With Hurricane Nate still fresh on their minds, Alabamians may be paying more attention to the Gulf of Mexico this summer. And they should – the early predictions for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season are slightly above average for the number and strength of storms.
The early forecast from the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State calls for 14 named storms in the Atlantic, with half of those reaching hurricane strength. It goes on to predict that three will be “major” hurricanes of Category 3 or higher, with sustained winds over 110 miles per hour.
That forecast would still be a downgrade from last year, when 10 named storms became hurricanes.
Alabama Power storm restoration experts watch developments closely to ensure our crews have as much advance notice as possible to be ready should company infrastructure be damaged by wind or floods.
Those living around Montgomery can take part in the National Weather Service’s Hurricane Awareness Tour, from 2-5 p.m. on Thursday, May 10 at the Montgomery Regional Airport.
Even though hurricane season is still weeks away, this is a good time to make plans.
Preparing for a hurricane:
• Know hurricane evacuation routes from your home.
• Determine where your family will meet, should you become separated.
• Make sure you have a way to contact loved ones outside of the affected zone.
• When a storm is predicted, keep cellphones and electronic devices charged.
• Stay informed with a battery-operated weather radio.
• Stock an emergency kit with flashlights, batteries, first-aid supplies, prescriptions, cash and copies of critical information.
• Keep a three-day supply of water – 1 gallon per person per day – and three days’ supply of nonperishable food.
• If you live in coastal areas, cover windows and reinforce garage doors. Storm shutters are ideal but windows can be safeguarded with plywood.
• Trim shrubs and trees close to your home to reduce the chances your house will be damaged.
• Turn down the thermostat in your home. It can help keep your home cool for up to 48 hours during a power outage.
• Bring in outdoor items, such as patio furniture, decorations and garbage cans.
During a hurricane:
• Seek shelter in a sturdy building, away from windows and doors.
• Monitor your weather radio for updates and reports.
After a hurricane:
• Stay off flooded roads.
• If there is a power outage or a downed line, call Alabama Power’s automated reporting system at 1-800-888-APCO (2726). Stay away from downed lines and keep pets away.
• Stay clear of damaged and fallen trees where a downed line may be hidden.
• Check for property damage. Take photos for insurance purposes.
• Check perishable foods and tap water for contamination.
Find more information about storm safety at www.alabamapower.com or visit the National Weather Service Hurricane Preparedness Week 2018 website at https://www.weather.gov/wrn/hurricane-preparedness.