Late Season Hurricanes: What you need to know

September 29, 2014

So far this year, we’ve had a pretty quiet hurricane season, at least over here on the Atlantic side of the country. Did you know, though, that, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, or MEMA,  hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 each year? That’s right – while hurricane activity has historically been less prevalent in November, technically, it would be possible to find yourself sheltering from a hurricane under your Thanksgiving table. Definitely a scenario we all want to avoid.

Damage from Hurricane Kate, November 1985. At its strongest, Kate was a category 3 storm, causing 15 fatalities, $700 million in damage, and affecting Cuba, Florida and Georgia:

Hurricane Kate damaged cars Tallahassee, Florida.jpg

“Hurricane Kate damaged cars Tallahassee, Florida” by Vaughn, Larry. Additional Corporate Creator Associated Press. – originally posted to Flickr as Hurricane Kate damaged cars: Tallahassee, Florida Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.



Greg Flynn, MEMA External Affairs Director, was kind enough to provide us with some hurricane preparedness tips that we might not be thinking about:

What, if anything, can I do to minimize the damage to my home or business from a hurricane? 

There are a few things you can do. If you are in a flood zone or anticipate water getting in the house or business, make sure you move items out or at least get them up off the floor to the highest area possible. Another good tip is to keep tall trees near the home or business trimmed or removed. Often times some of the most preventable damage is trees falling through the roof.  Also make sure to remove anything from around the outside of the house or business that could become a projectile, like lawn furniture or grills.

What’s something most people forget to do to prepare that can make a big difference? 

There are two critical things people need to remember. Have your plan laid out ahead of time. There is nothing worse than waiting until the last minute to think about what you need to do around the house to prepare and where you will go if you need to evacuate.

Two, having a communication plan is essential. Make sure you have a way to contact relatives or friends to let them know where you are going to ride out the storm and have a plan about how you will contact them after it’s over. We tell people text messaging is the most effective form of communication after a disaster as voice lines are often jammed but data can get through.

What plans and policies have been put into place by government and industries since Katrina to address some of the issues people in Mississippi, particularly South Mississippi, faced during Katrina?

We as government, at the state, local and federal level, are as prepared as we can possibly be for hurricanes.  In Mississippi we have bigger and stronger shelters built in the southern half of Mississippi to keep folks closer to home. We have a plan to pre-position supplies and first responders to access the area as soon as it is safe. We are receiving tremendous advance warning of the likely impacts to an area from the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center thanks to advances in technology.

That’s good to know!

So while we all hope and pray for a continued peaceful season, do remember that being prepared ahead of time is the best way to keep your family safe.


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