This week is national hurricane preparedness week

Published: May. 4, 2023 at 6:06 PM EDT
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BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) - The 2023 hurricane season will start June 1st, so it’s not too early to get ready, because it’s always best to stay ahead of the storm.

I spoke with Phil Hysell, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Virginia, about staying prepared.

Phil says “Now is the time to prepare before we get into the tropical season, when we start to see the remains of those tropical systems produce the flooding and potentially winds. What we can do? Make a plan”

You can do this by organizing contact information of friends and family. As well as coming up with an idea of what to do when severe weather rolls into our region.

It’s a common misconception that we aren’t affected as much by tropical storms here in the Two Virginias. However, areas like Richlands, by the Clinch River, could still see some impacts.

Phil says “Some of the most significant flash flooding in southeast West Virginia, west Virginia have experienced have been from the remains of tropical systems. In fact, there was a recent study that was published in the last ten years, that of all hurricane fatalities, half are from inland flooding.”

Another great way to make sure you’re ready for hurricane season is by putting together your own disaster preparedness kit.

Some essentials include non perishable food, water, batteries, chargers, even cash, but also adding a weather radio is recommended.

It’s one of the best tools to stay up to date with the latest weather information, particularly if there’s widespread power outages.

If you are heading to any beaches for vacation, coastal storms could ramp up the rip-current danger.

Phil says “If you look at the number of fatalities, and where those people died from rip-currents who go to the beach during summer vacation, most of the fatalities are people coming from western North Carolina, western Virginia, and even parts of southeastern West Virginia, because, you know, we aren’t familiar with how rip-currents look.”

Another good reminder would be to make sure you have your generators properly set up in the case of those power outages.

The hurricane season extends from June 1st through November 30th.