As we approach the peak of hurricane season, which began on June 1, NOAA has changed its earlier predictions. While they still expect this year to be above normal, it is expected that La Nina will be responsible for slightly reducing the number that was expected in the original forecast.
This year’s Atlantic season is expected to spawn 13 to 19 tropical storms, with 6 to 9 actually developing into hurricanes. This sounds similar to last year when there were 19 tropical storms and 10 hurricanes.
This year’s strongest storm is Hurricane Henriette in the Pacific, a Category 1 at the time of this writing. It is expected to strengthen as it approaches Hawaii. So far the Pacific has seen 8 tropical storms with 4 developing into hurricanes. The Atlantic has seen 4 tropical storms and no hurricanes – yet.
Are you prepared for hurricane season this year? Be sure to pay attention to the forecast and evacuate if directed to do so. Also, make sure you have the right supplies with a home survival kit that fits the size of your family and a hurricane kit to have the right tools to protect your home and family.
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This is a funny time of year. From one day to the next, you aren’t sure if you will get rain, sunny skies, snow or tornadoes. Or all of the above.
Keeping up with the weather forecast can be exhausting in the early spring when it seems like a new season every few hours. The best way to go is to prepare for anything and everything.
Instead of preparing for a specific weather event, consider being prepared for severe weather in general. Create a basic survival kit and then add items for more specific weather events. You may find that most of the things you need will be useful no matter what kind of weather disaster you encounter.
For example, having water and food bars for your family is important no matter what happens. Have a supply in your home, in each vehicle and in your boat, as well as packed in with your camping gear.
Emergency lights, shelter and an emergency radio will serve you well in nearly any situation.
Some people shy away from the hurricane kit because they don’t live in an area prone to hurricanes. However, the supplies in that kit are useful in severe winter weather as well as in the case of a tornado. Personally, I feel everyone should own a hurricane kit as well as a survival kit.
When you browse the kits available, don’t just look at the name of the kit. Look at what that kit contains and how it can be put to use in a variety of situations.
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Imagine you have just experienced a hurricane. The power is out. Gas lines are broken. The water supply is shut down. You have enough water to last a couple of days, but it will take far longer for the grid to be functional again.
The area is flooded and that flood water is a soup of filth, contaminated with oil, sewage, various chemicals and industrial waste, insect larvae and decaying matter.
A person in good condition can survive about a week without water. A person injured in a natural disaster may not have quite as long. Add in excessive heat, and your odds decrease even more.
What do you do when you are surrounded by water that you cannot drink? You purify it
First, filter out the large debris by pouring water through a cloth. Then purify it with water purification tablets.
Water purification tablets work by releasing diatomic iodine and HIO into contaminated water and disinfecting it. About 30 minutes after dissolving two tablets into a quart of water, it is safe to drink.
Water purification tablets are affordable and portable. They are a must have item for every disaster and emergency kit. Stored in a cool, dry location, tablets are good for as long as four years. Once opened, the bottle should be used within a year.
If you aren’t sure about the safety or effectiveness of water purification tablets, consider this: they were developed by the U.S. Military during WWII and they are still in use today. If the military feels confident enough to use them, you should feel safe about using them, too.
It is a good idea to filter contaminated water first, before using the tablets. They are effective against bacteria, viruses, and many cysts such as giardia lamblia, but not effective against cryptosporidium cysts. Cryptosporidium can be removed through other filtration tools.
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Checking out the top stories on television, radio and the internet, we see many natural disasters occurring in many parts of the country. Fires are burning in Colorado and South Dakota. A record heat wave is sweeping the eastern seaboard from North Carolina to New Jersey. Throw in a few earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and tsunamis and we have very good reasons to prepare ourselves for the worst.
Kiplinger.com recently published a list if the 10 States most at risk of disaster. In it, they ranked the states that had suffered the biggest property losses from disasters over the past decade (2002-2011). Topping the list were Louisiana ($32.2 billion), Florida ($31.4 billion) and Texas ($24.9 billion). Mississippi was in 4th place with $15 billion in estimated insured property damage. Rounding out the top 10 were Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ohio and Illinois, all with between $5-8 billion dollars. It should come as no surprise that most of these states are located in Tornado Alley and that most of the damage was caused by tornadoes or hurricanes.
Hurricane season usually runs from the beginning of June to the end of November. At the beginning of this season, NOAA issued the following statement. “Conditions in the atmosphere and the ocean favor a near-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin this season, NOAA announced today from Miami at its Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and home to the Hurricane Research Division.” But, don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. “NOAA’s outlook predicts a less active season compared to recent years,” said NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D. “But regardless of the outlook, it’s vital for anyone living or vacationing in hurricane-prone locations to be prepared. We have a stark reminder this year with the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew.” Hurricane Andrew was a Category 5 hurricane that devastated South Florida on August 24, 1992 and was the first storm in a late-starting season that produced only six named storms.
Preparedness is the key to survival, so do everything you can to prepare for any type of emergency before it happens. Make sure your emergency survival kit is complete and up to date. Augment your emergency supplies with a hurricane kit and and follow the steps in your hurricane preparedness guide and you will have prepared for the worst.
Recently NOAA held their annual Hurricane Preparedness week to urge resident to get ready now. At the convention which took place May 27th through June 2nd, the National Weather Service and preparedness experts called upon Americans who live in areas vulnerable to severe weather and hurricanes to Be a Force of Nature. Each state in FEMA Region 6 (Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas) have been directly or indirectly affected by the devastation of extreme weather and hurricanes. The overall goal is to help people identify their vulnerabilities in order to reduce the damaging effects of a hurricane or other natural disaster by taking the necessary actions to prepare.Studies have recently shown that many people now rely on the use of social media to let relatives and friends know they are safe after a disaster. NOAA hopes to take advantage of this trend by getting people to encourage eachother to take preparedness steps. They hope that if they see the preparations taken by others, that others will also take similar preparedness actions. In summary, NOAA asks that you:
Know your risk - Understand how hurricanes, tropical storms, and other extreme weather can affect where you live, work, commute, etc. Then consider how such weather could pose a risk for you and your family. By understanding your risk, you are more apt to know how to prepare. During hurricane season, it is extra critical to regularly check weather forecasts and alerts from emergency management agencies. Having a NOAA Weather Radio is a critical recommendation. But be sure that it operates via alternate power options such as hand-crank and solar panel. Batteries expire and only last so long and electricity may be unavailable for weeks following a large storm.
Take action - Pledge to develop an emergency hurricane plan based on your own individual risk level and needs as per step #1. Practice where and how you and your family will evacuate if necessary. Perform some research on how you can improve your defense against hurricanes. Download FEMAs mobile emergency app to access important safety tips about what to do before, during, and after a hurricane. Be sure you know the different types of National Hurricane Center warning and alerts.
Be an Example - Post your plan where others can see it whether it be in your home or online. Share your story and pledge with your family and friends. You can even create a YouTube video and post it to our Facebook page.