Alabama Power offers tips to prepare for Hurricane season
Friday, June 1, marked the start of the 2018 hurricane season and Alabama has already experienced an early taste of what may be in store.
The arrival of the season’s first named storm – before the season has officially begun – points to early predictions that suggest the number and strength of storms this year could be slightly higher than average.
The early forecast from the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State calls for 14 named storms in the Atlantic, with half reaching hurricane strength. It predicts three will become “major” hurricanes of Category 3 or higher, with sustained winds over 110 miles per hour.
After a decade of relative quiet, last year’s hurricane season closed with three devastating storms – Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria – which caused widespread damage in Texas, the Florida Keys and Puerto Rico. In all, there were 17 named storms last year. Damage estimates mark the 2017 season as the costliest in U.S. history, with more than $250 billion of losses – far surpassing 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina.
Alabama Power storm restoration experts watch the weather closely during hurricane season – and all year long – to ensure crews are ready to respond when severe weather strikes.
Alabama Power customers also should take steps to be ready for the upcoming hurricane season.
Preparing for a hurricane:
• Know the hurricane evacuation routes from your home.
• Determine where your family will meet, should you become separated.
• Make sure you have a way to contact loved ones outside of the affected zone.
• When a storm is predicted, keep cellphones and other electronic devices charged.
• Stay informed with a battery-operated weather radio.
• Stock an emergency kit with flashlights, batteries, first-aid supplies, prescriptions, cash and copies of critical information.
• Keep a three-day supply of water – 1 gallon per person per day – and three days’ supply of nonperishable food.
• If you live in a coastal area, cover windows and reinforce garage doors. Storm shutters are ideal but windows can be safeguarded with plywood.
• Trim shrubs and trees close to your home.
• Turn down the thermostat in your home. It can help keep your home cool for up to 48 hours during a power outage.
• Bring in outdoor items, such as patio furniture, decorations and garbage cans.
During a hurricane:
• Seek shelter in a sturdy building, away from windows and doors.
• Monitor your weather radio for updates and reports.
After a hurricane:
• Stay off flooded roads.
• If there is a power outage or downed line, call Alabama Power’s automated reporting system at 1-800-888-APCO (2726) or report it online at www.alabamapower.com. Stay away from downed lines and keep pets away.
• Stay clear of damaged and fallen trees where a downed line may be hidden.
• Check for property damage. Take photos for insurance purposes.
• Check perishable foods and tap water for contamination.
For more information about storm safety, visit http://alabamanewscenter.com/storm-safety/ or the National Weather Service Hurricane Preparedness Week 2018 website, https://www.weather.gov/wrn/hurricane-preparedness.
(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, June 6 issue of the Demopolis Times.)