Forecasters predict a below-normal hurricane season in 2015. Does that mean we can let our guard down?

The 2015 Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and continues through November 30. In the US, all Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas, and even several hundred miles inland, can be impacted by hurricane damage depending on the storm’s strength and track.

Now’s the time to make sure you’re prepared.

 

The NOAA forecast calls for 6-11 named storms this year and the Weather Channel predicts just 9 named storms, well below the 30-year average of 12. This is welcome news for residents of the southeast U.S. but it doesn’t guarantee a less destructive season. You may remember the 2014 season saw the fewest named storms in 17 years, yet Hurricane Arthur hit the Outer Banks of North Carolina as the strongest landfalling hurricane in 6 years.

It only takes one major hurricane striking land to cause severe damage and flooding. Thus, regardless of the predictions, it’s always important to be prepared. Here’s our annual compilation of tips on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.

What to do before a hurricane

 

Ready.gov advises building an emergency kit with supplies, medicines, and other essential items in case you lose electricity or have to evacuate. You can find a good list of recommended items in our article 5 tips to get you ready for a hurricane.

Be aware of any areas around your property or business that are prone to flooding from storm surges or heavy rains. If you don’t have flood insurance, now’s the time to look into it. If you live or work close the coast, familiarize yourself with evacuation routes in case you’re instructed by local authorities to leave the area. Check around your property for trees and shrubs near any structures that should be trimmed in order to be more wind-resistant. Be prepared to cover windows with shutters or boards, and secure outdoor furniture, garbage cans, etc. that could be blown away. Read your insurance policies and familiarize yourself with both your coverage and procedures for filing a claim.

What to do during a hurricane

 

If a hurricane is approaching, tune into NOAA weather radio or TV for information. Secure windows and outdoor objects. If instructed, turn off utilities and propane tanks. If unable to evacuate, stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors; ideally move to an interior room or closet. If you’re in a high-rise building, move to the lowest level possible – winds are stronger at higher elevations. Fill containers or tubs with several days’ worth of drinking water.

What to do after a hurricane

Stay tuned to a battery-operated radio or TV for updates. If you evacuated, don’t return until local officials say it is safe. Carefully walk around your home or business to look for damage or loose power lines. Take photos of any damage you find for use later with an insurance claim. If driving, avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges; watch for fallen trees, electrical wires, and weakened roads and bridges.

If you do sustain hurricane damage, look for a reputable disaster restoration company to perform emergency mitigation and repairs. Ask to see their identification and licenses, and ask for references. Learn more in our article 4 tops for avoiding contractor scams after a hurricane.

Read more hurricane preparedness tips at Ready.gov.

 

Watches vs. Warnings

Tropical Storm Watch: an announcement that tropical storm conditions are possible within the specified area

Hurricane Watch: an announcement that hurricane conditions are possible within the specified area

Because outside preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, watches are issued 48 hours in advance of the onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

Tropical Storm Warning: an announcement that tropical storm conditions are expected within the specified area

Hurricane Warning: an announcement that hurricane conditions are expected within the specified area

Because outside preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, warnings are issues 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
Disaster One’s emergency response team mobilizes whenever a tropical storm or hurricane is forecast to strike the southeastern United States and stands ready to respond to any storm damage loss. You can call us 24/7/365 at 800-277-4787 if you need help following severe weather.