Raleigh, N.C. —North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperative officials are preparing for what is predicted to be a busier than usual tropical weather season.
Forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are predicting 13 to 16 named storms this season with four to six of those storms developing into hurricanes that could reach Category 3 strength or higher. A Category 3 hurricane has a wind speed in the range of 111-130 miles per hour and coastal communities experience storm surge of generally 9-12 feet above normal.
June 1 is the official start of the hurricane season, so North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives, which serve 2.4 million people statewide, offer the following storm preparedness tips:
- Develop an evacuation route plan. It should identify the safest routes and nearby shelters.
- Make sure your family disaster supply kit includes at least one battery operated radio, flashlights, a first aid kit, non-perishable food, a three-day water supply, non-electric can opener, medicines, cash and credit cards.
- Include pets in your planning. Pets aren’t always allowed into emergency shelters. Contact your local humane society to learn the animal shelters that accept pets during disasters.
- Train family members how to respond after a storm. Children should know how and when to call 9-1-1, police, or the fire department. They should know which radio station to listen to for emergency information.
- Know the proper way to protect your windows. Taping windows isn’t going to protect them. Plywood panels are the best, non-permanent solution. Prepare the boards and windows long before the storm.
- Develop an emergency communication plan in case family members become separated, a real possibility when adults are at work and children in school. Have a plan for getting back together. Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as an emergency contact. After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
Preparedness is the best tool during the hurricane season, which runs through November 30. For more extensive hurricane and tropical storm preparedness information, visit www.ncemcs.com. North Carolina’s electric cooperatives serve 2.4 million people in 93 of the state’s 100 counties.