NOAA 2000-250
Contact: Bob Chartuk


With Hurricane Alberto brewing in the Atlantic Ocean about a thousand miles away from the Leward Islands, NOAA's National Weather Service urges residents to review their hurricane safety knowledge in case the storm threatens their area.

"Everyone living along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast States should know the answer to the question: "What will I do if a hurricane threatens my area?'" said retired Air Force Brigadier General Jack Kelly, director of the National Weather Service. "Hurricane activity has begun in the Atlantic and local officials, heads of households, and businesses have a responsibility to be aware and be prepared."

Although it is too early to assess Alberto's threat to land, those in hurricane-prone areas should have an emergency plan in place and take the time now to review evacuation, communication, and other procedures if they are forced to evacuate or batten down during a storm, according to Kelly.

"Number one, give hurricane safety some forethought and have an emergency plan in place," the Weather Service director said. "Number two, stay aware of the weather everyday through the media or NOAA Weather Radio and be ready to react. And number three, pay attention to local authorities: If you have to evacuate, do so as soon as possible in an orderly manner. If you don't have to leave, don't, so as to avoid overtaxing the local infrastructure."

Kelly extended his hurricane safety message to those living many miles inland. "Tropical systems are notorious producers of heavy rain and fresh water floods hundreds of miles from the coast," he said. "Damaging waves and storm surge may be the bane of coastal communities, but millions of others live with the very real threat of inland flooding."

Extra caution, Kelly noted, is also needed when driving in flooded areas. "Flooding is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities in this country. Of these, more than half occur in vehicles," said Kelly. "If you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and go back. It doesn't matter if the car ahead of you made it. The water may be deeper for you or the road may have been undermined or washed out posing a great danger for you and your passengers."

"Hurricanes and tropical storms are an ongoing threat to some of the nation's most populated areas," Kelly concluded. "I urge everybody to take the time now to think about hurricane safety and be prepared for the worst of whatever the hurricane season has to offer."