What You Should Know About Hurricane and Severe Weather Preparedness

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Editor’s Note: Cheryl Nelson is a disaster preparedness expert, a certified broadcast meteorologist and a Weather & Preparedness Advisor for Cummins. We’ve partnered with Cheryl to help you plan and prepare seasonally, so you can avoid being left without power.

It’s almost that time of the year again. Hurricane season begins on June 1st and lasts until November 30th.

Colorado State scientists recently issued their initial hurricane season prediction for the Atlantic Basin, forecasting 11 named storms, including four hurricanes and two major hurricanes. While the prediction for the 2017 hurricane season is slightly below average due to El Niño, remember that it only takes ONE tropical cyclone to impact millions of people.

The National Hurricane Center defines a tropical cyclone as “a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has a closed low-level circulation. Tropical cyclones rotate counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere.” They are classified as tropical depressions, tropical storms, hurricanes and major (category 3 or above) hurricanes.

If all 11 storms were to make landfall, a statistically below average hurricane season won’t seem so quiet. And spring and summer aren’t just for hurricanes – extreme heat, tornadoes and heavy rain can also lead to power outages. In order to help you prepare, I’ve put together some tips that will help you think both long- and short-term about severe weather preparedness:

Two Months Before Hurricane Season

  • Consider getting a standby generator, so that all the power in your home can be restored automatically without gas, even when you’re not home. If you have back-up power generation, your home can be your family’s central meeting place
  • Know if you live in a flood zone. A new flood insurance policy has a 30-day wait period until it activates. Getting your insurance policy lined up early will ensure you’re covered in the event of an emergency
  • Check your roof for hanging shingles and leaks. Take steps to ensure that your roof is properly maintained to avoid unnecessary water damage

One Month Out

  • Create a disaster kit
    • Develop a “necessities” list that includes items you and your family cannot live without
    • Have important supplies on hand—keep prescriptions filled; have bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights, extra batteries and a NOAA weather radio (at a minimum)
    • Keep a disaster kit at home, at work and in your vehicle
  • Create a communications plan
    • Have an out-of-town contact that your family can call to update
    • Ask a neighbor to check on your pets if a disaster strikes when you are not home
    • Pick a meeting place and make sure your family knows where to meet in the event of an emergency

Days to One Week Before Impending Hurricane or Storm

  • Store important documents in a metal strongbox to protect them from exposure and keep your important documents on a portable flash drive
  • Survey property areas for things that might need repair. Check signs or shutters, walkways, storage spaces and even overgrown vegetation and dead trees. Clean out gutters and chimneys
  • Ensure that your disaster preparedness kit with non-perishable canned goods and bottled water is within reach

Stay safe this hurricane season.


About the Author:  Cheryl Nelson is an Emmy-nominated and AP award-winning TV host, seasoned public speaker and certified broadcast meteorologist with over a decade of experience.  Cheryl is currently a lifestyle TV show Co-Host for “Coast LIVE” on WTKR-TV in Norfolk, VA.

Cheryl has appeared nationally on “The Real” daytime talk-show, The Weather Channel, The AccuWeather Channel, Fox News Channel, CNBC and locally in markets such as WAVY-TV Norfolk (2007-2010), WTVR-TV Richmond and WSYR-TV Syracuse. You can visit Cheryl’s website at www.CherylNelson.net and follow her on Twitter and Facebook @CherylNelsonTV. 


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