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NOAA Prepares for Hurricane Season

May 4, 2023
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As spring heads toward summer, NOAA satellites are prepared to help keep us safe during the upcoming hurricane season, but it’s also important to be ready at home.

This week is National Hurricane Preparedness Week, a time to begin pre-season preparations and understand your risk from hurricanes. Make sure you can interpret forecasts and alerts, and know what to do before, during, and after a storm. If you live in hurricane-prone areas, you are encouraged to prepare before hurricane season begins. The Pacific hurricane season begins May 15 and the Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1.

The first step in preparing for hurricanes is to know your risk. Find out today what types of wind and water hazards could happen where you live. Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Impacts from wind and water can be felt hundreds of miles inland, and significant impacts can occur regardless of the storm’s strength. Know if you live in an area prone to flooding, if you live in an evacuation zone, and identify any structural weaknesses in your home.

The best time to prepare for hurricanes is before hurricane season begins. Avoid having to rush through potentially life-saving preparations by waiting until it’s too late. Get your disaster supplies while the shelves are still stocked, and get that insurance checkup early, as flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period.

Prepare for hurricane season by knowing how to understand forecasts. National Weather Service forecast products can tell you a lot about what is expected to happen with a storm, including the storm’s paths, rainfall amounts, wind speeds, and more. There is a lot of information available days ahead of a storm, and it is important to understand what it means. 

When a storm is forecast to impact your area, take action immediately to be ready. Ideally, longer-term preparedness actions such as having disaster supplies and an evacuation plan will have already been done before hurricane season, when the stores are stocked and time is on your side. When a storm threatens, there’s a lot more to do.

During a storm, whether you’ve evacuated or are sheltering in place, know what to expect from the hazards you may face. Remain vigilant, stay up-to-date with the latest forecasts and alerts, and continue to listen to local officials.

A key part of hurricane preparedness is understanding the dangers that remain well after a storm. This is not the time to put your guard down. Nearly half of hurricane fatalities occur after the storm.

NOAA satellites monitor the ocean and atmospheric conditions that lead to the development of tropical storms and hurricanes. Once a storm forms, the satellites provide critical data—such as location, movement, and intensity—to track it. They also aid in emergency response to landfalling storms by mapping the extent, damage, and flooding that results.

NOAA will issue its 2023 Atlantic and Pacific Hurricane Season Outlooks later this month.