Prepare now for the next big hurricane
On September 1, 2008, the National Hurricane Center began tracking a tropical depression that developed off the western coast of Africa moving west-northwest towards the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
Later in the day, the weather pattern was upgraded to a “tropical storm” and given the name Ike.
On September 3-still moving across the Atlantic Ocean-the storm developed the telltale “eye” and was officially upgraded to hurricane status.
Hurricane Ike reached its peak intensity of 145 mph winds before making landfall in Cuba on September 7. It then weakened in the Gulf before reaching Galveston, Texas on September 13 with winds of 110 mph. From there it moved inland over the next three days, gradually losing strength but producing tornadoes in Arkansas and torrential rains as far North as Canada.
Despites days of advanced warning, at least 195 people died as a result of Hurricane Ike, including more than 100 in the U.S. With $29.5 billion dollars in damages in the U.S. alone, Ike is the third costliest Atlantic Hurricane ever, following Hurricanes Sandy (2012) and Katrina (2005).
What Can You Do to Prepare for the Next Big Hurricane?
According to the National Weather Service, a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters.
The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June to November, with the peak season from mid-August to late October. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and ends November 30.
Storm surge, inland flooding, high winds, tornadoes and rip currents are the most dangerous aspects of a hurricane. But you can reduce their effects by knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take.
Below are just a few tips from the National Hurricane Center’s Preparedness Guide.
- Determine whether or not you live in an evacuation area.
- Use tools like FEMA’s Map Portal and FloodSmart.gov to assess your vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind.
- Learn how to access forecasts made by the National Weather Service.
- Keep a list of local emergency contacts
Plan & Take Action
- Put together a kit of disaster supplies
- Develop and document emergency plans for your family
- Follow instructions from local officials, including evacuation orders
- Wait until an area is declared safe before returning home