Hurricane Preparedness Week is here!

Hurricane Matthew tracks west across the Caribbean (Image: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory)

Hurricane season officially begins on June 1st, but you don’t want to wait until hurricane season is underway to prepare. Even areas that are further inland, like the Tennessee Valley, can be impacted by tropical weather.

As an example, remember Hurricane Opal (1995): Opal made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane near Pensacola, before weakening into a tropical depression over Tennessee. The storm was still producing winds of 50 mph as it moved through the Tennessee Valley.

That’s why this week, May 7th-13th, the National Weather Service will hold Hurricane Preparedness Week. Each day will be focused on a different area as described below:

Sunday – The first step to preparing for hurricane season is determining your risk. Northern Alabama isn’t at as high of a risk as the Gulf’s coastal regions, but strong tropical cyclones can still bring severe weather in the form of flash flooding and damaging winds.

Monday – Monday’s topic of focus is creating an evacuation plan, if needed. The only Alabama counties in evacuation zones are Mobile and Baldwin.

Tuesday – Tuesday is the day to put together your safety kits. It’s recommended that you keep at least enough food and water for each person in the family to last 3 days. A more detailed list of items to consider keeping in your safety kit can be found here.

Wednesday – Take some time Wednesday to review your insurance policy. Often we realize too late that some weather related damages are not covered. In fact, standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. Remember to review your policies for your home and any vehicles or boats.

Thursday – Once you know how well your home is covered, make sure it’s up for the coming season. Take note of anything that could be affected by flooding, like items in your garage or basement. In anticipation of high winds you should keep trees well trimmed and secure things like patio furniture before storms.

Friday – Now that you’ve taken care of yourself and your family, make sure your neighbors are taken care of too! Help your neighbors prepare and plan to check on each other in the case of an emergency.

Saturday – Finally, make sure you write down your plan and any important details you might need in an emergency. Go over your plan with your family to make sure everyone understands what to do. Having a written plan can save you precious time in the event of severe weather, so you can act quickly and confidently.

For more information you can head to the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Preparedness webpage!