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Hurricane season is here

June 1 was the official start of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, and we encourage all readers to be as prepared as possible before the storms strike.

As they have been wont to do in recent years, this season kicked off early. Tropical Storm Ana has come and gone already this year, bringing wind and rain to Bermuda a week or two ago and kicking up surf and rip tides along parts of the U.S. East Coast.

Ana caused little to no damage, but it was only the first in what will likely be another busy hurricane season.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently provided these tips for area residents as hurricane season begins:

Know your risk. These storms are not just a coastal threat. Extreme flooding and damaging winds could occur hundreds of miles inland.

Begin planning. Know what you’ll do if a storm is coming to your area, how to stay in touch with family and friends, and where you will go if your home is unsafe. Visit ready.gov for preparedness and planning tips.

Make a kit. Make sure you have non-perishable food items, water, essential documents, flashlights, a battery back or other means of charging your cell phone, NOAA weather radio, toys or comfort items for kids, and any supplies needed for your pet. Have enough supplies to last at least 72 hours, but preparing to be on your own for up to a week is a good idea. Learn more at ready.gov/kit.

Download the FEMA app. By having the FEMA app installed on your smartphone, you can receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service, share real-time notifications with loved ones, review emergency preparedness tips and checklists, locate emergency shelters, and more.

Stay informed. Enable Wireless Emergency Alerts on your mobile phone to receive emergency alerts from the National Weather Service. A NOAA Weather Radio can also provide these lifesaving emergency alerts.

Pay attention to weather forecasts in your area provided by local news outlets or the National Weather Service. Many people also use weather apps on their mobile phones for this purpose.

Always follow the guidance of local officials during an emergency. If your community has an emergency alert system, you should consider signing up. Contact your local emergency manager for more information.

Purchase flood insurance. Talk to your insurance provider about your coverage and determine if you would be covered in the event of a flood. Most homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage. Flood insurance takes 30 days to become effective, so don’t wait until a storm is on its way. Visit floodsmart.gov for more information.

Know your zone. If you live in a coastal area, become familiar with community evacuation plans, evacuation zones, and evacuation routes. Where will you go and how will you get there? Visit knowyourzoneva.org

More information on how to prepare may be found at ready.gov/hurricanes.