Planning for the next storm now

Published 5:19 pm Friday, September 8, 2017

There’s no doubt about it: eastern North Carolina has gotten lucky this past month when it comes to tropical weather.

Hurricane Harvey pummeled Texas and parts of Louisiana a couple of short weeks ago and missed this area as it continued north through the continental U.S. An unnamed tropical cyclone made its way up the East Coast around the same time, but fizzled out by the time it reached the Carolinas.

Happening now, the wrath of Hurricane Irma is heading for Florida after ravaging the Caribbean. Up until a couple of days ago, forecasters believed this previously Category 5 storm would hit eastern N.C., but its track has since moved westward toward the mountains.

Yet another major hurricane churns in the Atlantic, heading straight for the Caribbean islands right in behind Irma. Again, lucky for this area, Jose is predicted to turn eastward back into the ocean.

Although residents may be breathing a collective sigh of relief as this point, the Atlantic hurricane season stretches through November. There remains plenty of time for another storm to form, and we might not be as lucky.

That’s where Beaufort County Emergency Management has stepped up to the plate. In each situation this year, those officials were ready for light rain, hurricanes and everything in between. They’ve taken multiple opportunities to hone procedures and make preparations for the future.

“Any time that you can practice your procedures in an event that turns out to be nothing is a welcome opportunity,” Emergency Management Director Chris Newkirk said previously.

Newkirk has the right idea. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Residents should follow suit and develop a family disaster plan if they haven’t already done so. The time to decide what comprises a hurricane relief kit is now. The time to develop plans for riding out the storm and/or evacuating is now. The time to prepare property for future storms is — you guessed it — now.