So, why an "official" season? These dates are when 97% of hurricanes have formed. It is a starting point to talk about storms and put people on alert. Unfortunately, people have become so easily desensitized by media shouting gloom and doom in an attempt to boost ratings, that the opposite effect has taken over. The more people are warned the less likely they are to prepare in advance.
It is my opinion that this is a reaction to all the media noise. If a person is warned that hurricanes are coming as if it were to happen tomorrow and it doesn't, it is the boy crying wolf. By the time a storm is near shore, few people are taking the alerts seriously.
First and foremost I blame the many news media for trying to fill time with non-news. This is news that has not happened. If it hasn't happened, it isn't news, in my opinion. To cut down on the gloomy forecasts, I limit the outlets I use. Flipping from channel to channel or watching the 'news ' for hours on end is upsetting. I choose the hour I will watch and I choose the outlet I will watch. After the news, if I need more information, I look for it online.
I have relatives and their relatives that I encourage to keep on hand a weather related prep box no matter where they live. In Colorado, it makes sense to have the same supplies on hand for their sudden snow storms as I have for a hurricane. We need flashlights, batteries, radios, food, tarps, first aid and water. This is basic. Perhaps, instead of tarps to protect a damaged roof from raining on your furniture, you need blankets in Colorado, so adjust according to your needs.
The same supplies can be used in the Mid-West during last years hellish summer of drought. Stock a pantry with extra bottles of water in case you are on a rolling "brown out" with limited power or the municipal water is turned off for a few hours a day and you will be more comfortable than those who just wait and whine.
Anyone living anywhere has weather. Weather has it's extremes and these things tend to be seasonal. You don't need the news reporters to tell you it will snow in Siberia or that it will rain in Hawaii, and there will be tornadoes in Oklahoma. If you live there, you know.
I found a list online that is better than the one on the governments hurricane readiness site. This one is an official earthquake preparedness site.
If you do not have an emergency kit prepared then here is a comprehensive list of things that you should stock up on:
- Water -- 1 gallon per person per day (a week's supply of water is preferable)
- Water purification kit
- First aid kit, freshly stocked
- First aid book
- Can opener (non-electric)
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Portable radio, flashlight and spare batteries
- Essential medications
- Extra pair of eyeglasses
- Extra pair of house and car keys
- Fire extinguisher -- A-B-C type
- Food, water and restraint (leash or carrier) for pets
- Cash and change
- Baby supplies: formula, bottle, pacifier, soap and baby powder, clothing, blankets, baby wipes, disposable diapers, canned food and juices.
- Large plastic trash bags for waste; tarps and rain ponchos
- Large trash cans
- Bar soap and liquid detergent
- Toothpaste and toothbrushes
- Feminine hygiene supplies
- Toilet paper
- Household bleach
Safety and Comfort
- Sturdy shoes
- Heavy gloves for clearing debris
- Candles and matches
- Light sticks
- Change of clothing
- Knife or razor blades
- Garden hose for siphoning and firefighting
- Communication kit: paper, pens, stamps
- Plastic knives, forks, spoons
- Paper plates and cups
- Paper towels
- Heavy-duty aluminum foil
- Camping stove for outdoor cooking (caution: before using fire to cook, make sure there are no gas leaks; never use charcoal indoors)
Tools and Supplies
- Axe, shovel, broom
- Adjustable wrench for turning off gas
- Tool kit including a screwdriver, pliers and a hammer
- Coil of 1/2" rope
- Plastic tape, staple gun and sheeting for window replacement
- City map