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Preparedness Spotlight: The Return of Hurricane Season

Updated August 22, 2018


Credit: iStock

Hurricane season is back, and it’s time to prepare.

Prior to the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expected the 2018 hurricane season to be “near- or above-normal”—though not as bad as the previous year’s hurricane season. However, in August 2018, NOAA's forecasters lowered their prediction to a total of nine to 13 named storms, of which four to seven could become hurricanes, including zero to two major hurricanes. This is compared with the 2017 season, which produced 17 named storms, including 10 hurricanes—six of which became major hurricanes of Category 3 or above.

“The 2017 season was the hurricane season that never seemed to end,” says Christina Catlett, emergency medicine physician and director of the Johns Hopkins Go Team, a multidisciplinary response team organized by CEPAR. “Following the deployment of the Johns Hopkins Go Team after hurricanes Irma and Maria, our team witnessed firsthand the devastation and subsequent recovery efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Many areas are still rebuilding months later.”

How to Prepare

Hurricanes can produce extremely powerful winds, torrential rain, high waves and damaging storm surges, and can spawn tornadoes. With the peak of the hurricane season typically between August and October, CEPAR recommends taking this time to prepare. “Preparation is key to decreasing damage and bad outcomes that are often associated with these massive storms,” Catlett says.

Here are a few tips to prepare for a hurricane:

  • Determine your vulnerability to a hurricane. Are you in a flood zone?
     
  • Talk with members of your family and create an evacuation plan.
     
  • Put together an emergency supply kit that includes items such as water, food, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, your personal medications and more.
     
  • When a hurricane is approaching:
     
    • Prepare your home by closing and/or covering windows, trimming trees and bringing in or securing anything that can be picked up by the wind (i.e., outdoor furniture or bicycles).
       
    • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible.
       
    • Fill your car’s gas tank.

Other tips are available on CEPAR’s hurricane preparedness checklist. Hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.