Preparation is key

Published 7:37 pm Friday, May 25, 2012

This extended holiday weekend, chances are you will be more concerned with what to grill than what to stash away for a hurricane.

The six-month hurricane season officially begins June 1. But, as Tropical Storm Alberto demonstrated this past week, Mother Nature has her own calendar.

Gov. Bev Perdue proclaimed May 27–June 2 as Hurricane Preparedness Week and is urging North Carolinians to develop family emergency plans and supplies kits.

“North Carolina saw more than its fair share of destruction last year,” Perdue said in a news release issued Friday. “Whether the damage comes from flooding, storm surge, destructive winds, tornadoes or landslides, we must be ready — as individuals, families, communities and as a state.”

It hasn’t been a year since Hurricane Irene pounded North Carolina. Irene was only a Category 1 hurricane with winds reaching 85 mph as it hit land, but the storm killed at least 47 people in the U.S. and caused massive damage and flooding along the Inner Banks counties.

Flood levels ranged from two feet above ground level in Aurora to three and one half feet in Belhaven and Oriental and more than five feet above ground in the communities of Stonewall and Mesic, according to the media release.

“Hurricane Irene reminded us all just how destructive even smaller storms can be for our families, businesses and communities,” Perdue said. “Taking time now to prepare or update your emergency plans and kits can provide peace of mind, as well as give you the tools you need to survive the hurricane and recover from it.”

Remember to review and update your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies. Make sure they include coverage for flooding and natural disasters.

Families should have an emergency plan and emergency-supplies kit ready to go at all times. The kit should contain enough nonperishable food and a gallon of water per person per day to last three to seven days. People should stay informed during a storm by keeping a battery-powered radio for weather and evacuation information and should know evacuation routes in their community. They also need to heed the warnings of state and local officials and evacuate quickly when told to do so.

So, as you throw the kielbasas into your shopping cart, don’t forget the water, batteries and flashlights.

And stop by the Washington Lowe’s Home Improvement while you’re out today. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., you will find area nonprofit organizations there with information that will help you prepare your family for what will likely be another active season.

For more information on how to prepare for any type of emergency, visit For the latest forecast, watches and warnings in your area visit