hurricane season

Be Ready for Hurricanes and Extreme Weather

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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.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Better Safe Than Sorry

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By Lina Younes

Well, it’s that time of year. Hurricane Season 2013 is upon us. NOAA is predicting an active hurricane season for the Atlantic/Caribbean area. Even inland areas can suffer the effects of tropical storms such as strong winds, torrential rains, flooding, and even tornadoes after a hurricane has made landfall. While the most active month for hurricanes  in our area seems to be August, it is not unusual to see tropical storms towards the later part of the season ending December 1st.

So what should you do to get ready today?  Well, first of all, develop your own emergency kit and hurricane preparedness plan for you and your family. Here are some suggestions.

  •  In developing your emergency supplies kit, store up on canned food, bottled water, and other supplies like batteries.
  •  Place matches in a waterproof container.
  • Stock up on paper cups, plates, plastic utensils.
  •  Remember to stock up on pet food for your pets.
  • Have important family documents on hand in a portable waterproof container.
  • Have cash on hand.
  • Have books, games, activities for children.
  • Have a battery-powered portable radio.
  • Connect to NOAA’s Weather Radio . Visit this link for information on the frequencies and public service announcements.
  • Charge your cell phones in advance and have an extra phone battery on hand.
  • Have a manual can opener.
  • Around the house, clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Learn about hurricane evacuation routes in your area.
  • Using technology, you can sign up to get text messages from FEMA with updated information about the storm
  • Have emergency phone numbers on hand to report power outages with your local utility company.
  • Don’t forget to plan ahead to keep ensure your pets’ safety as well. They also need a pet disaster supply kit. You may need to take them to a local pet shelter in the event that you are evacuated.

Furthermore, in the event of a power outage in your area, never use a generator inside an enclosed area.  Generators are sources of carbon monoxide which may be lethal in higher concentrations.

By preparing in advance of inclement weather, you’ll be able to stock up on the necessary supplies while avoiding the madhouse at your local grocery story on the eve of the storm. Do you have any tips that you would like to share with us? We love to hear from you.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Outreach and 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.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Ready Today, Safer Tomorrow

By Lina Younes

The 2012 Hurricane Season will officially begin on June 1st. However, two named tropical storms on the list have made their early appearance in May weeks before the official season opening. Even though NOAA is predicting a near-normal 2012 hurricane season for the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea area, it is never too early to get ready before a storm approaches our shores. Even if you do not reside along coastal areas, you could feel the wrath of a hurricane inland from strong winds, torrential rains, flooding, subsequent landslides or debris flow.

So, what should you do as soon as possible? Develop your own emergency kit and hurricane preparedness plan for you and your family. Here are some of the steps you should take in advance to prepare for this event and stay safe.

  • In developing your emergency supplies kit, store up on canned food, bottled water, and other supplies like batteries.
  • Place matches in a waterproof container
  • Stock up on paper cups, plates, plastic utensils
  • Remember to stock up on pet food for your pets
  • Have important family documents on hand in a portable waterproof container
  • 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
  • Using technology, you can sign up to get text messages from FEMA with updated information about the storm
  • Have emergency phone numbers on hand to report power outages with your local utility company or get information on local shelters

After the hurricane is long gone, you might still have to deal with the storm aftermath.  There are certain tips that should help you to stay safe and recover faster after the storm.

  • Do not use a generator inside your home, garage or other enclosed areas. Carbon monoxide in generator exhaust can easily build up with lethal consequences.
  • If your drinking water is not safe, boil for one minute to kill water-borne diseases.
  • Mold growth may be a problem after flooding, get more information on flood cleanup to avoid indoor air quality problems.

Hope you find these tips useful. Any personal suggestions on preparing for a storm?

