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June 1 marks the beginning of another hurricane season. And if you’ve lived in a “cone of uncertainty” before, you know it’s never too soon to start preparing.
In 2020, we set a record recording 30 named storms during the season. For 2021, Colorado State University researchers have predicted an above-average season in the Atlantic, estimating 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes.
Busier Hurricane Season
The 2021 predications are compared to the new 30-year average Atlantic hurricane season (1991 to 2020) of 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced that the average hurricane season is now busier than it used to be. The 1981 to 2010 average included 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
Hurricanes begin in the Atlantic as a low-pressure system that develops into a tropical storm when maximum sustained wind speeds reach 39-73 mph. Once wind speeds increase to 74 mph or higher, you have a hurricane. Major hurricanes occur when maximum sustained winds reach 111 mph or higher, leading to a Category 3, 4 or 5 storm.
Start Preparing Now
Before a hurricane, grocery stores will have a major rush of people gathering supplies. Depending on what you need and the store’s inventory, it may be difficult to find certain items. If possible, stock up on items now instead of waiting until a storm is detected.
If you’re at the point where a storm is approaching, you could call your grocery store before you shop, shop in the mornings, or order online to have supplies delivered, such as:
- Baby items (diapers, bottles, formula)
- Battery-powered radio
- Bottles or jugs of water (enough for drinking and bathing)
- Candles (and matches or lighters)
- Canned foods and shelf-stable snacks
- Disposable plates, cups, napkins and utensils
- First aid supplies
- Non-electric can opener
Make a Family Plan
It’s a good idea for every family to have a disaster plan, even if that disaster never strikes. First, think ahead about evacuation. Do you know where you'll go if you're ordered to leave? Plan ahead to determine a safe location.
As you make your family plan, look to your local government agencies for guidance on shelter and evacuation planning for hurricanes.
Keep a Contact List
Most of us rely on our phones to remember (or look up) important phone numbers, but in the event of a power or internet outage, it’s smart to keep a paper list of these contacts:
- County law enforcement
- County public safety and fire rescue
- Friends and family members
- Local American Red Cross
- Local emergency management office
- Local hospitals
- Local utilities
- Local television and radio stations
- State, county and city or town government
- Your property insurance
Don't Forget About Pets
In the rush to prepare, furry family members can sometimes get overlooked. Aside from keeping pets inside as much as possible during and after a storm, here some ways to prepare for their care:
- Gather immunization records in case you need to evacuate
- Make sure you have a two-week supply of food, supplies and medications
- Take a current photo of each pet (in case they become lost)
As always, the safety and comfort of our patients, visitors, and staff is our top priority. We have a comprehensive disaster plan in place to care for our communities in the event of a hurricane.
Be Health Smart
No matter what level of care you require, it’s vital to make arrangements ahead of time. Here are a few tips:
- Expectant mothers who are two weeks away or less from their delivery date or considered high-risk can make arrangements with their physician or hospital
- For special needs, call your physician in advance of a storm if you depend on an electronic medical device, oxygen or other equipment, or need in-home health care
- Prepare your prescriptions, and have a two-week supply on hand
- Refresh your first aid kit, and restock it with new supplies, such as aspirin or other pain relievers, antacids, bandages and gauze, a thermometer, scissors and antiseptics
Here When You Need Us
Remember, we're here to help keep you well before, during and after a storm. No matter what brings you in, no matter which of our providers, facilities, or medical services you need, we will be ready when you need us.