Prepare for upcoming hurricane season

Published 12:01 am Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Mississippi River is still bloated. Residents in northeast Mississippi are still clawing through the rubble of April’s massive tornadoes. And on Wednesday, the six-month agony that is hurricane season begins.

Forecasters are calling for eight hurricanes with four possibly becoming major, which is a Category 3 or higher on a five-category scale. Let’s hope forecasters are wrong.

Nearly six years have passed since Hurricane Katrina — the one to measure all future hurricanes against — and Mississippi has, for the most part, been spared. A direct hit against the Gulf Coast, and subsequently inland, has not happened since. We have all dodged a bullet.

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With Mother Nature, however, we must be on guard at all times.

Hurricane season spans from June 1 to Nov. 30. It’s never too early to get prepared.

• Develop a family disaster plan. Determine the safest area of the house if a storm hits. Find escape routes and places to meet if family members get separated.

• Have a supply of gasoline on hand.

• Have an out-of-state friend as a point of contact for all family members.

• Create a disaster supply kit. This should include, but not be limited to, water, nonperishable food, clothing, first-aid kit, flashlight, radio and plenty of batteries.

• Make a plan for the family pets. Do not leave them alone.

• Secure your home in case you are forced to evacuate.

Modern technology has allowed us to track hurricanes from thousands of miles away. Be wary of impending storms and follow weather reports closely. While we have been spared over the past several years, we are keenly aware that could change in an instant.

Get prepared. There is still plenty of time.