National Hurricane Preparedness Week started off Sunday with a reminder to many Coastal Georgia residents just how unpredictable hurricane season can be — and how important it is to be prepared.
As the week of safety tips began, Tropical Storm Beryl dumped heavy rains and brought high winds to the Georgia and Florida coasts. And while coastal areas like Bryan County may have fared well through the storm and welcomed the much-needed rains, local officials said it’s never too early to prepare for hurricane season, which officially begins Friday and runs through Nov. 1.
“People should start preparing the first day of hurricane season because it gives you plenty of time to get a ready kit together,” Bryan County Emergency Management Director William Collins said.
Collins suggested preparing a “ready kit” that should include a three-day supply of food and water. The Ready Georgia website also recommends a can opener, battery-powered radio, flashlights, moist towelettes, garbage bags, a first aid kit, local maps and more.
A printable checklist is also available from Ready Georgia and can be found at www.ready.ga.gov/prepare/ready-checklists.
Though Georgia has not been directly affected by a major hurricane in recent years, that doesn’t mean residents are safe from the effects of a serious storm.
As a coastal state, storms that form in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico have the potential to bring storm surge, high winds, tornadoes and inland flooding across Georgia, according to a release issued by Ready Georgia.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced predictions of a “near-normal” 2012 Atlantic Hurricane season, with a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms.
And while some may see the two named storms in the Atlantic in May as an indicator of an active season, Collins said Tropical Storm Beryl was not a “typical” storm because it started down near the Florida Keys instead of off the horn of Africa, where most hurricanes form.
“It is very unusual to have two tropical storms — in fact I don’ think it’s happened in history — prior to hurricane season,” he said. “But just because you have these tropical storms doesn’t indicate what type of season you’ll have.”
Read more in the May 30 edition of the News.