As we enter the thick of the Atlantic hurricane season, our first serious, threatening storm approaches the Southeastern coast. Are you ready for hurricane season? Is your “go pack” ready? I have tips to help you be ready to evacuate ahead of a major storm.

Hurricane Dorian is strengthening in the Atlantic Ocean, fed by the warm waters, fulfilling the warnings of weather experts on the effects of climate change.

How does climate change and global warming, affect hurricanes?

Let’s take a quick look at how climate change and global warming affect hurricanes:

  1. Warm sea temperatures

Warm sea surface temperate act as fuel for hurricanes. The higher the sea temps, the more energy the hurricane gains. 

      2.  Rising Sea Levels

Concurrently, as the ocean warms, terrestrial glaciers and ice sheets melt. Sea levels are expected to rise to a conservative estimate of two feet by the year 2060.  Even a one foot rise in the next decade can pack a punch of water surge during a storm. Storm surge is when powerful winds drive a wall of ocean water onto land.  For coastal areas and low-lying nations, this can be deadly and destructive. 

       3.  Slow Moving Storms

Research also contends that global warming is weakening the atmospheric currents that keep weather systems–like hurricanes–moving.  This means slow-moving storms. Sluggish storms can prove disastrous—even without catastrophic winds—since they can heap tremendous amounts of rain on a region over a longer period of time. Remember the floods of Hurricane Florence in 2018 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012? 

What can we do?

Of course, hurricanes are natural phenomena, and there is nothing we can do to halt any single storm in its path (though some people may try). What we can do, however, is limit the burning of carbon-emitting oil, coal, and gas and strive for more efficient wind and solar energy.  This would reduce future warming and the ferocity of tomorrow’s storms—not just for us, but importantly, for our children and our grandchildren.   

How do I prepare for a hurricane?

In the meantime, if you live on the coast, make sure you have your “go pack” ready!

Make an emergency supply kit

The Department of Homeland Security recommends having an emergency supply kit readily accessible so that you can evacuate more quickly. The kit should include some essential items that you’d need to live comfortably for an indefinite amount of time. Some of these items include:

  • Cash or travelers checks
  • Important family documents and mementos like copies of insurance policies, birth certificates, vehicle titles, social security cards, financial records (including current tax year receipts), a copy of your apartment lease, wills or trusts, personal photos and irreplaceable letters, passports
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Extra batteries
  • Important contact information for family and friends (in case your cell phone dies)
  • Extra checks if you keep a checkbook
  • Extra copies of your home, office and car keys

Keep these items in a predetermined, consolidated location (a marked, sealed rubber tub is ideal) to ensure that you don’t forget anything important when considering what to take with you during a hurricane evacuation. You will be stressed, so this will make it easier for you.

Additional important evacuation items

There are a few other important evacuation items you’ll want to gather that probably won’t be in your grab-and-go bag. They include:

  • Prescription medications, daily supplements and medical equipment like CPAPs
  • Valuable jewelry, wedding photos and videos, letters or other important personal mementos not in your grab-and-go bag
  • Computer and power cord, or external backup drive
  • Small electronics, like cameras or tablets, and their charging cords
  • Charge cards you don’t keep in your wallet (or copies of both sides)
  • Small irreplaceable art or collectibles with value (or lock them in a high, safe place away from potential flooding and looters)
  • Diapers, baby products and something with which to entertain children
  • Pet food and supplies
  • Your own bed pillow (if you have space)
  • Any small devices you regularly use for pain relief
  • Toiletries, especially any expensive items

And your pets!  For me, my dogs and canaries are on the top of the list.  Don’t leave pets behind to fend for themselves. Not only can it end tragically, but the experience will be traumatic for your four-legged (or winged) pet. 

Oh yes, and don’t forget a good book!

My new novel, The Summer Guests, opens with a hurricane threatening the coasts of Florida and South Carolina (similar to the current real-life hurricane forecast situation as of August 31st). An eclectic group of strangers is forced to flee their homes to the safety of the foothills of North Carolina. During what becomes one of the most challenging weeks of their lives, they discover that what they treasure the most in life isn’t what they brought to the mountains, but what they take with them once they head back to their homes. Get your copy today

Be safe out there. Be smart. And God bless.