Officials stress storm readiness


Staff Writer

Monday, June 3, 2019

Federal, state and local emergency management officials are pushing preparedness as the 2019 hurricane season gets underway.

The storm season began Saturday and doesn't end until Nov. 30, said Brent Fisher, assistant director of fire, rescue and emergency management for Nash County Emergency Services.

"Everyone needs to be prepared because it only takes one to be a disaster," Fisher said.

Twin Counties residents need to develop an emergency plan, know evacuation routes and have a communications plan in case family members become separated.

Folks need to make sure they have a disaster supply kit capable of sustaining a family for at least three days. Have one gallon of water per person per day and non perishable food items, Fisher said.

Other items to have ready are a manual can opener, toiletries and towels, extra clothing, blankets and pillows, sleeping bags, medication, a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, a phone charger, extra keys, infant and pet supplies if applicable and cash.

"Don't drive through flooded roads or streets," Fisher said. "You may not know what the road condition is like below the water."

This year's season should see 13 to 16 named storms forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, according to Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at N.C. State University.

The number of storms is slightly higher than the long term average since 1950. It's in line with recent average of 14 a year since 1995.

Of this year's named storms, five to seven may grow strong enough to become hurricanes. The historical average is six. Two to three of the storms could possibly become major hurricanes.

Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Administration want folks to be prepared to protect family, home and businesses. Everyone is encouraged to:

■ Create an emergency communication plan with your family. This plan spells out how everyone will contact each other, where to go and how to get back together.

■ Build an emergency kit. Keep it ready at home, at work and in the car.

■ Check your insurance coverage. Damage caused by flooding is usually not covered by homeowners insurance policies. Buy flood insurance.

■ Know your community’s evacuation plan, evacuation routes and how to receive alerts.

■ Stay informed about current conditions. Listen to local officials and evacuation orders.

■ Download an emergency weather app on your phone. Have backup power for your phone. Purchase a weather radio.

■ Keep all important documents in a waterproof container to take with you if you evacuate.