Make preparations now

Published 9:16 pm Monday, May 27, 2013

With the 2013 hurricane season starting June 1, it’s time to remind area residents to make preparations so they will be safe should hurricanes come our way.
This Atlantic hurricane season is going to be a busy one, with at least five major hurricanes, according to hurricane forecasters. Area residents only have to look back several years to recall just how damaging hurricanes can be. Hurricanes Sandy, Irene and Isabel come to mind.
Keep in mind that storm surge associated with hurricanes is as deadly as hurricane-force winds.
In a presentation two years ago at the N.C. Estuarium, Greg “Rudi” Rudolph, shore protection manager for Carteret County, said when it comes to hurricanes, area residents should keep one factor in mind: location, location, location.
During his Tropical Cyclones 101 presentation (a hurricane is a tropical cyclone), Rudolph said key factors to keep in mind when keeping an eye on a hurricane are intensity, duration, approach (location), surge and tide. With those factors in mind, the worst-case scenario for Washington and nearby areas would be a major hurricane (Category 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale) that’s slow-moving, approaches from the south or southwest, has major storm surge associated with it and strikes at high tide.
Because the strongest area of a hurricane (which rotates in a counter-clockwise direction) is its northeast quadrant, the northeast quadrant of hurricanes passing east of Washington miss the city, he said. A hurricane coming from the south or southwest of Washington means that northeast quadrant will be the storm’s leading punch when it strikes the city, he noted.
“A couple or 10 miles can make a big difference,” Rudolph said about the effects of a hurricane on an area.
“The moral of the story here is that if it’s a tropical storm coming straight for Little Washington — panic. If it’s a category 3, 4 or 5 — really panic. You know — evacuate,” Rudolph said.
Rudolph said whether a hurricane season is more active than usual, average or less active than usual, “it only takes one to make or break your season.”
In these next days before hurricane season gets under way, take advantage of that time to prepare for bad weather.
Pull out your hurricane kit and check the expiration dates on the. Stock up on nonperishable food. Charge your cellphones and other portable media devices.
If and when emergency-management officials issue an evacuation order, take that order seriously. When conditions reach a certain point, emergency personnel will not come rescue you from your home because you chose to ride out the storm. They must make sure they are around to respond after the storm passes.
Simply put, be prepared as best possible.