June 1 is the official start of the hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean and there have already been two named storms with another tropical disturbance now forming in the Gulf. The National Weather Service says that people who live along the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic should prepare for an above-normal hurricane season based on multiple climate factors.
“The outlook predicts a 60 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 30 percent chance of a near-normal season and only a 10 percent chance of a below-normal season,” according to a press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In 2020, 13-19 named storms are predicted. Of those, 6-10 are expected to become hurricanes and 3-6 could be major hurricanes.
“They keep saying that the difference this year is in the weather patterns,” said Crista Beasley-Adams, coordinator of the Liberty County Office of Emergency Management. “We didn’t have a cold winter, which is interesting to me. Typically after we see a hurricane, we see snow the following winter. The hurricane patterns right now aren’t being consistent.”
Beasley-Adams says Liberty County is prepared but she has her fingers crossed that the county can dodge another major disaster.
“We had just recovered from Hurricane Harvey when Tropical Storm Imelda hit, and now we are dealing with COVID-19. However, we are ready. We usually start reviewing our hurricane operations in January,” she said. “We have done week-long training sessions, putting our plans into place. We’ve met with local churches regarding shelters even though Liberty County is a pass-through county.”
With weather experts predicting that the tropical disturbance near the Yucatan could develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm later this week – potentially named Cristobal – the LCOEM is advising residents to start preparing their emergency kits and working on storm preparations.
“It’s recommended that you have enough food and water on hand for each family member to get you through at least 72 hours,” said Beasley-Adams. However, she recommends having enough food, water and supplies to last at least two weeks.
Emergency plans should include pets and livestock, including any medication and food they might need, or if they need to be relocated to a higher area that will not be impacted by flooding. Beasley-Adams says she doesn’t want to see a repeat of years past when cattle were left to fend for themselves and drowned in storm waters.
Readyset.gov has compiled the following list of recommended items for a basic emergency kit:
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days,
for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with
tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
- Local maps
Additional items you might consider adding to your emergency supplies are:
- Prescription medications and glasses
- Infant formula and diapers
- Pet food and extra water for your pet
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change
- Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from http://www.ready.gov
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding
if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water
to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
- Paper and pencil
- Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
To keep up with the latest information pertaining to hurricane seasons and how they impact Liberty County, follow the Liberty County Office of Emergency Management on Facebook or the Liberty County website.