Tuesday marks the beginning of hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, a time of nervous anticipation in the U.S. Virgin Islands as residents keep a wary eye on the Atlantic for each new system that comes off the African coast and may take aim at the territory.
Meteorologists at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project predicted an above-average hurricane season this year.
NOAA’s forecast calls for 13 to 20 named storms, six to 10 of which are likely to become hurricanes and three to five expected to be major hurricanes, meaning a Category 3 or stronger.
The CSU team forecast 17 named storms, eight of which are likely to become hurricanes and four to reach major hurricane strength.
Regardless of how active the season is, islanders know it only takes one to ruin your whole summer – or beyond.
Being prepared before a storm looms on the horizon will forestall the need for last-minute panic. With that in mind, the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency offered the following tips for preparing for the season.
Know Where to Go
If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
Put together a Disaster Supply Kit
Your disaster supply kit should include a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate.
Take pictures of your important documentation and email them to your secured email to ensure you are able to access them, keep copies and files on a flash drive that you can carry with you on your house or car keys. If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate, and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
Pet Emergency Kits
In an emergency, your pets will be even more dependent on you for their safety and well-being. Your family’s disaster plans must include your furry family members too.
Visit Pet Disaster Preparedness to learn what to do to keep your beloved pets safe.
Talk with your family about what to do if a hurricane strikes. Include emergency plans for elderly and disabled family members. Discussing hurricanes ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for younger children. Make an emergency communication plan (visit ready.gov Make a Plan) and ensure all household members are aware of the plan.
Register for Emergency Alerts and Notifications
You can get emergency alerts delivered to you via text message, email or fax. You can sign up at Alert VI.