Copy Editor/Staff Writer
We are currently in the main stretch of hurricane season, which extends from June 1 to Nov. 30 for the Southeastern US. September has been designated by the Federal Emergency Management Administration as National Preparedness Month.
National Preparedness Month stems from the events of 9/11 and the fact that September is the hot month for hurricane season. Typically more hurricanes occur in September than any other month. This year’s theme is, “be prepared, not scared.”
With Hurricane Dorian closing in, there is important information about hurricanes and preparing for this storm season to keep in mind.
What is a Hurricane? Hurricanes, or tropical cyclones, are rotating low-pressure weather systems that have organized thunderstorms and no frontal boundaries. It’s a vortex of intense storms that move at random and only according to other systems around it.
Storms with winds at or above 39 miles per hour are considered to be tropical storms, while hurricanes are at or over 74 mph.
The intensity of a hurricane is determined by the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The scale starts at 1 and goes up to 5. The higher the number a hurricane is, the greater the potential for impacts on life, property, and the environment.
When wind speeds reach 39 mph, a cyclone is named. This is to help in referencing them as to their geography, warnings and legal issues that would be associated with a hurricane. When you have more than one hurricane in a season, it would be confusing to differ the damage reports from one hurricane to another.
These names are generated yearly by the World Meteorological Association. If a named storm was particularly damaging or catastrophic, the name is retired. New names are voted on and brought into use as more names are cycled through.
Now, what to do in the event of a hurricane? Plan evacuation routes. Greensboro is more inland than some of our coastal neighbors, but many people are from or have family living on the coast. Make sure to check in with them and keep communication open if weather strikes.
It’s also important to watch the forecast. Weather can be straightforward, but can sometimes change on a dime, especially hurricanes. Make sure to get your information from more than one source. Sometimes local, regional and national weather forecasting agencies differ on the information. It’s important to be in the loop.
In case the hurricane gets worse and you’re forced inside, one should obtain non-perishable emergency supplies beforehand. This includes extra batteries, candles, matches, tools for emergency home repairs, a three-day supply of drinking water, food that you don’t have to refrigerate or cook, first aid supplies, weather radio and flashlights with batteries.
Food, water and a flashlight are the bare minimum that one needs to ride out a storm. Having them can mean the difference between life and death in a disaster.
Being prepared for a disaster is the safest way to ride out a potentially dangerous storm. Being ready for a tropical storm means you would also be ready for almost any other national emergency that could happen.
Six to twelve inches of floodwater can cause a small car to lose control and float. The saying goes “turn around and don’t drown.” During the heaviest parts of a severe weather event, it is safer to stay away from windows and to monitor conditions as they persist.
Finally, we don’t expect to see many effects currently from Hurricane Dorian besides the possibility of some rain. If we do not see anything from this storm, there is always the possibility of another, it is better to be prepared than sorry.
Hurricane Dorian is a record-breaking storm that has reached a category five standing.
As of Sunday, it was on a northwestern track assuming a parallel path with the coast of the Eastern seaboard. It made its first landfall in the Bahamas with winds of 185 mph and gusts registered up to 220 mph in some spots.
Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm that is scheduled to move to the North Carolina coast by Thursday into Friday.
“North Carolina has endured flooding from two strong hurricanes in less than three years. Now is the time to prepare for Dorian. To the people of North Carolina, particularly those still recovering in the eastern part of our state, we are working hard to prepare and we are with you,” said Cooper.
As I said before, the weather can change in an instant and only so much of it is predictable. It’s important to stay informed.
For more information on readiness and ways to prepare yourself and your family, visit www.ready.gov