Preparing for Hurricane Season

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting a very active hurricane season. They have forecasted a 70% chance for 13 – 20 named storms during the 2013 season, of which 7 – 11 could strengthen to become hurricanes. They predict that 3 – 6 will become major hurricanes, with winds in excess of 111 mph or higher. An average hurricane season includes 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes, so the predicted numbers are extremely high in comparison.
Whatever tomorrow brings, there are several preparedness measures you should consider taking to survive and recover from a hurricane – especially if you live in a coastal area. Getting your home ready for hurricane season is one of those things you don’t want to put off. When a big storm is approaching, it may be too late to protect your property from high winds and flying debris.
A below-average season is forecast for the Atlantic basin this year. Meteorologists at Colorado State University expect just nine named storms, of which three could become hurricanes, with one of those being Category 3 or above with sustained winds in excess of 111 mph. But don’t let your guard down. There’s much you can do now so you won’t get caught making last-minute — and probably inadequate — preparations to get your home ready for hurricanes.

• Make a thorough check up of your shelters, hooks, and latches. Ensure that all fasteners for outside doors and windows are in order. Wherever possible, windows should be reinforced with shutters and doors with bars.
• Keep on hand a supply of lumber for barring up purposes.
• Make sure that roof covering is properly fixed to the rafters. Roof sheetings must be properly fixed to supports, preferably with long drivers screws. Spaces between the roof and the supports should be sealed off during hurricane periods.
• Wooden houses- should be securely fixed to supports with their footings well into the ground. Houses should be protected against wood ants.
• Try to ensure that there is a reserve of tinned milk or other tinned food as emergency rations in the home. Keep supplies of clean drinking water at hand, and that any open drinking water tanks are kept securely covered.
• Cut any overhanging tree or branches above houses.
• Unblock all drains, gullies, or ravines for free flow of main water.
• Keep emergency items ready at all times in one place which is easy to reach and known to the whole family.
• Keep a flashlight, hurricane lamp filled with kerosene, and matches in your house together with simple first aid equipment such as bandages, eye lotions, iodine, plasters, absorbent lint; as well as a portable radio with spare batteries.
• Take similar precautions with respect to valuables , i.e.; passbooks, securities, cash etc.
• Know how and where to turn off your electricity, gas and water.
• See that there are adequate water and storage facilities such as drums, barrels, and tanks if possible.
• Get extra food early in the season – so that you don’t have to rush at the last moment especially foods which can be eaten without cooking or require very little preparation.
• Be sure that emergency cooking facilities are in proper working order, procure a supply of kerosene and charcoal.
• Discuss disaster risks with your family and make advance arrangements to get in touch with all family members.
Get to know the location of your shelter before an emergency, and the best way to get there.