About the author: Lina Younes is the Multilingual Outreach and Communications Liaison for EPA. Among her duties, she’s responsible for outreach to Hispanic organizations and media. She spearheaded the team that recently launched EPA’s new Spanish website, www.epa.gov/espanol . She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. She’s currently the editor of EPA’s new Spanish blog, Conversando acerca de nuestro medio ambiente. Prior to joining the agency, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and an international radio broadcaster. She has held other positions in and out of the Federal Government.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Hurricane Season: Better Get Ready

Have you ever listened to the weather report and wished that the weatherman missed the mark? Well, after learning that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s forecast projects a “busy Atlantic hurricane season” this year, we all hope these predictions don’t materialize. Given the situation of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the environmental repercussions of a major hurricane in that area could even be more devastating. Since we don’t have ways to control weather conditions, the best thing we can do with this forecast is to get ready before tropical storms approach our shores.

We are all aware of the madness at local supermarkets and hardware stores on the eve of a storm. Since we can anticipate the possibility of power outages during or right after a hurricane, why not make sure we have flashlights and batteries on hand well in advance of a hurricane? A battery-operated radio is another useful item to monitor storm developments. I remember that during one of the snowstorms this year, my small battery-operated radio was my lifeline to the outside world when my family and I were stuck home without electricity for 15 hours!

Speaking about electrical outages, never use a generator inside your home or an enclosed space like a basement or garage. The engine exhaust generates carbon monoxide, a toxic deadly toxic gas. Make sure these portable generators are used safely.

As a result of a hurricane or natural emergency, drinking water supplies may be contaminated. You can prepare by having bottled water at hand. Listen to local media reports during and after the storm for information on water safety.

While you are planning how to protect your family and home during a hurricane, don’t forget about your pets. If you live along the coastline or in an area prone to floods, there is the potential you might have to evacuate with short notice. Plan ahead where you can take your pet in such an emergency. And lastly, don’t forget about important papers like passports and insurance documents. It’s always best to prepare for the worse case scenario to be safe before the hurricane winds and rain come your way.

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force.  Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Prepárese para la temporada de huracanes

¿Alguna vez ha escuchado el informe del tiempo y deseado que se equivocaran? Bueno, después de escuchar el pronóstico de la Administración Nacional Oceánica y Atmosférica anticipando una “temporada activa de huracanes en el Atlántico”  este año, todos esperamos que sus predicciones no se materialicen. Dada la situación del derrame de petróleo en el golfo de México, las repercusiones ambientales de un fuerte huracán en esa área podrían ser aún más devastadoras. Como no podemos controlar las condiciones climatológicas, lo mejor que podemos hacer con este pronóstico es prepararnos antes de que los vientos huracanados se acerquen a nuestras costas.

Todos sabemos la locura que se genera en los supermercados y ferreterías en vísperas de una tormenta. Como podemos anticipar la posibilidad de apagones durante o después de un huracán, ¿por qué no nos aseguramos de tener linternas y baterías con antelación de un huracán? También es aconsejable tener un radio que funcione a base de baterías para monitorear la tormenta. Me acuerdo durante una de las tormentas de nieve este año, mi pequeño radio de baterías me permitió recibir noticias cuando mi familia y yo estábamos encerrados en la casa sin electricidad por un plazo de 15 horas!

Hablando de apagones, nunca use un generador dentro de su hogar o en un espacio encerrado como sótano o garaje. El escape del motor genera monóxido de carbono, un gas tóxico y mortal. Asegúrese de usar los generadores portátiles de manera segura.

Como resultado de un huracán o emergencia natural, se puede contaminar el suministro de agua. Usted se puede preparar al tener agua embotellada a mano. Escuche los informes noticiosos locales durante y después de la tormenta para información sobre la condición de su agua potable.

Mientras se prepara para proteger a su familia y hogar del huracán, no se olvide de sus mascotas. Si vive cerca de la costa o una zona propensa a inundaciones, existe la posibilidad de que tenga que ser evacuado con corto aviso. Planifique con antelación dónde va a llevar sus mascotas durante una emergencia. Sobre todo, no se olvide de sus documentos importantes como pasaportes y polizas de seguro. Siempre es mejor prepararse para lo peor para estar seguro antes de que los vientos huracanados y lluvias torrenciales azoten.

Sobre la autor: Lina M. F. Younes ha trabajado en la EPA desde el 2002 y está a cargo del Grupo de Trabajo sobre Comunicaciones Multilingües. Como periodista, dirigió la oficina en Washington de dos periódicos puertorriqueños y ha laborado en varias agencias gubernamentales.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.