Recent Storm Damage Posts
How to Prepare - Residential
Preparing Your Family for Winter Storms
- Talk with your family about what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued. Discussing winter storms ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for young children.
- Have your vehicle winterized before the winter storm season to decrease your chance of being stranded in cold weather.
- Have a mechanic check your battery, antifreeze, wipers and windshield washer fluid, ignition system, thermostat, lights, flashing hazard lights, exhaust system, heater, brakes, defroster, and oil.
- Install good winter tires with adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate but some jurisdictions require vehicles to be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
- Keep in your vehicle: - A windshield scraper and small broom - A small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains or traction mats - Matches in a waterproof container - A brightly colored (preferably red) cloth to tie to the antenna - An emergency supply kit, including warm clothing.
- Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full so you can leave right away in an emergency and to keep the fuel line from freezing.
- Keep a supply of non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery.
- Service snow removal equipment before the winter storm season and maintain it in good working order.
- Keep handy a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, water-resistant boots, and extra blankets and warm clothing for each member of the household.
Winter Storm Preparedness
Each year, hundreds of Americans are injured or killed by exposure to cold, vehicle accidents on wintry roads, and fires caused by the improper use of heaters. Learn what to do to keep your loved ones safe during blizzards and other winter storms!
Know the difference:
Winter Storm WARNING: Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours.
Blizzard WARNING: Sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 miles per hour or greater, plus considerable falling or blowing snow reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile, expected to prevail for three hours or longer.
Hold a Preparedness Discussion
One of the most effective ways to share information and motivate people to take steps for personal preparedness is to talk to your people. Add a preparedness discussion to the agenda of your next staff or organizational meeting or arrange a brown bag lunch session. Many individuals within an organization—including managers, employees, teachers, and volunteers—can lead a preparedness discussion. You can cover the basics in 15 minutes; 30 minutes provides time for more discussion. Get the conversation started!
PREPAREDNESS DISCUSSION GOALS
As you prepare for your talk, keep the following goals in mind to ensure you facilitate a productive and informative discussion.
• Share the potential impact of hurricanes—the majority of injuries and death are caused by people remaining in unsafe locations during a storm. Hurricanes bring high winds and flooding or storm surge, so you need to protect yourself from both the wind and the water.
• Know the National Weather Service (NWS) terms that are used to describe changing weather conditions. These terms—advisories, watches, and warnings— can be used to determine the timeline and severity of an approaching storm.
• Emphasize the importance of being prepared to evacuate by remembering the 5 Ps: People, Prescriptions, Papers, Personal Needs, and Priceless Items.
• Outline your organization’s emergency communications plans and policies.
• Sign up for community notifications
Hurricane Safety Tips and Resources
- Storm surge is the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds. This hazard is historically the leading cause of hurricane related deaths in the United States. Storm surge and large battering waves can result in large loss of life and cause massive destruction along the coast.
- Storm surge can travel several miles inland, especially along bays, rivers, and estuaries.
- Flooding from heavy rains is the second leading cause of fatalities from landfalling tropical cyclones. Widespread torrential rains associated with these storms often cause flooding hundreds of miles inland. This flooding can persist for several days after a storm has dissipated.
- Winds from a hurricane can destroy buildings and manufactured homes. Signs, roofing material, and other items left outside can become flying missiles during hurricanes.
- Tornadoes can accompany landfalling tropical cyclones. These tornadoes typically occur in rain bands well away from the center of the storm.
- Dangerous waves produced by a tropical cyclone's strong winds can pose a significant hazard to coastal residents and mariners. These waves can cause deadly rip currents, significant beach erosion, and damage to structures along the coastline, even when the storm is more than a 1,000 miles offshore.
Hold a Tabletop Exercise
A tabletop exercise is a facilitated discussion about what your organization would do in response to a disaster. The exercise leads participants through a simulated disaster scenario and prompts them to examine their plans, policies, and procedures without disrupting the work environment. It allows for a facilitated discussion of roles, procedures, and responsibilities in the context of a simulated emergency scenario. The goals for the exercise are as follows:
1. To assess your organization’s ability to respond using your current plans, policies, capabilities, and resources; and
2. To help identify improvements that could make the difference in keeping your people safe and doors open after a disaster. For organizations that do not currently do this type of planning, conducting this exercise as part of your America’s PrepareAthon! Day of Action can be an important next step in improving your organization’s preparedness and resiliency. This Playbook provides guidance on how to hold a tabletop exercise to help your organization assess and improve its ability to maintain or reestablish operations when affected by a hurricane. Many individuals within your organization can lead this effort: a senior leader, an employee, a facility manager, a human resources manager, or a program manager.
