Wicked Weather Week: Hurricanes - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Wicked Weather Week: Hurricanes

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Hurricane season kicks off in just a few weeks. As you know, the East Coast is always at risk. So what kind of tropical trouble is in store for us this year and how you can prepare?

June 1st to November 30th is hurricane season and living in the Mid-Atlantic region, that means we have to be prepared for anything and everything the impact of a hurricane can deliver.

Residents trapped on their rooftops awaiting rescue, massive electrical fires tearing through homes, a boardwalk roller coaster partially submerged in the ocean. These are the dramatic images from the aftermath of systems like Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy that are burned into our memories and it's only a matter of time until the next big one.

We can't control Mother Nature, but we can control what we do to prepare.

“It doesn't even take one to make landfall in Ocean City and track to D.C. to be big impact here,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Strong. “A storm could hit in New Orleans and track all the way through the southeast United States, and by the time it gets here, it could still be a big impact too.”

Wind is typically the main issue close to the landfall area, but torrential rain, tidal surge and possible tornadoes all carry a great potential for damage as well.

Strong tracks each system to determine the biggest threat.

“Which of the four threats is going to be the problem and which ones we really have to watch out for as these systems come through,” said Strong. “Each one really has their own personality.”

What have been some of our biggest storms in the past decade?

D.C. saw heavy rain and hurricane force winds from Hurricane Isabel in 2003, while Annapolis and Baltimore suffered from major flooding.

Then in 2011, Hurricane Irene headed from Florida to New England and brought some unexpected almost unreal drama when it passed through Ocean City -- which I witnessed first-hand.

Then in 2012, Superstorm Sandy arrived and packed quite a punch. While our neighbors to the north felt the brunt of the storm and a record storm surge across New Jersey and New York, we saw tropical storm winds and heavy rain.

So what's ahead for this hurricane season?

“The early indications are El Nino is going fire up in the Pacific and that tends to bring a lot of turbulence and winds over to places hurricanes form in the Atlantic and tends to suppress it a little bit,” said Strong.

He added, “The official NOAA forecast comes out later in May. As a whole, the Atlantic Basin will probably have less than a typical season, but we need to be ready for the one any time.”

FEMA recommends creating emergency kits for your home, office and car.

“Make sure you have enough supplies to be self-sustained without power, without water, without outside help for a few days,” said Strong.

Don't forget any necessary medication, flashlights and batteries or another backup power supply. But it's also crucial to track the storm ahead of time as it approaches.

“The biggest thing you can do is be connected,” said Strong. “That you’re getting warning information through the FOX 5 Weather App. Most of the county governments around here have text alerts as well. If you can get those warning messages quickly, then you'll know that it's coming.”

With hurricane season fast approaching and our recent history of damaging storms, it is more important than ever to stay diligent and prepared for nature's biggest storms.

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