Brunswick County reminds public to prepare for 2022 hurricane season
Director of Emergency Services Edward Conrow speaks at 2022 Hurricane Conference
BOLIVIA, N.C. – June 1 is the start of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that it will be an above-normal hurricane season this year. As Brunswick County is gearing up in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season, it is important for the public to be prepared as well.
Based on 30 years of climate data collected from 1991 to 2020 by the NOAA, an average Atlantic hurricane season has 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5). The areas affected by the Atlantic season include those near the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico.
For the 2022 hurricane season, NOAA is forecasting that it is 65% likely our nation will experience 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher). Of these hurricanes, there is a chance that three to six could be major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).
However, county officials warn residents and visitors to look beyond hurricane category levels and consider other factors like storm surge, rainfall, and risks for flooding and tornadoes when a tropical storm or hurricane is expected to make landfall to ensure they are making the most informed choices about how to respond to a storm.
Brunswick County is still recovering from the devastation caused by multiple large tropical storms and hurricanes from the last few years—many of which were ranked as lower category storms when they made landfall in Brunswick County including Hurricane Isaias in 2020 (Category 1), Hurricane Dorian in 2019 (Category 1 (upon landfall in North Carolina)), Hurricane Florence in 2018 (Category 1), and Hurricane Matthew in 2016 (Category 1).
“We want to emphasize how important is it to prepare for an emergency,” Deputy Director of Emergency Management David McIntire said. “No matter what category a hurricane is classified as, it has the chance to cause severe damage in a variety of ways. It’s never too early to prepare for a storm, especially on the coast. We want to remind our residents and visitors to stay prepared, stay informed, and stay ready.”
According to the North Carolina State Climate Office, 387 storms have affected North Carolina since 1851, and 84 of these storms have made direct landfall in North Carolina. There is an average of two years between storms making direct landfall, and an average of five months between the total storms affecting the state’s coast.
“As Brunswick County grows, we get a lot of people moving in that might not know how to prepare for a hurricane,” Director of Emergency Services Edward Conrow said. “In our coastal county, we run the risk of enduring hurricanes each year. Hurricanes bring life-threatening hazards such as strong winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surges that we need to be prepared for. It is important that you and your family come up with a plan on what you will do before, during, and after a storm.”
As part of its preparation efforts, Brunswick County hosted a hurricane conference on May 9 for coastal county and state leaders to discuss ways in which leadership can be prepared and prepare the public for the 2022 hurricane season.
Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, with the peak season from mid-August to late October. All Brunswick County residents and visitors are strongly encouraged to create an emergency plan in preparation for hurricanes and tropical storms. Plans should include your evacuation plans, important phone numbers, important documents, proof of insurance coverage, and an emergency kit.
Some hurricane preparedness tips from Brunswick County Emergency Management and Emergency Services include:
- Know the terms. A Hurricane Watch indicates hurricane conditions (sustained winds greater than 74 mph) are possible. Watches are usually issued 48 hours before the beginning of tropical-storm-force-winds. A Hurricane Warning indicates hurricane conditions (sustained winds greater than 74 mph) are expected. Warnings are usually issued 36 hours before the beginning of tropical-storm-force-winds. A Tropical Storm Warning indicates tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within 36 hours.
- Know your zone. Visit the NC Department of Public Safety’s Know Your Zone webpage to view the areas most at risk of storm surges and flooding in Brunswick County. Local officials use the zones to determine which areas should be evacuated in case of an emergency.
- Create an evacuation plan. When planning where to evacuate, we recommend moving inland. Make sure to find a place to stay in advance that is outside of typical affected areas and that is not in flood-prone areas. Hurricane shelters are a last resort, so plan to stay with family, friends, or at a hotel outside of the area if possible.
- Know who to call. Make a list of all important phone numbers you’ll need in an emergency. We encourage you to use phones sparingly and have portable chargers on hand in case of power outages. If you know a hurricane or emergency event is about to happen or is happening and you still have power, make sure that all communication devices are charged and ready to use. During the event of a hurricane, only make essential calls and keep them brief. If you are reporting an emergency to 911, making sure to speak clearly and calmly while identifying yourself, your location, and your emergency.
- Gather important documents. Gather all your important documents and information in an easily accessible place in case of an emergency so that you can take it with you when evacuating. Important documents include, but are not limited to, copies of your driver’s license, passport, social security card, insurance policies, individual and pet vaccination records, medical records, blood type, prescriptions, and bank account information. Getting a portable and flood resistant safe is a secure and easy way to have your documents in one place and ready to go.
- Check your insurance. Before an emergency strikes, review your insurance policies to ensure your property is covered for any flooding or natural disasters that could occur.
- Prepare an emergency kit. An emergency kit is vital for your survival in situations where help might not be easily accessible due to power outages, flooding, and road damage. When preparing an emergency kit, it is recommended to prepare three to seven days-worth of non-perishable food and water for each member of the family and pets. North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Brunswick County has prepared a hurricane cookbook to help individuals and families prepare meals in advance in case of an emergency.
- Prepare your home. Have a plan and prepare materials to secure your home, especially doors, garages, and windows, from damage that could be caused by wind and debris. Keep the trees on your property trimmed and have dead or leaning trees removed. You can also secure any loose items on your property and clean out your rain gutters and downspouts.
- Subscribe to emergency alerts. Residents and visitors can sign up for text and email alerts from CodeRED, Brunswick County’s emergency alert center. After signing up, you can also download the CodeRED mobile alert app to stay informed of community, emergency, and severe weather alerts directly on your mobile device.
- Stay informed. During an emergency, stay tuned to reliable local media outlets and Brunswick County on Twitter, Facebook, and Nextdoor for continuous updates. You can also subscribe to receive email updates from the County to stay updated on media releases and important announcements.
- Sign up for the Special Needs Registry. Residents are strongly encouraged to sign up for the Brunswick County Special Needs Registry if they have additional needs in functional areas. These functional needs may include but are not limited to maintaining independence, communication, transportation, supervision, and medical care. Residents in the Access & Functional Needs (AFN) Registry will be contacted by our staff when an emergency event is anticipated or has occurred.
For the latest information on hurricane preparedness and updates from Brunswick County Emergency Services, visit brunswickcountync.gov/emergency/hurricanes/
More information on emergency planning, preparedness, and hurricanes is online at ReadyNC.gov
For NHS and NOAA updates, a real-time emergency weather map, and additional resources, visit nhc.noaa.gov/
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