The 2021 hurricane season runs from June through November, but you still have time to prepare. We talked to the National Weather Service and the Texas Division of Emergency Management for tips on being prepared this storm season. We’ll also talk about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning after a storm.
How did the 2020 hurricane season compare to others?
Last year was one for the record books. We had 30 named storms. That was a record. The previous record was in 2005, when we had 28.
Are we still using the Greek alphabet to name hurricanes?
No, the National Weather Service will no longer be using the Greek alphabet to name storms. It was too confusing.
Are storms becoming more frequent or stronger?
We've had five consecutive years with above average hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean. So that’s a trend of more hurricanes and more tropical systems in the Atlantic.
How should we be preparing for the 2021 hurricane season?
Everybody should be preparing the same way, every year, which is more than last season. Make sure you have your evacuation kits. Know where you’ll go if a storm is approaching.
What should be in a family’s disaster kit?
Develop a disaster kit that has enough water and food for your family for three days. Also throw in a flashlight, batteries, and solar phone chargers. Then gather important documents, like your insurance policies. And don’t forget food and supplies for your pets.
How can we prepare our houses?
- Storm proofing your house doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are a few things you can do now:
- Apply sealants to cracks in foundations and windows.
- Install check valves on your pipes.
- Point your gutter runoff away from your house.
- Find the emergency gas and water shut off valves.
- For more tips, see Hurricane season: How to prepare your home and property
Once a storm is coming your way:
- Lift your washer and dryer off the floor with a wood pallet or concrete block.
- Clean out your gutters.
- Move things off the floor and to an upper floor or to the top of a closet.
- Shut off your electricity to avoid water killing the system.
Can generators cause carbon monoxide poisoning?
Sheletta Brundidge tells her story about losing five family members to carbon monoxide poisoning from a gas-powered generator. When the family went to bed, they left a generator running in the attached garage. A strong wind blew the garage door shut while they slept. Fumes from the generator seeped into the house and everyone inside died from carbon monoxide poisoning. There was no carbon monoxide detector in the home.
What are warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning?
The early warning signs can be a headache, fatigue, and dizziness. You can also get short of breath, blurred vision, and even faint.
Do I need a carbon monoxide detector?
It's a good idea to have carbon monoxide detectors in any home. If you have an attached garage or a gas water heater, gas heat, gas cooking appliances, or even a fireplace, you need to install detectors. For more tips, see How to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning at home.