Jim Abel shops for hurricane supplies at Home Depot as he prepares for the possible arrival of Hurricane Irene on August 22, 2011 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Irene is the first Hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic season with winds at 80mph currently and may hit the East coast later this week with higher winds projected. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season in 2012, with between nine and 15 named storms.
Officials are still urging the public to plan ahead and prepare early before more storms begin threatening the Florida coast.
Miguel Ascarrunz, assistant director at the Broward County Emergency Management Division, spoke to NBC 6 and offered his tips for homeowners.
Create a plan at home: Have an plan for where your family will reunite in case you are separated. Plan on whether you will evacuate or ride out the storm at home.Discuss whether you will invest in a generator or shutters.
Stock up early on supplies: Get necessary supplies to ride out the storm and its aftermath as soon as possible. “We’ve already seen two systems and it’s not even hurricane season,” Ascarrunz said. “It only takes one like Andrew to give us all a bad day. So it’s important to prepare now so you’re not scrambling and as we’ve seen on television the shelves running out of supplies.” He recommends stocking up on batteries, a radio, flashlights, canned foods, ready-to-eat foods and water. A good rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day.
Stay informed: Keep track of the storms and how it will impact your area through radio, TV and the Internet. Follow the National Hurricane Center on social media to track the latest developments.
Plan for your pet: Don’t forget about your pet! Find shelters in the area that are pet friendly. Look online at your local emergency management agency for a list of shelters. Pack food, water and some toys for your pet before evacuating.
Know your insurance information: Take photos or video of your property before a storm to document it for insurance purposes. The video and photos can serve as proof should your insurance company have questions. Read your insurance policies to understand what is and isn’t covered. Keep contact information for your insurance companies handy and keep important documents inside a plastic bag so they don’t get wet.
For additional information and resources, visit ready.org, call 311 or contact your local emergency management service.