes (The tips and pointers are still valid for summer storms).
AFTER A HURRICANE:
- Contact Your Family and Loved Ones: Let your family and close friends know that you’re okay. Login to Facebook and share your “marked safe” status on either the app or online. Give permission for them to spread the word so you are able to focus on cleaning up the disaster.
- Call your insurance agent: Make an appointment through your insurance agency to have an adjuster dispatched to access the damages. Make sure that you photograph anything you do in an emergency repair situation, so that reimbursement can be accessed after the fact. Anything you do must be documented properly, in order for the adjuster to apply a reimbursement for damages. The agent will be able to give a timetable for getting you back on track and for assisting you in being able to have resources for hiring professionals to repair your property, vehicles or other elements–and get your life back on track again.
You will need to do a full assessment of yourself, your family, your property for missing persons, safety factors, ,damages and your first attempts at getting back to normal living. Here are some pointers to assist in the process
- Access any and all damages carefully and pay attention to safety, including embedded glass and shrapnel.
- Have a first aid kit handy.
- Call insurance and only follow the following tips after proper accessing has been done, and don’t forget to take photos first before you fix damages. keep all receipts for supplies, fixing–for insurance or to claim a loss.
- Access the possibility and turn on utilities ONLY if possible, plug in at every receptacle in case of lightning strikes after possible submersion. Make sure that you have battery operated security as it is not safe to leave AC on during a storm.
- Access stability and remove the straps on the roof. Remove hurricane straps/clips to fastening your home’s roof to the frame of the house, thus reducing any roof damage.
- Remove any head/foot bolts on entry doors.
- Remove or higher window covers and storm shutters. Carefully take all board-up and covering down/off.
- Re-install antennae and satellite equipment.
- Take down the strapping from secured attached structures. Re-position all patio furniture, grills, etc. Turn on propane and hook up utilities if possible.
- Check the sump pumps and drains, and make sure they are operating properly to assure that they are ready for subsequent storms.
- It may take several weeks to dispose of refuse, make sure if any waste is hazardous to dispose of properly.
- Fix decor and furnishings.
RESOURCES & RECOVERY AFTER DISASTER: THE HOME & FAMILY + FINANCIAL TOOLKIT:
There are many disaster and emergency preparedness and assistance resources available for you to help you through the hard times rebuilding:
- American Red Cross: redcross.org
- American Red Cross – Contact and Locate Loved Ones: redcross.org/get-help/disaster-relief/contact-and-locate-loved-ones
- American Red Cross – Find an Open Shelter: redcross.org/get-help/disaster-relief-and-recovery/find-an-open-shelter
- American Red Cross – Safe and Well: 1-800-RedCross (1-800-733-2767)
- Apps – American Red Cross: redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps. Separate apps cover the subjects of: blood, earthquake, emergency, first aid, flooding, hero care, hurricanes, pet first aid, tornadoes, and wildfires.
- Pet owner disaster preparation and assistance (ASPCA): aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/aspca-mobile-app. This can assist with personalized missing pet recovery kits, creating digital lost pet flyers that can be shared instantly on the user’s social networks, advice on what to do with your pet before, during and after a storm or natural disaster, and the ability store a pet’s vital medical records and dietary needs, which can shave off precious time in the event of an emergency. This information can be easily stored and shared for your convenience as well.
- DisasterAssistance.gov: disasterassistance.gov provides information on how you might be able to get help from the U.S. Government before, during and after a disaster. If the President makes help available to individuals in your community after a disaster, you can visit this site to apply online.
- Disaster Distress Helpline: disasterdistress.samhsa.gov SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters and is dedicated to providing year-round immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories.
- Call: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): fema.gov FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
- Military OneSource: militaryonesource.mil Offers various articles and resources for emergency preparedness and natural disasters.
- Money Management in Times of Disaster: personal-finance.extension.org/money-management-in-times-of-disaster with information about Money Management during times of disaster:
- Money management in times of disaster: Preparation
- Returning to your damaged home
- Managing finances and making decisions after a disaster
- Ready.gov: ready.gov Ready is a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters. The goal of the campaign is to get the public involved and ultimately to increase the level of basic preparedness across the nation. Ready and its Spanish language version Listo ask individuals to do three key things: (1) build an emergency supply kit, (2) make a family emergency plan and (3) be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses.
- Sesame Street (Emergency Toolkits): sesamestreet.org/toolkits/emergencies has simple and easy resources to help you help children and others recover from an emergency.
