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    The Calm Before the Storm: Hurricane Preparedness

    By by Molly Cochran, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
    June 20, 2013, 6:17:51 AM EDT

    With hurricane season quickly approaching, having an emergency hurricane plan in place could save your life.

    Hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30. AccuWeather.com predicts an active 2013 hurricane season, with three U.S. landfalls. Spokesperson and Meteorologist for the National Hurricane Center, Dennis Feltgen, said that the key to being prepared is to get a plan.

    "These three words [get a plan] could determine the difference between whether you are a hurricane survivor or victim," he said.

    Hurricane season preparations should begin before the season starts. Evacuation routes can change from previous seasons. It is important to find your local evacuation route and develop multiple routes out of town. AccuWeather.com Expert Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said that prep work should begin before the hurricane nears.

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    "Start preparing now, because when the storm is on the horizon, everyone starts to get supplies," he said.

    An emergency checklist could help maximize the amount of time you have to evacuate.

    For your home, board up windows, and if your property lies in a flood plain, sandbags can be used to help minimize damage. Kottlowski suggests making a checklist for yard decorations or playsets to bring in before tropical storm winds impact the area. Starting to gather supplies, such as plywood, now is another suggestion from Kottlowski.

    Before evacuating, turn off utilities and collect important documents such as insurance papers. If the storm threat isn't that significant, remember to move your important documents out of the basement, in case of isolated flooding.

    Calling friends or family in advance to plan where you will stay if you have to evacuate is a good item to add to the checklist. When constructing a plan, don't forget about the family pet. Feltgen suggests keeping your car filled with gas and making sure you have food and water that could last up to seven days.

    FEMA also suggests having a first-aid kit and any prescription medication ready to go.

    Hurricane Preparedness Video Courtesy of FEMA.

    According to Feltgen, power outages are usually the first thing to happen when a hurricane makes landfall. Flashlights and batteries are important to keep around during the storm. Going to the ATM before the storm makes landfall is a good idea. In the event that the power would go out, a weather radio should be kept close to learn of changing weather and warnings. A charged cell phone could help learn about changing weather conditions on social media. When using social media, make sure the source is reliable.

    Listening to local officials when they say to evacuate could save lives. To determine the best time to evacuate, learn the difference between a hurricane watch and warning. A hurricane watch indicates that conditions are favorable for hazard. A hurricane warning issued by the NWS suggests immediate action to be taken. When a warning is issued, that means that in 36 hours tropical storm-force winds are expected to begin.

    Although wind is a major concern, according to Feltgen, storm surge is the biggest threat when a hurricane approaches and makes landfall.

    Flooding caused by the storm surge and rainfall makes evacuation before landfall critical, according to Henry Margusity, AccuWeather.com expert senior meteorologist.

    "More people get killed by flooding after landfall," Margusity said.

    For more information on how you can plan ahead for hurricane season and recommended safety tips check out ready.gov.

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