There's really not much we can do about it, hurricane season is once again upon us.  I truly hope and pray that the seas will cooperate and leave us all free of disaster.  However, now is the time to start taking all of the precautionary measures.

We've already had a couple of named storms and hurricane season doesn't officially start til June 1st.  Tropical storm Beryl ripped through Georgia and Florida during the Memorial Day holiday, making for a soggy weekend for some.  Ironically, Beryl is my little sisters name.  LOL!  Now, that's a storm!  All jokes aside, with the storms starting early, hopefully that's no indication of a busy season.

As we all brace ourselves, here's a few things your gonna wanna know.  For starters, The National Hurricane Center has adjusted the winds for tropical weather this year to be as follows.

- CAT 3 will be winds from 111-129mph
- CAT 4 will be 130-156mph
- CAT 5 will now be anything 157mph and greater.

Another change that will impact people like us living in the hurricane impact areas is the use of tape for windows.  Now the recommendation is to use hurricane clamps or nails to put boards up in your windows instead.

However, the very best advice is this.  If a large storm is coming that could probably be a CAT2 or higher.......EVACUATE.  Board up your windows, lock down your home, take your animals with you if can (possibly board them at a vet in a safe place) and move yourself and family to higher ground.  Houses can be rebuilt…families can’t.

For now, being prepared is THE key.  Speaking of which, now is a good time to  gather ALL your personal papers, such as bank accounts, life insurance policies, house mortgages and other documents.  Put them in a get up and go case so when and if a storm comes, you can just pick up and go.

Another thing to have ready is a hurricane shelter kit.  Some things you may want to include in this are bottled water ( a ample amount for each person in your household for a few days),  canned foods, hygiene items, medication and clothes packed into a place in your house for easy access.

As the season gets closer, make sure to have yourself prepared so you don’t get left behind.

Source: redOrbit

Thanks to our friends at Northwestern State University, they had some great advice to offer as far as planning ahead.  Here's what they suggest:

Plan Ahead for Hurricane Season

When officials recommend evacuation

• Coordinate your departure with people who will be traveling with you. Notify an out-of-area person of your plans.
• Secure your home.
• Put your disaster supplies kit in your vehicle. Double check evacuation routes and leave.

Who Should Plan to Leave Early

• Residents of low-lying areas
• Persons living in manufactured housing
• Persons with special needs -- including health or mobility related concerns

Secure Your Home

• Turn off gas, water & electricity
• Board up windows
• Draw drapes across windows
• Brace garage doors
• Bring in outdoor furniture and other loose objects, anchor items you cannot bring inside
• Place boats on trailers, tie them down close to home and fill with water
• Lock all windows and doors
• Make arrangements for animals (most shelters do not allow pets)

Evacuation Tips

• Keep your vehicle in good repair with a full tank of fuel
• Check on friends and neighbors who may have special needs
• Prepare you disaster supplies kit now. Take it with you when you evacuate
• Secure you home quickly -- evacuate when asked to do so
• Have an out-of-area point of contact whom family and friends can call to learn your evacuation plans
• If possible, take a CB Radio or cell phone with you. Use it only in emergencies.
• Monitor Emergency Alert Stations (EAS) for the latest news or information.

Your Disaster Supplies Kit:

• Can Opener
• 3-Day Supply of Non-Perishable Food
• Bedding or Sleeping Bags
• Fire Extinguisher
• Bleach (no lemon or other additives)
• Mosquito repellent
• Extra Prescription Medicine (or refill information)
• Baby food, diapers and formula
• First Aid Kit
• Water (gallon per person per day)
• Eating Utensils
• Tarp, Rope & Duct Tape
• Toiletries
• Toilet Paper
• Batter-Operated Radio
• Flashlights
• Extra Batteries
• Extra Keys
• Sunglasses
• Eyeglasses (or prescription)
• Hearing Aid or Other Special Items
• Important Papers including Insurance, Money, Checks or Credit Cards
• Name, Address and Telephone Number of Out-of-Area Contact Person

After A Severe Tropical Storm or Hurricane

Stay out of disaster areas which could be dangerous and where your presence will interfere with essential rescue and recovery work. Do not drive unless you must. Roads should be left clear for emergency vehicles and debris removal equipment. Remember, debris-filled streets are dangerous.

Along the coast, soil may erode beneath pavement or bridge supports, which could collapse under the weight of a car. Be wary of inland flooding. Citizens returning home should expect the worst and take precautions to assure their safety.
Precautions to take when returning home:

• Do not use the telephone except for major emergencies.
• Beware of loose or dangling power lines. Many lives are lost through electrocution.
• Walk or drive cautiously. Watch out for snakes.
• Do not use water until you receive word that it is safe. Eat only foods you are absolutely sure are safe. If power has been out, food that was refrigerated or frozen may not be safe to eat.
• Don't light candles. Do not attempt to turn on utilities.
• Be wary of dangerous or frightened animals.
• Use care handling power tools, gas lanterns, generators and matches.
• Call your insurance company to file a claim if your home is damaged, ask your insurance company for financial help.
• Listen to local radio stations for official disaster relief information and instructions.

Follow these precautions and you will be good to go.  It's always better to be safe than sorry.  Besides knowing what to do, is half the battle.