NHC, FEMA officials advise hurricane preparedness ahead of 2021 storm season


The countdown to hurricane season is on, and with only a few weeks to go until the official start, there’s still plenty of time to plan and prepare.

National Hurricane Preparedness Week comes to an end Saturday, ahead of the start of storm season, June 1.

“2020 was a doozy: 30 named storms. It was a record,” said Ken Graham, director of the National Hurricane Center. “A hundred and seventy years of record keeping, and we had 30 named storms. We ran out of names last season.”

After weathering a historic hurricane season and the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, officials said taking steps to be prepared is key.

“Adjust your preparedness today, so that, if you have to evacuate this summer, you can do it safely,” said Deanne Criswell, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, “because there are two threats: there is the threat of the storm, but there’s also the threat of COVID-19.”

Officials from NHC in West Miami-Dade on Thursday gave tips to help keep residents safe.

“Know how you’re going to get information, sign up for those information alerts from your local emergency management agency, or looking at the local news stations and websites,” said Criswell. “Understand how you’re going to get that information. Have a plan. Work with your family, your loved ones. Make sure that you’re taken care of, your family is taken care of, but also look out for your neighbors and those that are the most vulnerable out there.”

Experts said 80% of hurricane fatalities during a storm surge. Hidden dangers from the improper use of generators can also be deadly.

“In the end, not a single storm surge fatality during Hurricane Laura. However, we lost 16 people from carbon monoxide,” said Graham.

With the 2021 hurricane season predicted to be more active than usual, officials stressed that preparation is the best protection.

“If we made it work in 2020, there’s no reason why we can’t make that work in future hurricane seasons,” said Graham.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is scheduled to announce its initial outlook for the 2021 hurricane season next week.


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