TEST YOUR EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS PLANS
TEST YOUR EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS PLANS Consider testing your employee notification plan with employees and volunteers to ensure you will be able to communicate with them effectively in case of an emergency—both during and outside of business hours. This could be as simple as sending an email, a text alert, or testing a public address system to ensure leadership can provide critical emergency guidance when needed. Be sure to identify these communications by starting with “THIS IS A TEST” to avoid any confusion.
Survive During and Safe After
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Do not drive around barricades.
- If sheltering during high winds, go to a FEMA safe room, ICC 500 storm shelter, or a small, interior, windowless room or hallway on the lowest floor that is not subject to flooding.
- If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest level of the building. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising flood water.
- Listen for current emergency information and instructions.
- Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery outdoors ONLY and away from windows.
- Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water.
Be Safe AFTER
- Listen to authorities for information and special instructions.
- Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.
- Avoid wading in flood water, which can contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
- Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
- Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.
- Know your area’s risk of hurricanes.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- If you are at risk for flash flooding, watch for warning signs such as heavy rain.
- Practice going to a safe shelter for high winds, such as a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room in a sturdy building on the lowest level that is not subject to flooding.
- Based on your location and community plans, make your own plans for evacuation or sheltering in place.
- Become familiar with your evacuation zone, the evacuation route, and shelter locations.
- Gather needed supplies for at least three days. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets.
- Keep important documents in a safe place or create password-protected digital copies.
- Protect your property. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves in plumbing to prevent backups. Consider hurricane shutters. Review insurance policies.
Are You Prepared for Natural Disasters?
Emergency Preparedness Tips
No one can prevent natural disasters. But you can prepare for them. Being ready for a catastrophe before it happens may help you protect yourself, your family and your home.
Create a plan with your family, figuring out what to do in the event of a disaster. Make sure everyone knows their role and the plan — then have drills, practicing so you're all comfortable with who does what. As you get started with this process, follow these emergency preparedness tips to keep yourselves safe.
Pack an emergency preparedness kit
Having an emergency preparedness kit on hand may help you keep your family safe during a disaster. Store supplies in a large waterproof container near a door or in your garage so you can grab it and find shelter quickly. Ready.gov recommends you have at least three days' worth of food, water and medications on hand. They also provide a list of items to include in your disaster kit:
- Drinking water (at least one gallon per person per day)
- Nonperishable food, such as canned veggies and protein bars
- Manual can opener
- Flashlights or portable lanterns and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- A crank- or battery-powered radio
- Sanitation supplies: toilet paper, moist towelettes, soap, trash bags and disinfectants
- Local maps
Depending on your situation, your kit might also include:
- Baby food, bottles and diapers
- Pet food
- Prescription medications
- Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses and solution
- Dry clothing and blankets
Create and practice a disaster plan
Your family needs a clearly outlined plan to follow that helps keep everyone safe during a natural disaster or an evacuation. According to Ready.gov, the four primary factors that your plan should account for include:
- Where to shelter
- A route for evacuation
- Getting emergency alerts and warnings
- Family communication
As you're creating your disaster plan, keep the following preparation elements in mind:
- Sign up for severe weather alerts in your area.
- Program emergency numbers into your phone.
- Decide on a meeting place for your family to gather.
- Plan escape routes from your home and neighborhood. Remember, roads could be blocked in large-scale disasters. Have at least one alternate route — or more if possible.
- Be sure all adult and teenage family members know how to shut off gas, electric and water lines if there's a leak or electrical short. Keep the necessary tools easily accessible, and make sure everyone knows where these are.
- Consider learning CPR and first aid training.
- Remember your pets. Bring dogs and cats inside during a catastrophe or make a plan for how you'll evacuate with them. Make sure they have ID tags.
Listen to local officials
Local governments have systems in place to help area residents learn about impending or occurring disasters. The timely information these entities provide can help you understand what threats are present and know when it's necessary to evacuate.
