Hurricane Ian is a strong Category 4 storm slowing off Florida’s west coast and its effects will be felt throughout most of Florida and Georgia. The National Weather Service says Georgia can expect heavy flooding. It’s also possible that high winds may knock out power to widespread areas across the state. As of press time, the National Weather Service in Peachtree City is predicting strong wind gusts and one to four inches of rain:
[❗6AM Update❗] Impacts from #HurricaneIan 🌀 will span well beyond the center of circulation. Extended periods of wind gusts (30+ mph) and heavy rainfall (1-4 inches) will be the primary hazards from early Thursday through early Sunday for north and central GA. #gawx pic.twitter.com/wqH2adQrAk— NWS Atlanta (@NWSAtlanta) September 28, 2022
Don’t be fooled by the beautiful weather today! Now is the time to make a plan and to check your emergency supplies in case of power outages and storm damage here in Clayton County and metro Atlanta. Worst case scenario: you’ll be ready for any other storms coming our way this hurricane season. Please share this information with family, friends, and neighbors.
Your emergency kit
Every home should have an emergency kit. Assemble your kit and place items in one or more plastic bins.
Your emergency kit should contain:
- a first aid kit (see below for details on what to put in it)
- a roll of duct tape
- one or more tarps
- poncho or rain gear
- hat with brim to keep off sun/rain
- work gloves
- plain household bleach (non-scented) or water purification tablets
- flashlight (with extra batteries)
- heavy-duty garbage bags (can double as ponchos)
- paracord, bungee cords, twine, or other items to fasten a tarp
- jackknife or Leatherman with several tool accessories (screwdrivers, etc.)
- a small camp stove with the correct fuel (some stoves can only use one kind of fuel, so check your stove and the fuel canister before you buy).
- waterproof matches or lighter
- small battery-powered radio with weather band and backup batteries (in case the Internet goes out)
- a manual can opener
- several days’ worth of canned goods, instant soup, precooked rice, etc.
- heavy-duty Ziploc bags (quart or gallon size)
- your important personal documents (vaccination card, wallet/ID, credit card, prescriptions, emergency contacts, birth certificate, naturalization papers, legal documents, etc.) inside of a Ziploc bag
- permanent marker
- small notebook and ballpoint pen
- cash (in case ATMs go down or are empty)
- pet food, vaccination tags, medical records, bowls, leashes, medicines, etc.
- batteries and chargers for any electronic items you use (consider a small solar panel or a rechargeable power booster for your phone (charge it up before the storm)
- personal care items (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
- insect repellent
- fire extinguisher
Consider what other items you might need for your household’s situation. That could include things like a generator, spare fuel cans, cleaning wipes for surfaces, personal care wipes, or disposable diapers.
Collect clean tap water (cheaper than buying bottled water) in clean containers at home. You can clean your bathtub thoroughly and fill it with water as an emergency backup. Be sure to boil any water you use for cooking or drinking over an extended period of time.
At minimum, you should at least have a change of clothes in a plastic bag and any medications and personal paperwork, wrapped in a couple of plastic bags, inside a backpack.
Things to consider putting in your kit include:
- A first aid kit that includes not just Band-Aids and antibiotic cream, but a bandana or Ace bandage for sprains, medicine for stomach problems, aspirin or other mild over-the-counter painkillers, Ora-Jel for dental pain, and any prescription medicines you take regularly. You also can ask any pharmacy for a free dose of naloxone (Narcan), which can be given to a person suffering from opioid overdose.
- If you are insulin-dependent, be sure you have a way to keep your insulin cold for several days in case of extended power outages and that you have a stock of sterile syringes on hand.
- If you have life-threatening allergies, be sure you have an extra Epi-Pen if needed.
Before the storm
- Monitor your local TV weather forecasts.
- Listen to the National Weather Service’s NOAA Weather broadcasts.
- Pay special attention to state, county, and local emergency authorities, who will have information specific to your area.
- Know where the nearest emergency shelter is and how to get there.
- Make a plan with relatives and neighbors.
- Check on seniors, people with disabilities, and non-English speakers in your immediate area.
- Fill up your car or truck’s gas tank or fully charge your EV. Limit unnecessary trips.
- Trim dangerous branches.
- Secure all loose items outside your home (bikes, potted plants, lawn furniture, barbecue pits, etc.). A tornado or high winds from a hurricane’s outer bands can send heavy objects flying.
- Check your bank balance and pay any upcoming bills if you are able to.
- Secure firearms and ammunition in a safe to protect against storm damage or unauthorized use.
During the storm
- Stay inside. Do not go outside during high winds or lightning.
- Avoid the roads, especially in low-lying areas (like Upper Riverdale Road or Forest Parkway under the train bridge).
- Do not drive through standing water. Even if you have an SUV, pickup truck, or Jeep, it only takes a couple of inches of water to float your vehicle. At that point, you will be at the mercy of floodwaters.
- Stay tuned to the National Weather Service and local news and weather broadcasts for the latest information for your area. Do not rely on Internet connections for potentially lifesaving information like tornado warnings. Hurricanes can spawn tornadoes.
After the storm
- Check on your loved ones and neighbors. Follow your plan.
- Assess storm damage to your home/vehicle.
- Contact your insurance agent if necessary.
- Georgia Power asks that you unplug all items that restart automatically after an outage. This takes the load off the power grid. Turn on your porch light so that crews outside know when your power is connected.
- Never run a generator inside a house, garage, or other enclosed space, even with the door or window open.
- Do not use camp stoves indoors.
- Do not roam around sightseeing or shooting social media videos.
- Avoid downed power lines and report them to Georgia Power if possible.
- Conserve food and water. It may take several days for power to be restored.
- Wear closed-toe shoes to avoid injury.
- Listen to local news and weather updates.
- Preserve your cell phone battery for emergency communications. Text messages use far less energy than Facebook or other graphics-heavy social media.