Are you severe weather ready?
Hurricane season is here and will run until November 30. We want you to be prepared for not only the next hurricane but any kind of severe weather. Typically, severe storms are expected to occur during spring and late fall, but they can occur at any time. Knowing what to do when severe weather strikes is critical to your survival.
A hurricane is an intense tropical system with a well defined circulation and maximum sustained speed of 74mph or greater. A Hurricane/tropical storm watch indicates that hurricane/tropical storm conditions are possible with 48 hours. A Hurricane/tropical storm warning indicates hurricane/tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours. Slow moving systems can lead to flooding. Some of the worst flooding in recent memory was produced by hurricanes Dennis and Floyd in 1999. Flooding accounts for more than half of the deaths associated with land falling tropical storms and hurricanes.
A thunderstorm is a storm with lighting and thunder. Heavy rain, strong winds, floods, and tornadoes can occur as a result of a thunderstorm. There are no safe places outdoors during a thunderstorm, if you are outside when a thunderstorm starts seek shelter immediately. If you are in an area under a thunderstorm/tornado/flood watch then a severe thunderstorm, tornado, or flood is possible and in the case of floods be prepared to move to higher grounds. If you are in an area under a thunderstorm/tornado/flood warning then a severe thunderstorm, tornado, or flood is occurring or likely to occur and you should seek shelter or move to higher ground immediately, as there is a threat to life and property.
Before severe weather strikes develop an emergency plan for your household and conduct regular drills.
— Create emergency supply kit for home and car; Kit should be in a sturdy, easy to carry container or a backpack/duffle bag.
— Post emergency telephone numbers by phones and in cell phones.
— Test your smoke detectors and NOAA weather radio monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
— During severe weather check travel conditions via the 511 toll free travel information line or visit the NC Department of Transportation website at www.ncdot.org
— For emergency alerts and real time traffic and weather information download the free ready NC app or visit www.readync.org
— If evacuating notify neighbors and family members outside of your area of your evacuation plans
— Put away lawn furniture and other loose, light weight objects that could become projectiles
— Board up windows and secure mobile home tie-downs
— Secure boats or move to safe location
— Listen frequently to NOAA weather radio and/or TV bulletins for storm progress and path
Follow instructions issued by local officials. If asked to evacuate your home please do so, as this is for your safety. Follow the evacuation route or got to a designated public shelter — remember to take emergency kit to shelter with you
For information, visit http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/ or contact Kathie Cox, Health Educator for the Scotland County Health Department, at 910-277-2470 ext 4478.
Sha-Ronda McNeill is a Health Education MPH Student Intern at the Scotland County Health Department.