- The National Terror Alert Response Center: Nationalterroralert.com is a private homeland security blog and not affiliated with any government agency. We archive and comment on homeland security related news items from a variety of news sources and tips, as well as provide immediate updates on breaking stories, bulletins and any change in status to Homeland Security advisory. Nationalterroralert.com has become America’s leading source for homeland security news and information. A collaborative resource of news and analysis related to homeland security events, threats and trends. The National Terror Alert Response Network promotes homeland security emergency preparedness through awareness, education, community involvement and partnerships between individuals, groups and organizations. We strive to chronicle homeland security related news, trends and events in an effort to create national awareness and focus. It is our belief that through education and awareness some instances of terrorism may be prevented and through preparedness lives can be saved.
- TriCare: tricare.mil/disasterinfo In the event of a natural disaster, TriCare US Family Health Plan will post disaster-related information on their homepage. It’s important to know that your TriCare benefits will be maintained during any time of crisis. In the event of evacuation, please take the necessary precautions. In the case of an emergency, dial 911 or go directly to the nearest emergency room. Click on an icon below (on the TriCare website) to read alerts and emergency information in your area.
- TriCare emergency prescription refills: At times during emergencies, TriCare may authorize early refills for prescriptions. You will be notified via this site if early refills re authorized. TriCare officials remind beneficiaries that early refills are only authorized for beneficiaries who specifically indicate they are impacted by the emergency event.
- There is more information available on the subject at: CDC: Hurricanes and Other Tropical Storms.
Tropical Myths and Facts:
- Myth: You are able to sit out the storm.
Fact: It is not possible to guarantee the outcome of any approaching storm for which warnings have been issued. Staying behind can lead to all sorts of dangers, which can include injury and death. By staying behind, you are subject to the perils of Mother Nature, and play the offs of survival. Be smart, listen to evacuation orders.
- Myth: I can wait until the last minute and then decide to leave.
Fact: It is very dangerous to think that you can play the odds to predicting that an evacuation is possible once the storm has already started. Procrastinating in this case can be devastating. Also, waiting last moment can lead to experiencing higher volumes of people trying to escape in unison. There is a moment where the point of no return develops, and once that moment has passed, it will not safe to be even outside, and therefore evacuation will no longer be possible. Once no evacuation is possible, you are at the mercy of the elements. Be smart–leave early.
- Myth: The current weather looks okay, so I am safe.
Fact: Tropical weather approach sometimes can look mythical safe. Once the storm is there, all havoc breaks out. The storm can send some really impressive waves, at a first sign or storm surge. It is never safe due to the fact that you cannot see the storm. Be smart–don’t count on what the weather shows when the forecast calls for an approaching storm.
- Myth: Those impressive waves look great to surf!
Fact: Waves caused by storm surge are not evenly organized and erratic. The water can lead to undertows and riptides. The raging waves only increase in size as the storm approaches, so if an incidental injury happens on water, the water will not recede, so added injury, threat of drowning and other death are imminent. Be smart–don’t be tempted to be lured into a last minute surf with an approaching storm.
- Myth: We already been through a hurricane, we are safe.
Fact: Every storm has different circumstances and varying intensities. Relying on chance because you have already made it though a previous hurricane can be a deadly mistake. The wrath of a storm will not just “stay away”. Be smart, leave the property to the wrath of the storm instead of your life.
- Myth: I live in the big city in a skyscraper, so I am completely safe, because I am high above the water danger.
Fact: Instinct to think “I am several stories above ground – So I am completely safe” is definitely a myth! Many of the critical systems that are part of high-rise buildings, including boilers, elevators, generators and water pumps, are located underground, so the risk to those systems are at risk alone from flooding waters–not to mention the high winds being risk to debris flying and glass shattering. When the order to evacuate is ordered, get out! For your safety, cancel plans for a hurricane party, because the danger and devastation that could be endured could be the choice between life and injury or death.
- Myth: Boarding up means I am safe.
Fact: Boarding up only protects the windows of the dwelling from further damage and from the flying away of freely floating debris. It is done to minimize damage, not as completely full protection from the storm. Boarding up certainly has no protection from flooding. Be smart, don’t depend on a board-up for your safety and protection.
- Myth: The rain stopped and/or the Sun is out, so I am completely safe from the storm
Fact: Fact is if you are caught in the storm, ,and the storm seems to have stopped and the Sun even peeks, you more than likely have made it to the eye of the storm. It does not at all simply safety! In fact the eyewall on the second tier of the storm once the eye passes can be more devastating than the approach. Be smart–continue to adhere to all safety precautions.
- Myth: There isn’t much water yet. I have made it to safety.