Sign up for alerts from local and national organizations to get the information you need. These may include text messages about urgent situations. You'll also see and hear written and spoken messages via cable TV and phone calls. In addition, you can tune into NOAA Weather Radio, which broadcasts weather-hazard information and safety alerts 24/7.
Remember that the groups that provide these messages are experts. Respect their warnings, and follow their guidance as closely as possible for your own safety.
Manage the details
Take note of your insurance policy numbers, and keep this information in a safe place that's easy to access. You'll want the numbers for your vehicle, home and any other relevant policies you've purchased relating to things that might get damaged during a disaster. It's also a wise idea to have your insurance company's claims department phone number on hand in case you need to start the process right away
As you're starting to prep, download your insurance company's app if it has one. These programs are convenient and let you do things like pay bills at the touch of a button. However, you can also initiate a claim and check on its status via the app. This is a convenient way to take action and move forward in the wake of a disaster.
While storing your insurance information in your phone and computer is a good start, your electronics' batteries may run down during a catastrophic event. Keep hard copies of this information in your wallet, in your glove box and even at your office or a relative's home in case you're unable to retrieve them from your own house but need to make a call.
Disaster Preparedness: Pets
Step 1: Get a Rescue Alert Sticker
This easy-to-use sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible to rescue workers (we recommend placing it on or near your front door), and that it includes the types and number of pets in your home as well as the name and number of your veterinarian. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers.
Step 2: Arrange a Safe Haven
Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Remember, if it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets. They may become trapped or escape and be exposed to numerous life-threatening hazards. Note that not all shelters accept pets, so it is imperative that you have determined where you will bring your pets ahead of time:
- Contact your veterinarian for a list of preferred boarding kennels and facilities.
- Ask your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
- Identify hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accept pets.
- Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet.
Step 3: Choose "Designated Caregivers”
This step will take considerable time and thought. When choosing a temporary caregiver, consider someone who lives close to your residence. He or she should be someone who is generally home during the day while you are at work or has easy access to your home. A set of keys should be given to this trusted individual. This may work well with neighbors who have pets of their own—you may even swap responsibilities, depending upon who has accessibility.
When selecting a permanent caregiver, you’ll need to consider other criteria. This is a person to whom you are entrusting the care of your pet in the event that something should happen to you. When selecting this “foster parent,” consider people who have met your pet and have successful cared for animals in the past. Be sure to discuss your expectations at length with a permanent caregiver, so he or she understands the responsibility of caring for your pet.
Step 4: Prepare Emergency Supplies and Traveling Kits
If you must evacuate your home in a crisis, plan for the worst-case scenario. Even if you think you may be gone for only a day, assume that you may not be allowed to return for several weeks. When recommendations for evacuation have been announced, follow the instructions of local and state officials. To minimize evacuation time, take these simple steps:
- Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification information. Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, telephone number and any urgent medical needs. Be sure to also write your pet’s name, your name and contact information on your pet’s carrier.
- The ASPCA recommends microchipping your pet as a more permanent form of identification. A microchip is implanted under the skin in the animal’s shoulder area, and can be read by a scanner at most animal shelters.
- Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home in a crisis.
- Store an emergency kit and leashes as close to an exit as possible. Make sure that everyone in the family knows where it is, and that it clearly labeled and easy to carry. Items to consider keeping in or near your “Evac-Pack” include:
- Pet first-aid kit and guide book (ask your vet what to include)
- 3-7 days’ worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food (be sure to rotate every two months)
- Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
- Litter or paper toweling
- Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
- Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
- Pet feeding dishes and water bowls
- Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
- Photocopies and/or USB of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires (Remember, food and medications need to be rotated out of your emergency kit—otherwise they may go bad or become useless)
- At least seven days’ worth of bottled water for each person and pet (store in a cool, dry place and replace every two months)
- A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
- Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters)
- Especially for cats: Pillowcase, toys, scoop-able litter
- Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week’s worth of cage liner
You should also have an emergency kit for the human members of the family. Items to include: Batteries, duct tape, flashlight, radio, multi-tool, tarp, rope, permanent marker, spray paint, baby wipes, protective clothing and footwear, extra cash, rescue whistle, important phone numbers, extra medication and copies of medical and insurance information.
Preparedness & Recovery
Disasters are often unpredictable and can happen at any time and to anyone. They may be natural, man-made, or both. Disasters are defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as an occurrence that has resulted in property damage, deaths, and/or injuries to a community, and may include floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, illnesses, chemical or radiation emergencies, and terrorist or bioterrorist attacks, among others.
