VITEMA has shared several recent posts to regarding hurricane preparedness information and tips on its website and Facebook page in light of the steady approach of Hurricane Beryl to the Lesser Antilles.
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.
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 and areas over 100 miles inland, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hawaii, parts of the Southwest, the Pacific Coast, and the U.S. territories in the Pacific.
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.
Basic Preparedness Tips
Know where to go: If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
Put together a Disaster Supply Kit: Your disaster supply kit should include a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate. Take pictures of your important documentation and email them to your secured email to ensure you are able to access them, keep copies and files on a flashdrive that you can carry with you on your house or car keys.
If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate, and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
Pet Emergency Kits: In an emergency, your pets will be even more dependent on you for their safety and well-being. Your family’s disaster plans must include your furry family members too. See link below to learn what to do to keep your beloved pets safe.
Communicate: Talk with your family about what to do if a hurricane strikes. Include emergency plans for elderly and disabled family members. Discussing hurricanes ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for younger children. Make an Emergency Communication Plan (see link below) and ensure all household members are aware of the plan.
Register for emergency alerts and notifications: You can get emergency alerts delivered to you via phone call, text message, email or fax. Sign up today at – https://member.everbridge.net/index/892807736729008#/login
Preparing Your Home
Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, so before hurricane season trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture. NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet. Always ensure generators are operated in a properly ventilated area and NEVER indoors.
Understanding the difference between National Weather Service watches and warnings is critical to being prepared for any dangerous weather hazard, including hurricanes.
· A watch lets you know that weather conditions are favorable for a hazard to occur. It literally means “be on guard!” Watches are issued 48hrs in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-forced winds. During a weather watch, gather awareness of the specific threat and prepare for action – monitor the weather to find out if severe weather conditions have deteriorated and discuss your protective action plans with your family.
· A warning requires immediate action. This means a weather hazard is imminent – it is either occurring (a tornado has been spotted, for example) – or it is about to occur at any moment. Warnings are issued 36hrs in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-forced winds. During a weather warning, it is important to take action: grab the emergency kit you have prepared in advance and head to safety immediately. Both watches and warnings are important, but warnings are more urgent.
Additional Hurricane Preparedness and Response Information