With Tropical Storm Debby bearing down on the Florida coast, now is a good time to post tips from the National Hurricane Center to help you stay safe during hurricane season, which typically runs from June through November, on the East Coast.
Eastern hurricanes form in the southern Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico, with heavy winds moving in counterclockwise motion at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour accompanied by thunderstorms and heavy rain. From Florida up to New England, tropical storms and hurricanes have the potential to put a serious damper on beach vacation plans, and, as with any natural phenomenon, your best line of defense is smart preparation. While I hope a hurricane never darkens your beach, here’s how you can stay safe:
If you’re traveling to an eastern coastal region this summer, arrive prepared. Pack an emergency kit with packaged foods, water, and first–aid; learn about community hurricane evacuation routes, areas that are prone to flooding, and any hazards that might exist in and around your hotel or rental property (especially items prone to wind damage, such as trees, outdoor furniture, and windows).
If a hurricane strikes, listen to the radio or television for information and warnings. Turn off propane tanks, avoid using the phone more than necessary, and moor any watercraft you’re responsible for (if there is time). Stay indoors away from windows and glass doors, close all interior doors, keep curtains and blinds closed, stay off elevators, and if necessary take refuge in small interior rooms, closets, or hallways. Be prepared to evacuate if local authorities direct you to do so.
After a hurricane, continue listening to the radio or television for the latest updates; rain and flooding may continue after the hurricane has passed. Drive only if necessary. If you’ve been evacuated, return to your lodgings only when local officials direct you to do so. If you cannot safely return, text SHELTER plus the zip code you are in to 4FEMA to find the nearest shelter in your area.
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