Hurricane Season: Preparation Is Key

— Written By

This is the first installment in a series on severe weather by Alamance County Extension Master Food Volunteer, Nancy Oliver.

satellite image of a hurricane

Hurricane season has begun! With that, Alamance County residents can expect sudden power outages and general inconvenience, but it does not mean you have to be unprepared. Duke Energy anticipates that the busiest time for hurricanes (and its probable power outages) for North Carolina this year will be in August and September. Hurricane season is June 1 through November 30.

Because of additional concerns brought about by the current pandemic, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise North Carolina residents to start preparations now for the busier part of our hurricane season. Red Cross officials are already planning to double the space needed for evacuated hurricane victims to allow for proper social distancing protocols. For example, a Brunswick County high school that traditionally holds 500 hurricane victims will now have to be redesigned to hold only 100 to 200 hurricane-displaced residents.

Good preparation is the key to defusing the stress of a situation where you find yourself without power for hours … or for days. You’ll find that a multi-pronged approach will serve you well and keep you from the frustration of finding that you are ill-prepared … too late.

The experts agree. Working from a plan will help you get through this temporary time with ease … and only a slight bit of discomfort!

Assess your needs and assemble your items

Duke Energy’s hurricane preparation tips are a good place to start. Here are a few:

  • Review what you already have in your emergency kit. (Example: You should have at least one gallon of water per person/per pet for at least three days.) You can never have too many batteries or light sources, including flashlights. This year, you’ll also need to make sure you remember to include COVID-19 items, including masks, hand sanitizer, and soap. 
  • Get prescriptions filled before a storm’s approach.
  • Get cash in case power outages prevent your ATM’s operation.
  • Download an app through your emergency management agency, TV station, or another source that warns about severe weather.
  • More information: ReadyWeather for a hurricane checklist and safety information.

The Food Safety specialists with NC State Extension also recommend that you review your coolers and thermometers, two necessary items to safe eating habits during a power outage. If you have a baby or small child, you might want to consider having a specific cooler just for breast milk and pureed foods. You could also even label your coolers earlier with what’s inside so that no one has to go in to rummage for something to eat.

To prepare for any power outages, Duke Energy also recommends setting aside these items:

  • Nonperishable foods
  • Manual can opener
  • Disposable plates, utensils
  • Five gallons of water per person (a gallon of water per person or pet per day)
  • Non-electric clock

Check back in a few days for the next installment in our severe weather series: what to do when the power goes out.