FEMA is calling on individuals and families across the nation to prepare for the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane season, which runs through November 30.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center seasonal outlook for 2016, released last week, states the season will most likely be near-normal, but uncertainty about the formation of Atlantic storms makes predicting this season particularly difficult. The full release is linked at www.noaa.gov/near-normal-atlantic-hurricane-season-most-likely-year.
The effects of hurricanes can stretch far beyond just coastal areas, impacting communities hundreds of miles inland. When a hurricane hits, it can bring high winds, heavy rainfall, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, and even tornadoes. Storm surge produced by hurricanes poses the greatest threat to life and property along the coast. Taking action now, in advance of a storm, can save lives and enables families and communities to recover more quickly should disaster strike.
“The United States has not had a significant impact from a hurricane or tropical storm since Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “But luck isn’t a strategy when it comes to being ready. If you live in a potentially affected state, you are at risk for storm surge, extreme winds and flooding during a hurricane. Now is the time for you to learn your evacuation routes and develop a hurricane evacuation plan. Prepare now and enjoy the summer with confidence that if a storm threatens you’ll be ready.”
To prepare for these powerful storms, FEMA is encouraging families, businesses, and individuals to take the following steps to prepare:
- Know Your Risk: Residents should learn what types of natural disasters are common in their state. NOAA’s historical hurricane tracks tool provides information on the severity and frequency of past hurricanes.
- Know your evacuation zone: Evacuation zones are areas that may be impacted by hurricane flooding. Many communities have designated evacuation zones and routes to get citizens to safety. This information can often be 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.
- 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, 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. The FEMA app is also available in Spanish.
- Make a plan, build a kit and practice what to do: When a hurricane hits, communications systems can go out, transportation can be limited, and it could be days before emergency responders are able to reach communities that need help. FEMA encourages residents in potentially affected states to do the following:
- Make a Family Communication Plan: Family members should discuss how they contact one another in an emergency and check in with each other from different locations. Families should plan how to care for children or members with access and functional needs, and learn how to get in touch if cell phone, internet, or landlines don’t work. Be sure to practice your plan so everyone will know what to do in the event of an emergency.
- Emergency Supply Kit: A ‘go kit’ is a bag that contains basic items families may need, during an emergency. Kits should contain non-perishable food, water, and other supplies, such as flashlights, local maps, and a battery-powered radio, to last you and your family for at least 72 hours. Ready.gov contains a complete list of items.
- Pets: Many local shelters do not permit pets, but laws require them to accept service animals. Families should have a plan for pets should they need to evacuate.