As the eastern seaboard prepares for Hurricane Dorian, the fourth hurricane of the 2019 season, staying prepared and having a plan is critical to surviving a potential disaster.
During the 2019 Hurricane Awareness Tour, organizations shared insights on how to prepare and stay aware of tropical weather systems that affect different areas, including those more inland.
“Ninety percent of the fatalities of tropical systems historically are from the water,” said Ken Graham, National Hurricane Center director. “In the last three years, 83 percent of fatalities from tropical systems have been inland flooding, more than half in automobiles.”
Graham also emphasized that the lower category hurricanes require just as much consideration for preparation due to their ability to cause catastrophic damage.
“In the last decade, Category 1 storms have produced 3 billion worth of damage and 175 fatalities,” Graham said.
Hurricane Dorian as seen from the ISS on Aug. 29, 2019.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration offers tips to help prepare for hurricanes.
- Gather information. The NOAA emphasizes to “know if you live in an evacuation area. Assess your risks and know your home’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Understand National Weather Service forecast products and especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings.”
- Plan and take action. Put together a disaster supplies kit which has items including water, food, a flashlight and a first aid kit. To see the full suggested contents of the kit, visit https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit. Planning and taking action includes having an emergency plan, guarding the community’s health, protecting the environment, following instructions from local officials for evacuation and be alert for other potential weather hazards including tornadoes brought in by the hurricane.
- Recover. This highlights the need to wait for the area to be declared safe before returning home, and to remember that recovery takes time.
- Resources. Know the resources offered for preparation before a hurricane occurs as well as the resources available for recovery including the NOAA, Ready.gov, and the National Weather Service.