By Lina Younes
We are into the second month of Hurricane Season 2013. So far, we have been fortunate that no hurricanes have unleashed their fury on U.S. soil. Nonetheless, that does not mean that we have been spared from extreme weather activity across the country. In fact, this summer we’ve seen weather extremes throughout the continental United States. While the eastern states have experienced torrential rains and an unusually rainy summer, the western states have been suffering extremely high temperatures and severe droughts.
As President Obama stated in his recent speech on climate change, scientific data points to extreme weather events and anomalies in weather patterns over the past decade. So, what can we do to be ready for hurricanes and other extreme weather events this season?
Well, NOAA now has a Weather-Ready Nation website where you can receive updated information using technology and social media. The best thing is to prepare for hurricanes or storms way in advance by developing your own personal plan and kit to protect yourself and your family. By making sure you have necessary items for your kit in advance, you will also avoid the mad rush at your local supermarket or hardware store on the eve of the hurricane.
Here are some suggestions:
- In developing your emergency supplies kit, store up on canned food, bottled water, and other supplies like batteries.
- Have extra charged batteries for your cell phone. Even consider buying a solar-powered cell phone battery.
- Have a couple of flashlights.
- Have cash on hand.
- Have books, games, activities for children.
- Have a battery-powered portable radio.
- Have a manual can opener.
- Around the house, clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Learn about hurricane evacuation routes in your area.
- Have emergency phone numbers on hand to report power outages with your local utility company.
- Here’s some useful information in the event that you need emergency disinfection of drinking water in your community after a hurricane or flooding.
Hopefully, you won’t actually use your emergency kit this summer, but it pays off to be ready at all times for whatever Mother Nature sends your way.
About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.