New hurricane season begins as spring storms continue to wreak havoc
By Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer
Hurricane season begins tomorrow, on June 1, and continues through November 30. Last year’s Atlantic hurricane season saw a total of 15 named storms with eight hurricanes. Two of note were Florence and Michael, collectively wreaking $50 billion worth of damage.
Florence made landfall in the United States on September 14, as a Category 1 near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. At least five people died in the storm.
Michael was only the fourth time a Category 5 hurricane touched down in this country when it made landfall on October 10 in the Florida panhandle. Fifty-nine deaths were directly or indirectly attributed to Hurricane Michael.
Panama City, Florida, October, 2019. Photo by Amy Anderson/American Red Cross
The American Red Cross was there helping residents affected, providing 3,200 disaster
workers, comprised of nearly 90 percent volunteers. More than 150 of those workers were from Northeast Ohio. Working with partner agencies, the Red Cross served more than 1.93 million meals and snacks. As cleanup began, more than a quarter-million relief items like cleanup kits and shovels were distributed. More than 70 emergency response vehicles were mobilized to deliver food and relief supplies.
Tips during any high wind situation
While Northeast Ohio never takes the brunt of a hurricane, we can get our share of high winds, thunderstorms and tornadoes, as the Dayton area experienced earlier this week. So what are some things to share with family members when preparing for high winds and inevitable power outages?
- Never go near downed power lines. Report downed lines to the power company and keep people away.
- Don’t risk a fire using candles – use only flashlights.
- Keep a charged battery pack (preferably 20,000 mAh or bigger) for recharging cellphones until power returns.
- Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed to maintain contents for as long as possible. Review these food and water tips during an emergency.
- Only use portable generators, grills or camp stoves outside the home. Maintain adequate ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide from entering the home. Never refuel a hot generator. Wait for it to cool first.
- Be sure to check on relatives, neighbors and friends, especially those with disabilities, accessibility and functional needs.
What to do right now
Before power goes out, download these Red Cross apps for your cellphone:
Emergency – This all-inclusive app lets you monitor more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts.
First Aid – Get instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies.
Monster Guard – For kids aged 7-11. This app teaches preparedness for real-life emergencies at home with the help of Maya, Chad, Olivia and all the monsters.