James Islanders: Get your rear in gear for 2017 hurricane season

I know: “Boring information about stupid boring hurricanes”. But, people, we get them. Folks who’ve been here awhile know the drill, but it’s not a bad thing to get a refresher. And if you’re new to the island, school yourself! Now!

Get ready! Hurricane season is here!

The Atlantic hurricane season on June 1st, and there is no better time to get ready than now. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encourages residents and businesses across the nation to prepare by understanding their risk, planning together for the entire family, and downloading the FEMA App.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center seasonal outlook for 2017, released last week, states that the Atlantic could see an above-normal hurricane season this year. The full seasonal forecast is linked at www.noaa.gov/media-release/above-normal-atlantic-hurricane-season-is-most-likely-year.

No, your car shouldn’t be on your roof

Both hurricanes and tropical systems have the potential to cause serious damage to coastal and inland areas.  Their hazards could come in many forms including storm surge, heavy rainfall, coastal and inland flooding, high winds, and tornadoes.

“The time to prepare for hurricanes and tropical storms is now, before a threat even exists,” said FEMA Acting Administrator Robert J. Fenton, Jr. “We want people who live in coastal and nearby inland areas to know where they can get reliable information; prepare their home and workplace ahead of time; know if they live in an evacuation zone and be familiar with evacuation routes. Knowing what to do and practicing your plan now can make the difference between life and death if a hurricane or tropical storm does strike.”

School yourself: Buying all the milk and bread in the store isn’t all you need to do

There is a lot of information available to help individuals and communities prepare:

Know Your Risk: Residents should learn what types of natural disasters are common in their stateNOAA’s historical hurricane tracks tool provides information on the severity and frequency of past hurricanes.

Learn Your Flood Risk: Flooding is the nation’s most frequent and costly natural disaster. Go to FloodSmart.gov and learn how to protect your home or business. Purchase a flood insurance policy if you do not already have one.

Make A Plan: Residents should speak with their family today about how they will communicate with each other during a significant weather event when they may not be together, or during an evacuation order.

Download the FEMA App: The FEMA App contains important information on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane. The App also allows users to receive weather alerts from NOAA’s National Weather Service, includes lifesaving safety tips, and provides access to disaster resources should survivors need them. The App is available in the Apple App store or the Google Play store, and is also available in Spanish.

Know your evacuation zone: Evacuation zones are areas that may be impacted by hurricane flooding. Many communities designate evacuation zones and routes to get citizens to safety. This information is typically found on the websites of state, county, or town emergency management offices. If a hurricane threatens a community and local officials say it’s time to evacuate, residents should evacuate immediately. Do not wait for the next forecast.

Science!

While much attention is often given to the Atlantic hurricane season, there are tropical systems that can affect many other areas around the nation. To learn more about hurricane seasons in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, visit www.hurricanes.gov. To learn more on how to prepare before, during, and after a hurricane, visit www.ready.gov.

Additional tips and resources:

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema.  Also, follow Acting Administrator Bob Fenton’s activities at www.twitter.com/bobatfema. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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