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Why everyone in Alabama should prepare NOW for hurricanes


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The threats from hurricanes to you and your family can vary widely depending on where you live, but as we saw in 2020, no county in Alabama is immune from the effects of these deadly storms.

A record 30 named storms marked the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, with 13 of the 30 storms becoming hurricanes, the second-highest number of hurricanes ever recorded in a single year. Twelve of the storms made landfall in the continental U.S., including hurricanes Sally and Zeta, which caused significant damage across Alabama.

Sally made landfall at Gulf Shores on Sept. 16, pounding the coast with high winds and heavy rains. It was the first hurricane to make landfall in Alabama since Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Power was disrupted for more than 680,000 Alabama Power customers statewide, and the storm caused an estimated $7.3 billion in damage to homes and businesses across the U.S.

Then, on Oct. 28, Hurricane Zeta roared onto the coast of Louisiana and cut a path across Alabama. More than 600,000 Alabama Power customers lost service at some point because of Zeta, with its impact in Alabama rivaling Hurricane Katrina and the deadly April 2011 tornadoes. Zeta’s high winds – which barely eased as they roared through – brought down trees and power lines and damaged substations from Dauphin Island to northeast Alabama. The storm caused an estimated $3.6 billion wind and flooding damage in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and all the way to Virginia.

More than 5,000 lineworkers and support personnel from 19 states and Canada supported Alabama Power crews in getting the lights back on following Zeta’s destruction.

With the start of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season less than a month away, now is the time to prepare. Sunday kicks off this year’s Hurricane Preparedness Week sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and emergency managers want you to know how to keep you and your family safe from these deadly storms.

  • Stay informed. Check weather forecasts regularly, through your local news or by using a NOAA weather radio.
  • Have a plan. Be sure you and your loved ones have an emergency weather plan that includes where to go and how to get there if you’re told to evacuate. Identify someone, perhaps a friend or relative who doesn’t live in an evacuation zone or unsafe home, and coordinate with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. Be sure to account for your pets, as most local shelters do not permit them, and put your plan in writing for you and those you care about. Learn more by clicking here.
  • Have supplies ready. Make sure you have what you need to survive at least 72 hours following a major weather event. Key components of an emergency kit include flashlights, water, medicine, nonperishable food, batteries and a hand-cranked or battery-powered weather radio. Be sure to charge cellphones ahead of the storm’s arrival. Learn more by clicking here.
  • Check your insurance. Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance checkup to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or replace your home. Also, whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you will need a separate policy for flooding because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. Act now because flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period. Learn more by clicking here.

For more information about how to be prepared for storms, in any season, click here.

This story via Alabama NewsCenter.

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