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Emergency resources

Emergency resources that could benefit Veterans during severe weather or other emergencies.

Resources 

Are You Ready for Hurricane Season?

Hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through November 30. Are you prepared for hurricane season? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts an above-normal 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) maintains a continuous watch on tropical cyclones and areas of disturbed weather over the Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Eastern Pacific. 

Regardless of how much activity is predicted, we should all prepare for every season. The seasonal outlook does not predict where or when a storm may hit. Landfall is dictated by weather patterns in place as the storm approaches.

Know how the COVID-19 pandemic can affect disaster preparedness and recovery, and what you can do to keep yourself and others safe with this information from the CDC.

Never underestimate the value of being prepared! Check out the information below to learn more about hurricanes, hazards associated with hurricanes, and what you can do to prepare.

Infographic showing hurricane season probability

Photo above: A summary infographic showing hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms  predicted from NOAA's 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook.

Know Your Watches and Warnings

Part of preparing for a hurricane is understanding the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast products, especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings.
 

  • Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are possible within your area. Because it may not be safe to prepare for a hurricane once winds reach tropical storm force, the NHC issues hurricane watches 48 hours before it anticipates tropical-storm-force-winds.
  • Tropical Storm Watch: Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified area within 48 hours.
  • Storm Surge Watch: The possibility of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 48 hours.
     
  • Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are expected somewhere within the specified area. NHC issues a warning 36 hours in advance of the tropical-storm-force winds to give you time to complete preparations.
  • Tropical Storm Warning: Tropical storm conditions (39 to 73 mph) are expected within you area within 36 hours. 
  • Storm Surge Warning: The danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the shoreline somewhere within the specified area, generally within 30 hours.
  • Extreme Wind Warning: Extreme sustained winds of a major hurricane (115 mph or greater), usually associated with the eyewall, are expected to begin within an hour. Take immediate shelter in the interior portion of a well-built structure.
     

The best time to prepare for a hurricane is before hurricane season begins on June 1. It is vital to understand your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind. Here is your checklist of things to do BEFORE hurricane seasons begins.

  • Know your zone: Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation area.  
  • Be prepared for hurricane season: The National Weather Service hurricane preparedness information can help you be prepared. 
  • Put together an emergency kit: Put together a hurricane disaster supply kit. Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights, generators, and storm shutters. Ensure you have enough medications on hand.
  • Develop or review your family emergency plan: Before an emergency happens, sit down with your family or close friends and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supplies kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster. Start at the Ready.Gov emergency plan webpage.
  • Review your insurance policies: Review your insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property.

When a hurricane threatens your community, be prepared to evacuate if you live in a storm surge risk area. Allow enough time to pack and inform friends and family if you need to leave your home.

  • Secure your home: Cover all of your home's windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8 inch exterior grade or marine plywood, built to fit, and ready to install. Buy supplies before the hurricane season rather than waiting for the pre-storm rush.
  • Stayed tuned in: Check the websites of your local National Weather Service office and local government/emergency management office. Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or other radio or TV stations for the latest storm news.
  • Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered!
  • If NOT ordered to evacuate:
    • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level during the storm. Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can.
    • Stay away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.
    • If the eye of the storm passes over your area, there will be a short period of calm, but at the other side of the eye, the wind speed rapidly increases to hurricane force winds coming from the opposite direction.
  • Stay informed: Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates. If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • Stay alert: Once home, drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. If you must go out, watch for fallen objects in the road, downed electrical wires, and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks that might collapse.
  • Assess the damage: Walk carefully around the outside of your home to check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage.
     
  • Stay out of any building if you smell gas, if floodwaters remain around the building, if the building or home was damaged by fire, or if the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms in areas dealing with power outages. Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage. Review generator safety.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights. Do NOT use candles. Turn on your flashlight before entering a vacated building. The battery could produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
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