Hurricane Irene, 2011 Hurricane
Be Prepared for Hurricane Irene
The most important action you can take before Hurricane Irene arrives is take the time to be prepared and cover all your bases. Don't assume that Hurricane Irene will make landfall elsewhere. What can you do in advance? You can create a plan with your family and have decisions made before this hurricane becomes a problem. You can create your own "Hurricane Irene Survival Kit" (especially if you are "riding it out").
Before Hurricane Irene Strikes, Have a Plan
Before Hurricane Irene ever actually forms, you should discuss particulars with your family, loved ones and friends. You should know what size hurricane would cause you to evacuate (you should always evacuate when ordered to do so by your city officials). If Hurricane Irene becomes a category 3 size storm, would you leave 2 days before or 6 hours? Know the answer beforehand.
If Hurricane Irene becomes a large enough storm for you to evacuate, you should expect delays and know multiple evacuation routes if possible. You should have a good understanding of the best evacuation routes, normally provided by disaster agencies and your city government and always take a map with you. If you are evacuating in multiple vehicles, make sure to discuss places to meet along your route if you are separated.
What will you do with your pets when you decide to evacuate from Hurricane Irene? Will you take them to a shelter or take them with you? Know the answer beforehand.
Make sure your family and friends know where you are evacuating to and what routes you plan to take to get there. Make sure that the people that care about you have a non-cell phone (landline) phone number to contact you after reaching your destination.
Make a goodies bag and/or ice chest with food and drinks for your trip so you don't have to routinely stop during your evacuation.
No matter whether you are steadfast on evacuating or "riding it out" make sure to keep your vehicles full of gas in the days leading up to landfall. A mandatory evacuation may be ordered a day or so before Hurricane Irene hits and you will have no choice but to evacuate. If you stay in your home or a shelter through the storm, often times, gas is difficult to transport into the area after a hurricane has done its damage.
Make a Hurricane Irene Survival Kit
If you decide to stay in your home during Hurricane Irene, make sure you make a Survival Kit. Most of the Hurricane Irene Survival Kit can be put together and stored will in advance of any storm. The kit should include:
At least a full gallon of water per person per day for 7 days.
An assortment of non-perishable foods, like canned food, chips, snack foods for 7 days
Hand-can opener, paper plates, paper cups, plastic utensils
First aid supplies
Proper clothing (rain coats and boots)
Special needs food for babies, elderly and pets (if applicable)
Toilet Paper, Moisture wipes, Hygiene products
Battery-operated radio and/or TV
Multiple sets of batteries for flashlights, radio, TV and other needs
Once Hurricane Irene starts to form and appears as though it might head your way, you should always:
Keep your gas tanks filled
Keep cash on you (all denominations and small bills) and make credit card payments if they are near maxed.
Fill all prescriptions
Test all battery-operated electronics
Gather entertainment items, like books, games, cards, toys, etc
Securing Your Home from Hurricane Irene
Knowing what weather forces your home is vulnerable to is the key to reducing any damage that might occur from Hurricane Irene. You should know if your home can be damaged by wind, water surge and/or flooding. There are various ways to secure your home from the weather scenarios that Hurricane Irene might produce. You should make sure the exterior of your home is as strong as possible by securing doors, garage doors, roof, shutters and windows. For more information on securing your home from high winds, visit: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/retrofit/secure_home.shtml
Possible Hurricane Irene Categories and Classifications
Understanding what categories that Hurricane Irene can be classified as is an important factor in determining what kind of weather conditions to expect, the extent of the damages that may occur, and what decisions you should make about evacuating or staying.
An organized system of storms, rain and clouds with maximum sustained winds of 38 mph.
An stronger system of organized storms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 73 mph.
A well-define surface circulating storm with intense thunderstorms and sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale breaks down hurricanes into the following categories:
Category 1 (winds of 74-95 mph): If Hurricane Irene becomes a category 1, you can expect little damage to buildings (other than mobile homes), coastal flooding and small amounts of property damage.
Category 2 (winds of 96-110 mph): If Hurricane Irene becomes a category 2, you can expect roof damage to homes and businesses, broken windows, small trees uprooted.
Category 3 (winds of 111-130 mph): If Hurricane Irene becomes a category 3, you can expect large trees being uprooted, structural damage to some homes and businesses, coastal flooding will destroy many structures.
Category 4 (winds of 131-155 mph): If Hurricane Irene becomes a category 4, you can expect beach erosion, inland flooding, residential roof failure and major structural damage to businesses.
Category 5 (winds of 131-155 mph): If Hurricane Irene becomes a category 5, you can expect massive evacuations of residential areas, complete structural failure on many residences and businesses.
As Hurricane Irene Bears Down, Pay Attention to Watches, Warnings and Evacuation Notifications
A hurricane watch is often issued if there is a possibility that your area could experience hurricane conditions within 36 hours. A Hurricane Warning is issued to your area if you can expect 74 mph or higher winds within 24 hours. Know what each of these mean to your area so you can plan accordingly as Hurricane Irene approaches. ALWAYS HEED THE ADVICE OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND ALWAYS EVACUATE WHEN ORDERED.
Observing and Tracking Hurricane Irene
As hurricane season comes and progresses, you should constantly monitor all hurricanes and pay close attention to what's "brewing" in the waters. Some of the best resources for tracking Hurricane Irene are:
NOAA Weather Radio
Your Local News Stations
National Hurricane Center
Know About Insurance Issues and Options Before Hurricane Irene Hits
You should always be aware of how Hurricane damage can and will affect your insurance. Be aware of what type of coverage you have, as flood damage is typical not covered by most homeowner's policies. Add flood insurance well in advance of Hurricane Irene if you live in a coastal area, low laying areas or areas that flood often during regular thunderstorms.