Fact: Every storm has layers of rain, wind and both. It’s not safe to say that because the water hasn’t arrived yet, you are out of the woods and on the road of complete safety. Keeping an eye on the storm by monitoring the storm by a battery operated NOAA.com weather radio can be most helpful.
- Myth: Since there isn’t much wind, the storm isn’t that dangerous.
Fact: Wind and rain comes in lines or bands, so just because any given moment isn’t that windy, is not to say that winds might not pick up later. Also, looming flooding and storm surge doesn’t need any wind to be dangerous. Water moves due to gravity as well as wind, and speed of oncoming water can move at very dangerous and devastating speeds. Just the flooding water can show up, moving cars, semis, whole buildings, it can uproot whole very large trees, and more! Just one cubic yard (that is 3 feet x 3 feet x 3 feet) weighs 1,685.6 pounds, between 3/4 of a ton and a ton! Water can move, especially from storm surge without the help of wind! Moving water can wipe out any object imaginable.
- Myth: Our building is “hurricane-proof”, the contractor told me I am safe!
Fact: Engineering for buildings has come a long way at protecting the buildings, but hurricane-proof homes are designed to protect inhabitants from the wind only, but nothing can counteract the power of water. So, be smart, don’t think that your personally are safe, therefore becoming a casualty with nothing but a building left and no person to go in it!
- Myth: It is the winter months, so it is completely safe from tropical activity.
Fact: The season is a time period of which the development of a hurricane is most prominent. It does not mean it is the only months they happen. The fact is there is not any particular month that has not seen tropical activity in the course of the calendar. Winter storms, while rare even though they aren’t usually as intense, still create havoc when it comes to property loss and injury plus deaths. If a warning or evacuation order is issues, be smart, get out!
- Myth: I am incland and the storm stopped, so I am safe from the storm.
- Fact: Flash flooding can happen days later, upstream and far away from where the storm originated. Risk is accessed, so pay attention to local forecasts and what the authorities say. Be ready by sandbagging or whatever is suggested. When it comes to inland stoar sections, water always seeks level until it meets sea-level.
- Myth: Climate change is affecting hurricanes.
- Fact: The fact is as per the general synopsis of the article at: Changes in Hurricanes there isn’t enough proof from the 2014 report as to the reasons why hurricane activity has increased since the 1980’s. As you can see the shift to the North Atlantic from the Eastern North Pacific zones is the trend. By the 4th report in 2018, there is a lot of suggestions there of how to address the problems, yet the “Green Deal” does not address this synopsis properly, especially with the infrastructure. instead a political community is refusing to address the issues correctly to reach the goals. Despite the facts, hurricanes whether there are more or not still, while they present themselves, are just as dangerous, per storm, with or without climate change.
- Myth: The wind speed is the most dangerous part of the hurricane.
- Fact: The fact is that the flooding water is the most dangerous part of any storm including a hurricane. Water covers the ground and with that it is impossible to tell how deep, whether a manhole cover is floating away, dangerous shrapnel and debris floating under the top of the water, and possible leaching chemicals, gas and electric wires, etc.–making raging flooding waters the most dangerous part of the hurricane.
The good news of a hurricane, is that they are the most predictable storm on the planet. Except in the late hurricane season of late October and November hurricanes usually move at predictable speeds, and are seen days ahead of time. The problem is that in true reality, if you know that you are in a hurricane zone, you really should play it smart and be prepared with plenty of supplies that are put away in a close storage area, so that the only thing you need to do to prepare for an oncoming hurricane is boarding up and getting out.
A hurricane is a nasty fact of life, but truly is necessary for the world to exist as it does. Hurricanes are mother nature’s control and thermostat to ensure that the oceans do not overheat. The hurricane sheds heat off the ocean surface and casts the heat into outer space really fast. They are true heat vacuums. The cores of heat shed from hurricanes make the ceilings of heat from 5 times to sometimes fifty times higher in altitude. It is the only time heat ever goes this high up. The price? The waters of the tropical oceans pay a high price in lost ocean wildlife and damage to underwater vegetation including the coral reef if the oceans are too warm. Hurricanes also pull the continental weather down further south in this hemisphere to ensure that the polar weather doesn’t get so intense in the tundra areas, so that vegetation can exist. Hurricanes absolutely need to exist if we want to live on earth. They are not going away, and we need to be prepared, and be safe.
Versatileer Weather Page:
Hurricane Preparedness Kit, courtesy of the Ward Law Group:
FIND YOUR LOCAL NOAA.com WEATHER RADIO STATION:
FIND YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST: