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Question Your World: How do we get ready for Hurricane Florence?

If you have not heard the news, there’s a lot of hurricane activity going on these days! Climatologists and meteorologists often talk about hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. The warm ocean water needed to fuel these immense storms generally only occurs during this time period. Every year we see a lot of meteorologists on TV as these giant storms make their way around the Atlantic and head towards land. Florence is the current major storm causing all kinds of headlines and planning meetings to take place! The big question for us in central Virginia is - how do we get ready for Hurricane Florence? 

The peak of the hurricane season is around September 10, so right around now. Like literally this week and get this – there are four tropical systems: Florence, Helene, Isaac and Joyce brewing in the Atlantic Ocean right now! Of these four, we are most concerned with Florence. As of Tuesday, September 11, Florence has been labeled a category 4 storm with winds close to 130 miles per hour! This storm is expected to pick up a little more steam as it crosses the continually warming Atlantic waters. Many experts are already saying that this is an unprecedented storm with dangerous winds and rain that will have a huge impact on mainland along the Mid-Atlantic and East Coast. Florence is slated to touch land on Friday morning. 

Due to stubborn high pressure systems in the air to the north of us, Florence might “stall out” over the southeastern US and produce some serious rainfall totals that could be measured in feet instead of inches. That much water can lead to dangerous floods, drastically impact storm water systems, plus wreak havoc for emergency responders as they attempt to keep the region safe during and after the storm. These winds could also damage power lines, communications systems, and our homes. 

While we can’t stop this storm from happening, we can be prepared for the issues that could arise as a result of this massive storm. So, what are some common sense things we can do today to be ready for these potential impacts? Building an emergency kit is very important for these situations! 

What should be in your preparedness kit? 

  • At least a gallon of water per day per person
  • Three-day supply of canned foods (and a can opener, obviously!)
  • A battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Candles 
  • A flashlight
  • First Aid Kit
  • Blanket
  • Daily medications
  • Pet related items

Also, don’t forget that your preparedness kit is only a part of the equation. Our homes and yards have many things that will need to be addressed to further build resiliency to this upcoming storm. Be sure to bring in loose outdoor furniture, flags, chairs, and anything that could possibly do damage to your or your neighbors’ houses or at least tie them to an immovable object. Being safe indoors is great and preventing loose backyard items from becoming flying objects that break windows is also very important! You don’t want loose items flying around when strong winds come through the area! 

Finally, be sure to stay tuned for updates! You can keep up to date with the newest forecasts by going to NHC.NOAA.GOV and clicking on “Hurricane Florence,” or, as always, keep an eye on your favorite local meteorologist. You can also head over to www.VAemergency.gov to learn more about any mandatory evacuations here in the Commonwealth.

This is literally the calm before the storm, so use this time to prepare, folks. With proper planning, we can stay safe and get resilient!  

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