MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - It is never too soon to start looking ahead toward hurricane season. It only takes one direct hit from a storm to make any season bad. Here are some things to keep in mind to make the best out of a bad situation.
BEFORE THE STORM:
Being prepared is your best form of defense. There are several things you can do before a storm forms to protect your property and to decrease the chance of damage during the storm.
- Trim trees limbs and have diseased looking trees removed.
- Make sure drains are uncovered with debris.
- Have plywood and bolts ready and stored out of the weather.
- Have your emergency kit stocked and ready to go.
- Have an emergency plan and make sure your family knows what to do.
- If you evacuate, be sure to let family members know where you are going so they can keep tabs on your well-being.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
While most people only associate strong winds with tropical storms and hurricanes, there are other types of weather that can endanger your life and property.
Scattered tornadoes can and usually do spin up in the rain bands of tropical systems. While most that spin-up are usually weak, some can be strong and cause considerable damage.
Heavy rains caused by tropical systems usually lead to flash flooding and swollen creeks and rivers.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A WATCH & WARNING:
Tropical storm and hurricane alerts are issued within a certain time before landfall.
A Tropical Storm / Hurricane WATCH are issued 48 hours before the arrival of tropical storm / hurricane force winds. This means that conditions are POSSIBLE in the watch area.
A Tropical Storm / Hurricane WARNING are issued 36 hours before the arrival of tropical storm / hurricane force winds. This means that conditions are EXPECTED in the warning area.
You should also have a plan ready to care for you four-legged family members during a tropical storm / hurricane. They will be depending on you to keep them safe during a storm. Remember, they can sense bad weather in advance and will be nervous too. Here are few tips from the National Weather Service to keep them safe.
"Take Your Pet —If you must leave your home, take your pet with you if at all possible. You are the best person to take care of your pet. Think about it: if the situation is dangerous for you then it is likely just as dangerous for your pet."
"Where To Take Your Pet —Before you leave, know where you can take your pet. Find out which motels or hotels are "pet friendly" or which will accept your pet in an emergency. Plan to go to a friend or relative's house who will allow you to bring your pet."
"Crate —Before you travel, ensure your pet is used to a crate. Familiar surroundings can help ease anxiety in your pet. Getting your pet into a crate for travel will be easier once your pet is used to the crate, too."
"Disaster Kit —Make sure to pack your pet's food, medicines, vaccination records and pet insurance information (if you have a policy). Assemble this into a disaster kit you can quickly grab."
"Pre-Arrangements —If you get stuck away from your home, your pet will be better off if you made pre-arrangements with a neighbor or friend to take care of your pet. This temporary caretaker should have a list of phone numbers to reach you and instructions to properly care for your pet. Your instructions should include a signed authorization for veterinary care and financial limits to the veterinary care."
"Behavior —Emergencies can cause pets display unexpected and/or uncharacteristic behaviors. Well-behaved pets may become aggressive and defensive after a major disruption in their lives. Your pet may not return to their usual behavior for several weeks. Use caution when releasing your pet after an emergency, especially in unfamiliar surroundings. Ensure that your pet cannot escape. Do not release your pet outside until you know the area is safe. Allow your pet plenty of time to rest and get used to new surroundings. Provide familiar toys, if possible."
EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT:
You should have a supply kit stocked and ready in the event of a storm. Here are a few items to have on hand, according to the National Weather Service.
- Water—at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
- Food—enough for at least 3 to 7 days
- Non-perishable packaged or canned food and juice
- Food for infants or the elderly
- Snack foods
- Cooking tools, fuel, non-electric can opener
- Paper plates, plastic utensils
- Blankets, Pillows & Bedding, etc.
- Seasonal, Rain gear, Sturdy shoes
- First Aid Kit, Medicines and Prescriptions
- Special Items-for babies and the elderly
- Toiletries and Hygiene items
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Items for Children
- Toys, Books, Games
- Tools-keep a set with you during the storm
- Pet Care Items
- Proper identification, immunization records, medications
- Carrier or cage
- Muzzle and leash
- NOAA Weather Radio —Battery operated
- Flashlight & Batteries
- Vehicle fuel tanks filled
- Cell phone —Fully charged cell phone with extra battery, non-cordless telephone set
- Cash (some small bills)
- Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
- Credit Cards
- Important Documents-waterproof container or watertight re-sealable plastic bag
- Medical records
- Bank account numbers
- Social Security card
Hopefully these tips will help you ride out the next storm!