Be Prepared for a Hurricane

Hurricane Evacuation Route Road Sign

A message from Extension’s Mike Yoder:

This is Hurricane Preparedness Week in North Carolina – a time to make weather-readiness a priority. The entire state is susceptible to impacts from a tropical cyclone. It only takes one storm to change your life and community.

Today’s topics include storm surge and developing an evacuation plan. Storm surge and large waves produced by hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property along the coast. Storm surge is simply water pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm. This advancing surge combines with the normal tides to create the hurricane storm tide, which can increase the mean water level to heights impacting roads, homes and other critical infrastructure. This rise in water level can cause severe flooding in coastal areas, particularly when the storm tide coincides with the normal high tides. Storm surge can travel several miles inland and can also span hundreds of miles of coastline.

It is important to keep in mind that storm surge is not a factor in the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Know that even a tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane can have a devastating storm surge if the proper conditions exist. In other words, don’t assume that a tropical storm or a hurricane on the low end of the Saffir-Simpson Scale will not have a large or significant storm surge.

Do you live in an area prone to storm surge or in a home that would be unsafe during a hurricane? If so, where would you go and how would you get there if told to evacuate? You do not need to travel hundreds of miles. Identify someone and work it out with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. If you’re in a safe area, could you be someone’s inland destination yourself? Make sure to account for pets – most local shelters do not permit them.

Help your communities prepare for hurricanes and other disasters by sharing preparedness information that may be found at the following websites:

A note to our Extension personnel: Be sure your County Extension Director has all of your contact information and if your local area is hit by a hurricane, make contact with your CED within 24 hours to let them know your status. CEDs, please let your District Directors know the status of your personnel and offices within 24 hours.