Hurricane Hugo graphic / NOAA
North Carolina is among the four states with the highest number of billion-dollar weather disasters since 1980. Most of these events are associated with hurricanes and tropical storms.
Although coastal areas are most vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms, it is important for inland areas to be alert to the dangers posed by these storms. I remember when Hurricane Hugo came through in 1989. The storm came ashore in South Carolina, but proceeded to cause major damage almost two hundred miles inland in Charlotte, N.C. The storm then turned north and passed through Winston-Salem, where I was that day. I recall watching a tree blowing down Second Street
Many North Carolinians still remember 1954’s Hurricane Hazel which did so much damage to our coast. What many people may not recall is that the storm left a 2,000 mile path of destruction hundreds of miles inland. The remnants of Hazel eventually caused major flooding in Ontario, Canada, where 81 people were killed, mostly in the Toronto area.
As we enter into another hurricane season (June 1 through November 30), it is time for a refresher on hurricane preparedness. North Carolina Emergency Management recommends you have a family emergency plan in place and an emergency supplies kit assembled and ready for use. Other recommendations include the following:
- Know your evacuation routes and locate your local emergency shelters.
- Don’t get caught by surprise. There is not enough time to think of everything you need to do when a hurricane gets close.
- As a hurricane moves closer to your area, begin monitoring the weather reports every hour.
- Listen for hurricane watches and warnings.
- Put fuel in all vehicles and withdraw some cash from the bank. Gas stations and banks may be closed after a hurricane.
- If authorities ask you to evacuate, do so promptly.
- If you evacuate, be alert to flooded or washed-out roads. Just a few inches of water can float a car. Remember: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
- Keep a photo I.D. that shows your home address. This may become important when asking a police officer or National Guard member for permission to re-enter your neighborhood.
- There is never enough time to get ready for nature’s fiercest weather. Give yourself and your family a head start.