The 2017 hurricane season was one of the most devastating seasons we’ve seen in years. Hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria were just a few of the catastrophic hurricanes that affected residents in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and more. Like many of you across the country, it broke my heart to see what they were going through. Sadly countless people are still recovering from the devastation.
It’s hard to believe that the 2018 hurricane season has already started. According to weather.com, Subtropical Storm Alberto was the first named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season. According to Colorado State, we should see around “14 name storms for the upcoming season.”
If you’re looking for simple ways that you can prepare for hurricane season, you’ve come to the right place. Forensic Meteorologist Mark McGinnis joined me for an interview on May 18th to discuss what we can expect this hurricane season, and how residents can prepare themselves and their extended families before the next storm hits.
Watch journalist, Candace Rose Anderson of the website Candie Anderson interview renowned forensic meteorologist, Mark McGinnis on what to expect this hurricane season, and 11 ways you can prepare for hurricanes and storm season in general. *These tips are great for any type of emergency, especially for those facing evacuation. Last year in California we were faced with devastating fires, floods, mudslides, etc. as well. I hope and pray you’re not faced with any type of emergency, but in case you are, please keep his tips handy. I made sure and transcribed the interview for you as well.
What People Can Expect This Hurricane Season
Candie Anderson: The 2017 hurricane season was devastating. Some communities are still recovering. What can people expect this hurricane season?
Mark McGinnis: “Well, Candace, right now initial forecasts are for slightly average to above average season. That came out a little over a month ago from Colorado State. They’re forecasting right around 14 name storms for the upcoming season.
Next week, the National Weather Service comes out with their official weather forecast. That comes out on May 24th (the interview was conducted a little over a week ago) it’ll be very interesting to see if there’s any change in their forecast from what we’re seeing from Colorado State.
As of right now we’re talking about in a normal year 12 named storms, the Colorado State forecast is calling for 14.”
Problems That Affect Homes During Storm Season
Candie Anderson: What are the main problems that affect our homes and communities during storm season?
Mark McGinnis: “Well, unfortunately, especially hurricanes have huge impacts on our communities. We’re talking major disruption – not just inconvenience, but major disruption – so power can go out, you can have flooding. It can be dangerous to be outside. Not only the day of the storm, but several days afterwards. In fact, we have communities that take weeks to get the power back. Down in Puerto Rico they still have people without power from last September.
What you can expect is you’re not going to return to normal very quickly. That means your ability to get out to the grocery store is going to be compromised if not totally restricted. You’re not going to be able to go to work. It may not be safe to not only be in your house, but stay at your house.”
How To Prepare Your Home For Storm Season
Candie Anderson: What can people do to get their homes ready for a natural disaster?
Mark McGinnis: “One thing you want to do right off the bat is make sure you have the proper insurance for your house. You don’t want to be underinsured when it comes to water, hail and wind. Make sure you have great coverage or the proper coverage for your house first and foremost.
If you live along the coast in hurricane season, you have to do that now within the next two days. Once June 1st comes around you can’t get insurance for your house, so make sure you take care of that before we get to June 1st.
Number two as far as being properly prepared, have your house inspected. If you feel comfortable, do that yourself. Check your windows, your doors. Check the roof, check the garage door as well. Make sure they’re all in good working order and they’re secure, so your house is safe.
Of course today, I’m here on behalf of Generac, and they want to make sure that if you’re using backup power, you’re using it safely. You must always have your generator outside and at least 15 feet away from any entryway to your house.”
How To Prepare Your Family For Storm Season
Candie Anderson: It has to be such a stressful, scary time for people. What can they do make sure their family is prepared and calm before a storm hits?
Mark McGinnis: “Great question. First and foremost, you want to have a plan. When a storm is coming, if emergency management tells you to evacuate, you should evacuate. If they tell you, you don’t have to evacuate and you’re confident that your house is safe, you need to have a plan there too.
If you have to evacuate, reach out to family members, that would be my first recommendation (that live a little farther way from the threat). Find out if you can shelter up there. You want to have this conversation now. You don’t want to have it two or three days before the storm.
Also, reciprocate that help. If they have bad weather, let them know that they can come to your house as long as you’re out of the threat path as well. If you are going to stay in place, make sure that you have the proper essentials to carry you through the storm.
Again, your house is safe, you’ve had it inspected, you haven’t been asked to leave, you want to stay there. You want to make sure you have enough food, water and medication (at least three days worth) for everybody that is going to be staying at the house. For water, that comes down to one gallon per person, per day so make sure you have enough water. Sometimes filling up the bathtub will help, as well as buying the water jugs too.
You want to have all of your cars fully gassed up, and if you have some extra tanks for gasoline, fill those up as well. You might need them in the recovery.
Grab some cash. Make sure you have some cash on hand because if the power is out, not only will the gas pumps not work, but your credit card and your debit card aren’t going to work either. Having cash is really important.
A NOAA Weather Radio with battery backup, that will let you maintain communication as far as the weather threat even after the power goes out because you will have batteries, which can all be a part of an emergency supply kit that you can have in your house as well, which will be flashlights, obviously bandaids, a gage, and also extra batteries too for everything.”
Where To Go For More Information
Candie Anderson: Do you have any additional tips or information that you would like to share with us?
Mark McGinnis: “Sure, there’s obviously a lot of information we can’t get to in this short time, so there are two websites that are fantastic to use: ready.Gov is run by FEMA. It covers almost any natural disaster you can have. Out in California that’s a good thing. You can check out the website, you can print off checklists to make sure that you’re prepared. Also, generac.com has an excellent website. There’s a section called Be Prepared, and it breaks down by weather variable – winter storm, hurricane, severe weather checklists that you can print off. You can stick them right on your refrigerator and go right down the list to see how well prepared you are for the next storm.”
With more than 20 years of severe weather forecasting and communications experience, Mark McGinnis is a true authority in meteorology. As the founder and owner of Fair Skies Consulting, LLC, McGinnis provides his customized services as a Certified Consulting Meteorologist. His work with weather forecasting and meteorology is backed by his membership in a number of professional meteorology organizations, including the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the National Weather Association (NWA). He also sits on three professional boards: the Certified Consulting Meteorologist Program (CCM), the National Council of Industrial Meteorologists (NCIM), and the Southeastern Wisconsin Homeland Security Partnership (SWHSP).
Mark McGinnis is one of the few meteorologists to earn the prestigious CCM and Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) certifications through the AMS. He works to supply his clients with customized weather hazard planning and weather analysis – committed to helping his clients understand the importance of weather preparedness when it comes to increasing safety and reducing associated losses.
SMT was sponsored by Generac. * Candace Rose Anderson was not compensated by the sponsor for this interview.