As if there’s not enough to worry about for folks on the Gulf of Mexico coastlines and off-shore drilling rigs, hurricane season began June 1st. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and many other reputable weather forecasters are predicting the worst hurricane season since Katrina hit in 2005. They are predicting there will be between fourteen to twenty-three named storms, with eight to fourteen developing into hurricanes. There were fifteen in 2005. Katrina was the costliest natural disaster taking 1,500 peoples’ lives, and an $80 billion worth of damage.
Persons living in Eastern states to the Gulf of Mexico to North England will be watching all summer. The water in the eastern Atlantic is warmer than usual, and warm surface temperatures bring more, and more powerful hurricanes. If a hurricane forms before the spill in the Gulf of Mexico is stopped, it could add to an already devastating event.
People who live in hurricane vulnerable states have become complacent following milder seasons of the past few years, and are not prepared for a future occurrence. Ron Sachs is executive director of National Hurricane Survival Initiative, a public education and safety outreach partnership with government organizations, relief agencies, as well as National Hurricane Center, FEMA, Salvation Army, State of North Carolina, National Emergency Management, and businesses such as Travelers, Plylox, and AT&T. The NHSI launched an interactive website “The National Hurricane Survival Test”, which airs on more than 50 television and cable network affiliates.
Mr. Sachs feels that people wait until the last minute to leave their homes, even with advanced warnings. It is advised to either get ready now or wait until disaster strikes, when it will be too late. Failure to take the many options in being prepared can cost your home, livelihood, and possibly, your family. It would be wise to follow these instructions:
- Plan ahead;
- Secure your home;
- Have a plan that includes your family, elderly, and pets;
- Be sure your insurance papers are in order;
- You need to have a 3-day supply of food and water for each individual;
- Have a first aid kit and flashlight;
- Be sure you have all medicines;
- Notify next of kin or friends that you may be needing to stay with them until the all-clear;
- In the event of a hurricane hitting your town, do not go back until the authorities give permission. Many times, downed power lines or other hazards cause injuries.
Hopefully, the forecasters will miss their mark and there won’t be as many hurricanes as anticipated. Until then, be ready to batten down the hatches. This saying has a nautical origin – battening down was done on ships getting ready for bad weather. A batten is a strip of wood. (Just a little trivia for today.)