BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Hurricane Season starts on June 1st, and this week is Hurricane Preparedness Week across the country. While Central Alabama doesn’t often feel the brunt of hurricanes, we do see impacts from time to time, and it’s a good idea to think about planning for hurricanes both here and along the Gulf Coast.

Hurricane season begins June 1st and ends November 30th, but storms can and do form outside those dates. Roughly 3% of named storms in the Atlantic basin occur outside of hurricane season. The peak of tropical activity occurs from mid August to late October.

The vast majority of fatalities in hurricanes are based on the water impacts of these storms, not wind. While storm surge is not a threat in Central Alabama, flooding is; and is the largest threat tropical systems pose once they move inland. Landfalling tropical systems can also produce damaging winds and tornadoes in Central Alabama.

Hurricanes and Tropical Storms are most often forecast using a cone of uncertainty. That cone is forecasting the most likely zone of landfall for the center of a storm. That cone will shrink as the storm gets closer, but it should be noted that the cone does not necessarily forecast the extent of the impacts storms have. Significant and deadly impacts from tropical storms and hurricanes can extend far beyond the cone of uncertainty. Make sure you have detailed sources for accurate weather information so you know exactly what impacts you can expect where you live.

Everyone in Alabama, especially those closer to the coast, should have a checklist for hurricane season. Making sure you have emergency supplies is crucial in both an evacuation and shelter-in-place situation. In addition to supplies for you and your family, you also need to make sure your pets have supplies too. Remember: in emergency situations like a hurricane, emergency response times can be very slow because of dangerous conditions. Make sure you have ample supplies of your daily medications, as well as plenty of sanitation items and food. Have enough food and safe drinking water for at least 3 days for each person and pet.

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