At the end of the 20th century, disasters affected an estimated 66.5 million children each year world-wide and it is estimated that this number will continue to grow as a result of societal changes (e.g., conflicts, hunger) and climate changes. Around the world and in the U.S., disasters disproportionately affect poor populations—both youth and families—as a result of risk factors such as living in environmentally vulnerable locations, living in less stable housing, and having poor physical health. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, children under 18 made up 24 percent of the total U.S. population, but 35.5 percent of the people living in poverty resulting in a higher poverty rate for children under the age of 18 than any other age group. Further, research suggests that youth, specifically school-age youth, tend to be more severely affected by disasters than adults and may experience disasters differently due to age and other factors.
Ensuring youth and their families know what to do in an emergency and that the unique needs and assets of youth are included in disaster preparedness, prevention, response, and recovery efforts is critical. While many individuals report that they are aware of disasters and their potential effects, fewer report that they have undertaken steps to plan for or prepare for disasters. Prevention and preparedness refer to the planning and actions that occur prior to a disaster. This may include preparing for public health threats, developing an emergency response plan, creating an emergency preparedness kit, or taking steps to address things that may cause a disaster. Response and recovery refer to actions that occur during and after disasters or emergencies. Responses to emergencies may include sheltering in place or evacuating, and recovery may include repairing damaged infrastructure, reuniting families, replacing supplies, addressing emotional responses and revising response plans. Youth-serving agencies can play an important role educating youth about disasters and teaching them coping mechanisms. Involving them in prevention, preparedness, recovery, and response efforts can help to ensure that youth, families, and communities are prepared and able to respond when faced with disasters.
Hurricanes are powerful tropical weather systems with clear circulation and winds of 74 miles per hour or higher. When hurricanes move onto land, they sweep the ocean inward. They can cause tornadoes. They make heavy rains and floods. Hurricanes are grouped into categories based on the wind speed. The stronger the wind speed, the higher the category. Most damage caused by hurricanes is from flooding, not the strong winds.
North Carolina’s coast is one of the nation’s areas most open to a direct hurricane strike because its coastline extends out. All areas of the state – from coastal and sound counties to the mountains – have been impacted by hurricanes in the past 20 years. Heavy winds, tornadoes, strong thunderstorms, flooding, storm surge and landslides can all be caused by hurricanes causing tragic damage.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 30 with the peak season from mid-August to late October.
Tropical Depression - contains winds up to 39 miles per hour (mph).
Tropical Storm - 39 - 73 mph winds
Category 1 – 74 to 95 mph winds
Category 2 – 96 to 110 mph winds
Category 3 – 111 to 129 mph winds
Category 4 – 130 to 156 mph winds.
Category 5 – winds 157 mph or greater.
Know Your Natural Disaster Dangers
Types of Dangers
It is important to know the types of dangers that may be a problem to you and your family. This will help you get ready for any type of emergency.
All parts of North Carolina have been hit by tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, lightning strikes, snow and ice storms. These natural disasters have caused power outages, property damage, damage to the land, and breaks in food and water supplies. Very bad weather is not the only danger that you should be ready for.
Dangerous materials events also may cause you problems. Unsafe materials can spill out while they are being made, stored, moved or put in the trash. You need to know if you live or work near a maker of chemicals, or near to a major road or rail line. It is important to know if you live near a nuclear power plant. Take time to plan what you would do in an emergency.
Your plan should have the names and phone numbers of people you will call during an emergency. It is good to know how you will get in touch with one another. Put together an emergency supply kit with plenty of food, water and basic supplies for each member of your family (pets, too) for three to seven days. Key papers – insurance policies, medical records and banking information – should be in your kit. Make your plan and kit now! It will help keep you and your family safe during and after a disaster. Look over insurance policies to make sure you are protected. Know how to make a claim in the event of storm damage.
National Preparedness Month
Create a Family Game Plan
In an emergency, every second counts- that’s why it’s crucial to have a game plan, and why this year’s National Preparedness Month theme is “Don’t Wait Communicate.”
This September, as part of National Preparedness Month, the Red Cross encourages all Americans to develop a family game plan. Get started using the steps below!
Check with your local chapter for trainings and events in your community.
