To paraphrase Elton John: Danny is traveling today in the sea; it’s in the Atlantic but making its way from the east. Now, I can see Danny’s a tropical storm, but it looks like Danny might hit the Florida shores.
The six weeks from the middle of August through the end of September tend to be the most active weeks of the Atlantic hurricane season, and while this year’s season is projected to have below-normal activity, that doesn’t mean we are safe. Quite the contrary. It’ll only take one well-aimed storm to snap our long hurricane-free streak. Tropical Storm Danny is currently meandering its way in our direction. Will it end up here? Hopefully not, but now is the time to get prepared.
Danny is the fourth named Atlantic storm in the 2015 season. Right now it’s still comfortably far out in the Atlantic, expected to possibly approach Puerto Rico by next Tuesday. At least, that’s what the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) projections are currently indicating.
It’s still way too early to know if Danny will actually reach our neighbor to the southeast, if it will curl north and leave the Sunshine State alone, or veer in our general direction during the last week of August. But it’s never too early to stock up on hurricane supplies and be prepared should our neck of the woods get hit with its first major hurricane since Wilma in October 2005.
According to NOAA, two keys to weather safety are to prepare for the risks and to act on those preparations when alerted by emergency officials. In late May, we discussed hurricane preparation. Included, of course, is stocking up on essentials, such as bottled water, non-perishable food items, batteries, flashlights, candles, matches and the like. We noted that having a portable propane stove can also come in handy, since in the event of a direct hit, there’s no guarantee when power will be restored. Three months later, this has not changed.
Additionally, you should put together a list of emergency numbers well in advance, and have it on you, in a purse, a wallet, in your car, maybe all of the above. Mark important numbers in your cell phone with “ICE” (in case of emergency) designations. And it’s advisable to download important hurricane-related smart phone applications, such as those of the American Red Cross or the Weather Channel. But remember, when power lines are down, it can be difficult to keep cell phones charged, so don’t rely solely on cellular technology. And don’t forget to fill your gas tank up before the storm hits. As past storms have shown, fuel can be in short supply in the aftermath of a hurricane, and the lines at the pumps can be long if you procrastinate.
The American Red Cross advises residents to know the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning. A hurricane watch is when hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Individuals should review their hurricane plans, be ready to act if a warning is issued, and stay informed. A hurricane warning is when hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Individuals should complete storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities. For a complete list of recommended supplies, emergency numbers and more information on hurricane preparedness, visit www.nhc.noaa.gov/prepare.