Hurricane season officially begins

(WTNH) — Thursday marks the official opening of hurricane season, and meteorologists are predicting it could be a busy one.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting between 11 and 17 named storms this season. Between five and nine of those storms are expected to become hurricanes, with four potentially becoming major hurricanes.

Major hurricanes are classified by having wind speeds of at least 111 miles per hour.

The last major tropical storm to affect Connecticut was Hurricane Sandy back in Oct. 2012.

Darryl Arnette has lived by the water in Milford for 11 years. He was there during Irene and Sandy. In the nearly five years since Sandy he has fixed his house, and he does some things differently now.

“We’ve put together some decks that are three to four feet off the ground so we can store our patio furniture that way,” Arnette said.

Sandy has left its mark on the shoreline. This year marks five years since that storm, and some people are still rebuilding.

“Things are still progressing. Just last week we had a house that was destroyed during Sandy that was just torn down,” said Captain Greg Carman of the Milford Fire Department.

There are damaged homes that still need to be razed, and some that have been demoed and never rebuilt. Though many residents do not brace for storms until late summer, the Milford Fire Department recommends getting ready now.

“We still just make sure that our gear is ready, our equipment is ready,” Carman said.

Many residents who live on the shoreline are now ready for bad weather – not just during hurricane season, but year round. They are especially careful when hurricane season hits.

“Oh no, not again, because we went through Irene and then 14 months later we had Hurricane Sandy,” Arnette said.

The state has a guide to emergency preparedness to help you get ready: http://www.ct.gov/dph/lib/dph/communications/preparedness/emer_prep_guide_final.pdf

The state and many communities have emergency notification systems that send alerts about storms and other emergencies right to your phone.

Governor Dannel Malloy and state emergency management officials have compiled a list of recommended items to include in a basic emergency supply kit. These items include:

  • At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • A whistle to signal for help
  • Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • A manual can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • Food and litter requirements for any pets
  • Medicine or any special need items, including diapers for infants

Officials also devised a family emergency plan to follow in case of a hurricane. The plan reads as follows:

Identify an out-of- town contact. It may be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members. Be sure every member of your family knows the phone number and has a cell phone, coins, or a prepaid phone card to call the emergency contact. If you have a cell phone, program that person(s) as “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If you are in an accident, emergency personnel will often check your ICE listings in order to get a hold of someone you know. Make sure to tell your family and friends that you’ve listed them as emergency contacts. Teach family members how to use text messaging. Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through, and it uses less battery life. Plan ahead and preset a family group text conversation in your phones.

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