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NWS Launches Hurricane Preparedness Week


Hurricane Preparedness Week is Here: May 15-21

Hurricane season is almost here, and the National Weather Service (NWS) is urging locations at risk of hurricane impacts to get ready by participating in this years Hurricane Preparedness Week, which runs May 15-21, 2016.

Hurricane season officially begins June 1, and runs through November 30 every year, when weather conditions push hot air off the African continent and send it across the Atlantic Ocean. This hot air mixes with the warm waters of the Atlantic and Caribbean Oceans, creating the conditions that can produce hurricanes.

Preparing for Hurricane Season

In order to prepare for hurricane season, the NWS is encouraging everyone to know their risks, be familiar with what signs, watches, and warnings mean, and to follow any evacuation orders given by local officials.

The Hurricane Preparedness Week website also suggests different things that can be done each day to make sure individuals and their families, including pets, are prepared to handle a hurricane, or even evacuate the area if necessary.

The NWS cautions that coastal states and cities are not the only locations that can be impacted by a hurricane, as inland areas often feel the effects of a hurricane's wind and rain. These impacts can result in toppled trees, downed power lines, damaged infrastructure, and flooding.

New Storm Surge Maps Can Help Families and Communities Prepare

New storm surge/flooding maps released by the NWS are based on a hurricane's category and provide a visual tool to help assist areas with appropriate preparedness efforts. The NOAA notes that complex levee areas are not fully represented within the maps, and anyone living in these areas should contact local emergency management for potential storm surge flooding areas and totals.

The NWS is also hosting a webinar on May 17 at 11 a.m. Eastern for children in grades 4, 5, and 6 that will be conducted by National Hurricane Center scientists and members of the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center - individuals who fly into hurricanes. Topics covered will include the observation of hurricanes with airplanes, forecasting, the hazards associated with hurricanes, and hurricane preparedness. Registration is required, however the webinar is free and will be broadcast live from the Hurricane Awareness Tour at its Galveston stop.

Some of the suggestions for family preparations include knowing the risks, preparing an evacuation plan, strengthening homes, and assembling a disaster supply kit. The site also offers links to a variety of helpful videos and resources, helping families ensure they are "hurricane ready."

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.