2018 Atlantic hurricane season gets an early start; get those kits ready

If you see a red flag flying, stay out of the water.

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season officially began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30, but the season got an early — and deadly — start with Sub-tropical Storm Alberto, the first named storm of the 2018 hurricane season.

The first tropical event of the season should serve as a reminder that a named storm doesn’t need to be categorized as a hurricane to be destructive and deadly.

There’s no need to panic, but there is a reason to be prepared: Several forecasts indicate an above-average likelihood that a major hurricane (category 3 or higher) will make landfall in the Caribbean, the Gulf Coast, or the US East Coast.

  • AccuWeather predicts a total of 12-15 tropical storms, out of which six to eight can become hurricanes and three- to five major hurricanes
  • Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predict a 70 percent likelihood of 10- to 16 named storms, of which five- to nine could become hurricanes, including one- to four major hurricanes

Hurricanes are among nature’s most powerful and destructive phenomena, but tropical storms and depression also can be devastating to life and property. The key to coming out the other side is to have a plan of action before disaster strikes.

In addition to compiling a basic hurricane kit and knowing the evacuation route for your area, the National Hurricane Center recommends people put together a plan by discussing four questions with your family, friends, or household.

  • How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  • What is my shelter plan?
  • What is my evacuation route?
  • What is my family/household communication plan?

Pet owners should have plans to care for their animals, which includes identifying pet-friendly hotels along evacuation routes and keeping a list of the pet’s medical records in your pet’s emergency kit.

Keep the kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.

In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.

Visit nhc.noaa.gov.

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