Prepare now for coming hurricane season

Published 7:00 am Thursday, May 4, 2017

As rain fell over Pearl River County Wednesday, some of us may have thought to ourselves, “Hurricane season is coming, I should prepare.”

While we have a little less than a month to go to get our emergency kits in order, it’s better to start buying water and canned goods now, before a storm enters the Gulf of Mexico and prompts everyone else to empty the shelves.

And keep in mind, while the season doesn’t officially start until the first of June, we already had a named storm last month, Tropical Storm Arlene, which formed in the Atlantic on the 19th.

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Dates mean little when the weather is concerned, and as such should mean little when preparing to ride out a major hurricane.

When gathering the necessities for your supply kit, don’t forget the essentials, including a gallon of water per day per person, non-perishable food, flashlight, battery powered radio, manual can opener and a first aid kit.

Many people will suggest having enough supplies on hand for at least three days, but don’t forget, it took FEMA more than a week to bring supplies to Pearl River County after Hurricane Katrina. A number of volunteer organizations filled in that gap by arriving within days with water and ice, but it’s still better to be prepared for the worst case scenario.

Fortunately, hurricanes can be predictable with today’s technology, so we always get a couple days warning when the path of the storm would pass directly over this area. That is plenty of time to evacuate, if that is your plan.

When considering evacuation, find a route and place to stay sooner rather than later. If you wait too late, you may get caught in major traffic as part of contraflow or find it hard to rent a hotel room.

We hope to have another uneventful hurricane season, but these tips will help keep you and your family safe in case this year is an active one.