Emergency Officials encourage the community to be hurricane ready

Hurricane Preparedness Week begins
Emergency Officials encourage the community to be hurricane ready
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 7:31 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - We’re still a few weeks away from the official start of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season, but Emergency Management Officials say now is the time to get ready for a storm.

Hurricane Season starts on June first, but over the last several years, storms have been forming ahead of the season, and it’s the same story for the Pacific Hurricane Season, which already has its first named system of the year, Andres.

Dr. Rick Luettich with UNC’s Institute of Marines Sciences says more intense storms are a trend we will continue to see because of climate change.

“Fortunately, it looks like it may stay out at sea, so that’s the good news, and I think it’s just a reminder and probably its the best possible reminder that the climate is changing and these storms are forming earlier and earlier,” said Dr. Luettich.

That’s why emergency managers around the state are urging you to start readying yourself for a storm now as part of Hurricane Preparedness Week.

Craven County Emergency Services Director Stanley Kite says one of the most important things you should do is looking at where your home falls on the flood maps and take time to understand what storm hazards where your home is most vulnerable.

“Really, understand those local impact statements on the weather service when they are talking about the storm and understand what would that local impact mean based on where you live, not some other state or some other jurisdiction but your address. What does it mean if you’re going to get a 9-foot storm surge,” explained Kite.

Kite also says this week is a good time to put together an emergency kit, with items like flashlights and batteries, food and water, a first aid kit, and any important documents.

Another item on the to-do list this week is making an evacuation plan. “You should not make an assumption that a shelter will be available,” said Kite.

Emergency leaders could once again scale back shelter operations because of the pandemic, so Kite says it is best to make plans now and leave the emergency shelter space for those who need it for survival during the storm.

You can find more information on what items should be in your hurricane kits, what evacuation zones your home is in, and other important safety information here, https://www.ncdps.gov/our-organization/emergency-management/emergency-preparedness.

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