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Get ready for hurricane peak season with these 11 tips from Alabama Power

The National Hurricane Center is giving a disturbance in the northwestern Caribbean Sea an 80% chance of forming a tropical system and entering the Gulf of Mexico before making landfall next week.

It’s a reminder that although hurricane season runs from June to November, now is the time when it truly begins to hit its peak.

The number of hurricanes has already begun to increase. With record warm sea-surface temperatures, scientists at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center recently stated that, for the remainder of the 2023 hurricane season, there is a greater likelihood of activity in the Atlantic. Forecasters say the level of hurricane activity has risen from near normal to above normal.

NOAA’s updated 2023 outlook calls for 14-21 named storms, of which between two and five could become major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher.

Alabama Power customers can be assured that hurricanes and other storms won’t catch the company off guard, said Scott Moore, senior vice president of Power Delivery.

“Our teams work to remain prepared in the event of any type of severe weather,” Moore said. “Our infrastructure investments, comprehensive response plans and proactive approach help ensure our customers receive the safe, reliable service they depend on.”

Alabama Power urges customers, particularly those who live on the Gulf Coast, to be prepared for possible hurricanes and tropical storms, and the high winds, rain and heavy flooding they often bring with them.

Keep your family safe by taking these steps before hurricanes strike:

Planning ahead in case of evacuations

  • Put together an emergency preparedness kit. In case a hurricane knocks out power, the kit will ensure that you and your family have enough food, water and supplies to get you through the storm. The kit should include necessary items such as water, prescription medicines, nonperishable food, flashlights, batteries and a hand-cranked or battery-powered weather radio. Important documents, including wills, passports and personal identification, should also be readily accessible when it’s time to evacuate.
  • Charge all cell phones, computers and other devices. In addition, check to make sure your cell phone is set to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs), which can notify you about tornadoes, evacuation orders and other emergencies. These alerts must be enabled manually on some phones.
  • Sign up for Alabama Power outage alerts. These alerts will notify you when power outages affect your location. You can also check for updates by viewing Alabama Power’s outage map.
  • Have an evacuation plan and make sure everyone in the household is familiar with it. Set a pre-planned destination, and map out alternative routes in case roads are blocked.
  • Know where emergency shelters are located. Pet owners will need to pre-identify animal shelters, pet-friendly hotels or family or friends where they can take their furry friends during an evacuation. Most emergency shelters do not allow pets.
  • Gas up your car. Before evacuation orders are issued, fill up your tank. That way, you can avoid long lines at gas stations when it’s time to leave home.
  • Develop a communication plan for your household. Ensure children and others who live in your home know your phone number and a place where everyone can meet if they get separated. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends writing phone numbers and email addresses of everyone in the household on a wallet-sized card, along with the addresses of medical facilities, doctors, schools and other important locations. All family members, especially children and people with disabilities, should keep the card in their wallet, purse or backpack.
  • Review your insurance policy. Standard homeowner’s and renter’s insurance do not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is a separate policy. It includes a 30-day waiting period before it takes effect. To find out if you have flood insurance, check with your insurance company or agent.

Batten down the hatches at home

  • Clear your yard. Before you evacuate, move lawn furniture, bicycles, grills or other outdoor items inside your garage or basement. It’s important to remove anything that could blow around and damage your home during the storm.
  • Cover windows or doors. Nail pieces of plywood over glass windows and doors to protect them from flying debris.
  • Unplug appliances. And if possible, turn off the gas, power and water.

To learn more about how to prepare for severe weather, visit Alabama Power’s online storm center.