Steps to Create a Family Game Plan
Make a Plan
Get a Kit
How Red Cross Supports National Preparedness Month
Different types of disasters and emergencies happen in communities across the country, but there are key steps that every household can take to be better prepared for them. If you do nothing else this month, take time to create a disaster plan including a home fire escape plan.
All Red Cross regions are celebrating National Preparedness Month by implementing programs in communities throughout the county. Some examples of our work include:
- Conducting in-home visits to test and install smoke alarms and provide fire safety and disaster education
- Presenting The Pillowcase Project, a youth preparedness program sponsored by Disney, to thousands of 3rd-5th grade children across the country.
- Participating in America’s PrepareAthon! by working collaboratively with local government entities to support community-specific initiatives, like registrations for emergency notification systems
- Encouraging households with children to download the free Monster Guard app, which teaches youth about preparedness through a fun game
- Serving as a NOAA Weather-Ready Nation AmbassadorTM
- Collaborating with United States Fire Administration on the Fire Is Everyone’s FightTM campaign, and planning smoke alarm installation events during Fire Prevention Week
Hurricane Dorian strengthened overnight and is expected to slam into Florida as a dangerous Category 4 hurricane with 140 mph winds. The projected path has it making landfall in South Florida, but then driving right up through Central Florida and over downtown Orlando.
The expected arrival of the storm is now on the tail end of Labor Day weekend as its forward speed has slowed, but Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said this morning that is good and bad news.
“Floridians need to be prepared,” DeSantis said. “The bad news of the storm going slower is that that could potentially have some negative impacts once it reaches landfall, but you do have time before it reaches to prepare if you have not done so.”
DeSantis said local officials will decide Friday about whether to order voluntary or mandatory evacuations. So far, 2,000 Florida National Guard members have been activated to help prepare for the storm, with 4,000 expected to be activated by Saturday.
At 11 a.m. Friday, Hurricane Dorian had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph and was located about 480 miles east of the northwestern Bahamas and 660 miles east of West Palm Beach. It was moving to the northwest at 10 mph, slowing down in forward speed even more today, which pushed its Florida landfall even farther into next week. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the storm’s center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles.
“Dorian will remain an extremely dangerous, major hurricane as it moves through the Northwestern Bahamas and approaches Florida early next week,” said WOFL-Fox 35 meteorologist Kristin Giannas. “The latest track shows that Dorian will slow down considerably before and after landfall near West Palm Beach. It’s increasingly likely that the threat for life-threatening storm surge, high winds and heavy rain will last more than a couple days.”
The current path has the storm making landfall north of West Palm Beach Tuesday morning as a dangerously strong Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph and gusts up to 160 mph. The storm would then move inland and slowly make its way toward Central Florida -- now projected to move right over downtown Orlando by Wednesday morning as a Category 1 storm with winds of 75 mph and gusts up to 90 mph.
"Dorian is growing stronger, now a Category 2 storm but, will intensify later today into a Category 3 with winds over 115 mph,” said WOFL-Fox 35 meteorologist Jayme King. "Central Floridians need to take this storm seriously and prepare for threats coming our way.”
At 140 mph, it would be the strongest storm to hit Florida’s east coast since Hurricane Andrew tore through South Florida in August 1992, which caused more than $25 billion in damages and was blamed for 44 deaths.
Because of the Hurricane Dorian’s slow motion, there will be greater impact from wind and rain for South and Central Florida.
“One of the biggest concerns with a slow moving hurricane like Dorian is that the dangerous weather will last a few days - that’s strong winds, heavy rainfall and storm surge," said Fox 35 meteorologist Kristin Giannas.
Added King, “Dorian looks to produce a lot of rain for Central Florida, possibly around 2 feet in some locations."
President Donald Trump warned it could be an “absolute monster.”
“All indications are it’s going to hit very hard and it’s going to be very big,” Trump said in a video he tweeted Thursday evening, comparing Dorian to Hurricane Andrew, which devastated South Florida in 1992.
Because the storm is still days away, the National Hurricane Center cautioned that its path might change.
“Dorian will likely slow down considerably as it approaches the Florida peninsula,” forecasters said. “There is more spread among the deterministic models and their ensemble members during that time, with disagreement on exactly when and where Dorian will turn northwestward and northward on days 4 and 5.”
Gov. DeSantis declared a state of emergency, clearing the way to bring in more fuel and call out the National Guard if necessary.