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These tools will prepare you for hurricanes

Alabama Power is urging customers to prepare for the effects of severe tropical weather as the Atlantic hurricane season enters its normal busy stretch.

The official hurricane season for the Atlantic basin (the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico) is June 1 to Nov. 30. However, as data from the National Hurricane Center shows, the peak of the season is from mid-August to late October, a fact proved again last year when a record-high 30 named storms formed in the Atlantic basin, 18 of which formed between Aug. 13 and Oct. 25. Two of those storms – Sally and Zeta – caused hundreds of thousands of power outages across Alabama.

The updated outlook released Wednesday from NOAA said the number of expected named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater) is 15-21, including seven to 10 hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater), of which three to five could become major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5 with winds 111 mph or greater). This includes the five named storms that have formed so far.

How Alabama Power can help you prepare for hurricanes from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Get service updates from Alabama Power’s online outage map. (contributed)

Since last year, Alabama Power has improved outage communications. Customers can now sign up for outage alerts, report outages from their smartphones and see outage updates instantly on the company’s new online outage map.

“We understand our customers look to us to restore service as quickly and safely as possible when severe weather strikes,” said Alabama Power spokesperson Dennis Washington. “These tools allow customers to track restoration progress through their preferred method of communication.”

Visit Alabama Power’s Storm Center at for more information on how to sign up for outage alerts and prepare for severe weather.

Preparing for a hurricane

If you don’t already have a hurricane plan in place, here are some questions to answer to make sure you and your family are ready:

Things to know about hurricanes from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

As you prepare or update your plan, tailor it to your daily needs and responsibilities. Discuss how people in your network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets or other challenges, such as operating medical equipment. Some additional factors to consider when developing your plan:

  • Different ages of people in your household.
  • Responsibilities for assisting others.
  • Dietary needs.
  • Medical needs, including prescriptions and equipment.
  • Accommodating and meeting the needs of family members with disabilities.
  • What to do with pets or service animals.

Identify in advance a friend or relative who doesn’t live in an evacuation zone who can provide shelter for you and your family in case you have to leave home.

What every emergency supply kit should include from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Emergency managers want you to know how to keep your family safe from deadly storms.

  • Stay informed. Check weather forecasts regularly, through local news or by using a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio.
  • Have a plan. Before you’re told to evacuate, be sure you and your loved ones have an emergency weather plan that includes where to go and how to get there. 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 to be boarded during an emergency weather event. Put your plan in writing for you and those you care about. Learn more at
  • 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 a storm’s arrival. Learn more at
  • 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 and homeowners insurance coverage cannot be increased once a storm has been identified. Learn more at

Strengthen Your Home from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

For more information about how to be prepared for storms, in any season, please visit Alabama Power’s Storm Center at