Up north in areas like New York, Raleighites are made fun of for our response to weather events like snow, freezing rain, and other winter storms. However, there’s one storm everyone in the USA knows we’re ready to deal with, a hurricane. If you’re one of the many people who have become Raleighites since our last major hurricane in 1996 (Hurricane Fran), there are some things you need to know about so you’ll be around to tell tales of valor when you survive the impending Hurricane Florence.
First, just because we are known for handling hurricanes well, doesn’t mean this is something not to take seriously. If the only thing you take from this blog post is to TAKE THIS STORM SERIOUSLY AND PREPARE FOR IT I’ll be satisfied I did some form of public service. To prepare for the storm you need to have supplies on hand. To build your kit for this hurricane it’s too late at this point to order goods online, you must go to local stores. Check the Ready NC website for a checklist of what to include in your emergency kit. When you go to stock up on supplies please only take what you need. It’s important to be prepared, but don’t take so much you leave others unable to have what they need as well.
Secondly, water. Before you rush to the store to buy a ton of bottled water keep in mind Raleighites on the city’s water system didn’t lose water the entire time during the recovery from Hurricane Fran. If you’re on a well, that’s a different situation, and you need to make sure you have at least one gallon of water per person in your household per a day (prep for 3 days minimum). However, regardless of if you’re on a well or on city water, you should have working water before the storm hits. Instead of buying expensive bottled water look for containers to store water in. My family home was on a well and during Fran, we survived for several days off of water in filled up bathtubs.
Last, if your plans include a generator make sure you have gas. Also, make sure not to disturb neighbors with the noise of the generator at night. It’s going to get very hot in many homes while we wait for power to be restored. If you’re lucky enough to have running A/C at your home please consider inviting friends and neighbors over to cool off temporarily. This is especially true for the elderly who may be at serious risk of a medical emergency due to the heat and the storm. Be sure to check in on neighbors and those in need as well. A silver lining to these horrible storms is they are truely a great opportunity for cities to come together and help one another. If you have your generator hooked into your home’s electrical system make sure it’s hooked in via a transfer switch. If you do not use a properly installed transfer switch you risk “back-feeding” power into the utility lines and injuring line workers as they attempt to repair your power connection.
Hurricane Florence is expected to be more of an issue than Hurricane Fran caused in 1996. Many are comparing Florence to Hurricane Hazel (1954) which is the most destructive hurricane on record to impact Raleigh. Florence will bring high winds, but even more concerning will be the amount of rain. We’re known as the City of Oaks, but unfortunately, with enough water in the soil, these trees turn against us.
Aftermath of Hurricane Hazel, 16 October 1954 at the 100 block of North Person Street looking north. Raleigh…
People know North Carolina as a place ready to cope with the aftermath of hurricanes because we take them seriously. By taking the storm seriously you’ll be prepared to not only fend for yourself for a few days, but also to help your family, friends, and neighbors recover as well. Raleigh has more than twice the population it had when Hurricane Fran hit us in 1996. While some may see more people as a problem, I see it as more hands willing to help out once we start to recover from the storm.
Please use the below resources for more information from experts and government institutions to be ready for the hurricane (I’ll try to keep this updated):
- Check City of Raleigh flood map to see if you’re in an at-risk area for flooding
- Follow the Ready NC Facebook page & Twitter account for updates
- PS Keep your cell phone charged!
- Turn into WRAL news for updates on the storm
- Federal Emergency Management (FEMA)
- Town of Garner video on generator safety
- Duke Power / Progress Energy Outage Report
- Important to ALWAYS report a utility outage for power and water
- City of Raleigh Public Utilities (Water)
- To report an outage, call 919-996-3245
- ReadyWake.com website to look up emergency shelters.
- Its VERY important to know your closest shelter location in the event flooding quickly forces you from your home
- NC District Attorney to report price gouging
- Merchants are not allowed to drastically increase the price of emergency supplies like water or gas during an emergency situation. If you believe a merchant is price gouging, report them via this website.