Living in Coastal Georgia has its pros and cons. Although we get to enjoy warm weather – even in winter – we also risk threatening storms each year. Hurricane season starts June 1 and ends Nov. 30. The strongest peak of hurricane season is August through September.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center predicts a 40 percent chance of a near-normal hurricane season this year, a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season and a 30 percent chance of a below-normal season, according to the NOAA website.
“For 2019, NOAA predicts a likely range of nine to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which four to eight could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including two to four major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher),” states noaa.gov. “NOAA provides these ranges with a 70 percent confidence. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.”
So how can we be prepared for this potentially dangerous season we’re entering? Fortunately we have the Liberty County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to rely on. LCEMA has already prepared fliers and a hurricane guide. Liberty County residents can swing by the EMA office in Hinesville to pick up a copy. The hurricane guide also contains information about flash floods. Another way to stay connected to Liberty EMA is to join their Facebook page and sign up for Alert Liberty where residents can be warned of any bad weather coming to Liberty County.
During this time of year Liberty County experiences floods and thunderstorms as well. Alert Liberty can keep residents up to date of any flood alerts. When speaking about preparation, Robert “Bob” Dodd said that the best preparation for floods is to have insurance and a plan. “That the biggest thing,” he said, “that people don’t have a plan.”
The hurricane guide includes information on what to do before, during, and after hurricanes. It also contains evacuation routes that show residents how to get to west Georgia and away from the storm.
Preparing a hurricane kit might sound like a no-brainer but not everyone does it. The list of items to include in your kit may seem overwhelming but the hurricane guide covers it all. Dodd suggests stocking a 5-day supply of water and include a whistle (in case a resident finds themselves in need of rescue; a whistle can help emergency responders locate the person in distress).
“You can always build onto your kit,” he said. “Just start small. Don’t forget about including medication.” Because of evacuations or power outages the pharmacy may not be able to receive medication so it’s important to stock up on any needed medicine you might need.
Before hurricane season sign up for the hurricane registry. The registry is a list of people with functional, access, or medical needs that is maintained by health departments in Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long and McIntosh counties. The list is for residents who may need transportation, or medical assistance and have no friends or families to help them to evacuate. To register, residents should call the toll-free number, 1-833. CHD-Register (1-833-243-7344). The application is also available online. The registry stops accepting applications 72 hours prior to the arrival of tropical storm force winds.
When it comes to preparing your home, think about your landscaping. Pick up any yard ornaments or anything that flies, such as lawn furniture. If the wind picks it up it can fly through your window.