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We have several tools for predicting storms. Download them and prepare.

We have several tools for predicting storms.  Download them and prepare.

Somewhere in the Atlantic right now a new storm is forming. It could be a devastating hurricane. Are you ready for it? Unfortunately, evidence shows that most of us are not.

As an emergency manager and climate scientist, what keeps us up at night for hurricane season 2022 is the fact that people probably know how to prepare for a hurricane, but most of us do not.

Every hurricane survivor will share a story about how actions they took before a storm saved their lives, and in some cases the lives of others. Our message is simple: identify your risk, have a plan and act today.

Identify your risks

For the seventh year in a row, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency predicts a hurricane season above normal: 14-21 named storms with 4 to 6 of these storms having the potential to become major hurricanes.

Climate data continues to show that hurricanes spin up faster, provide fuel for greater storm surges, drive stronger winds and have more serious impacts. The main cause of hurricane-related deaths is inland flooding from heavy rainfall, often days after a storm hits.

Increasingly, inland areas are experiencing devastating effects from hurricanes. Under Harvey, Houston was flooded with five feet of rain, causing $ 125 billion in damage and at least 68 tragic deaths.

Under Harvey, Houston was flooded with five feet of rain, causing $ 125 billion in damage and at least 68 tragic deaths.

NOAA provides increasingly accurate and precise data and forecasts that inform about critical decisions made by local emergency managers. For example, NOAA now releases flood and flood risk from tropical storms and hurricanes 3-5 days out, giving communities extra time to prepare for floods. This information is essential to help federal, state and local emergency managers better focus their efforts on staging supplies and evacuations as needed.

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FEMA, in strong collaboration with NOAA, encourages communities to use this knowledge as an early warning for early and rapid action. Individuals, communities and the federal government all have a role to play in the preparations for this hurricane season.

Have a plan

When it comes to individual hurricane preparedness and preparedness, our biggest enemy complacency. A recent FEMA survey found that 98 percent of households know that a disaster will affect them, but less than half have made an emergency plan.

Therefore, we encourage you to create an emergency plan based on your risk and share it with your family. Assemble a disaster relief kit. Know your evacuation route. Prepare your home. Download the FEMA app to access weather forecasts. Follow local authorities on social media, or subscribe to alerts, and listen to their instructions on when and if to evacuate. Help your neighbors get ready. If you are not sure what to do, ask, read, learn. FEMA’s Ready.gov and Listo.gov (Español) have detailed instructions on how to prepare for a hurricane, including checklists.

Preparation does not have to be expensive. You can set aside food and medical equipment, prepare jugs of clean water, check your radio batteries, clean your garden, secure outdoor furniture, and copy important documents that you may need to take with you if you leave your property.

This is critical no matter where you live.

But much has changed since Harvey; we have more tools to predict storms, as well as new technology to help individuals better prepare. FEMA’s new mobile app is far more accessible to the disabled and allows users to submit applications for assistance. We are more aware of what a real mitigating effect looks like. We know the importance of modern building regulations and work in collaboration with the White House through a national initiative to build stronger structures that can withstand stronger storms.

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What remains unchanged is the importance of individual actions. Your actions mean something. They make a difference and can save lives. If we sound like a broken record, that’s fine. This is more than a friendly reminder: it is an urgent call to action.

Remember: just because an area was not affected by a hurricane in recent years, does not mean it will be saved this time. Historical storm patterns are changing. This is why it is important that all societies understand and embrace their risk.

FEMA is facing the hurricane season 2022 armed with NOAA data and forecasts and maintains its forward-looking stance all year round. NOAA and FEMA are ready for this hurricane season. Are you?

Deanne Criswell is the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator and Dr. Richard W. Spinrad is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administrator.

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