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John Ghiorse: Hurricane Irma Update Thursday AM, “It’s All About the Turn”

Thursday, September 07, 2017


John Ghiorse, meteorologist

Category 5 Hurricane Irma continues on its westward journey after trashing The Leeward and the Virgin Islands yesterday. It is likely to maintain its Category 4 or 5 status as it rakes through the southern Bahamas and heads toward South Florida later this weekend.

But as stated earlier it is now all about "The Turn." All of the forecast data continues to indicate that Irma will make a sharp right-hand turn once it reaches just south of Florida. It is still uncertain whether that turn will send the eye of the storm up the Florida peninsula or just off the east coast of Florida and eventually into Georgia or the Carolinas.

We here in New England still need to keep a sharp eye on those developments during the next few days but at this point, we seem to be out of any bull's eye. As of now, it looks like we could see some rain from Irma's remnants sometime in the middle of next week.




Related Slideshow: 20 Ways to Prepare for a Hurricane in New England

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Put Together a Disaster Kit 

Put together a kit of supplies that you might need during the storm. 

The kit should include a supply of food and water, money, blankets, first-aid supplies, medications, toiletries, and batteries. 

Be sure to check expiration dates. 

For more on building a disaster kit, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov.

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Come Up With a Family Communications Plan

Geico Insurance suggests coming up with a family insurance plan.

Discuss with your family how to contact each other just in case you become separated during an emergency.

Also, talk about how to get in touch with relatives and friends to let them know you’re all right.

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Create an Evacuation Plan 

In the event that you have to leave your home, it is important to have an evacuation plan in advance. 

Identify a safe place, maybe the home of a friend or a family member or a hotel.

The destination doesn't have to be hours away, just out of danger.

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Have an Evacuation Drill

Hold an evacuation drill to practice in case of emergency.

See what everyone grabs and what gets forgotten. Then make a list and try again at a later date. 

“Some people will actually test the evacuation route in good weather. Waiting until the day of the hurricane isn’t a smart idea since everyone will be in a heightened state of anxiety," said AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

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Make a Plan for The Kids 

How will your child stay entertained during an emergency or a blackout? 

Geico suggests packing some games and toys, as well as, snacks for the kids to keep them entertained during the storm. 

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Don't Forget About Pets 

Do you have a dog that needs kibble or a cat that needs insulin?

If your dog typically goes to the bathroom outside, you may need to come up with an alternate plan during the storm. 

Extra food, toys, and other pet accessories should also be figured into the game plan. 

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Clean Up the Yard

Find a place to put lawn furniture and other outdoor items, which can get dangerous in high winds.

Trim any loose or dangling tree branches near your house. 

"Make sure you're not creating missiles by leaving things lying around in your yard," Rochman said. Any items that can be picked up by strong winds -- your grill, lawn furniture, garden gnomes and other items -- should be stored indoors or secured to the ground," said Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety CEO Julie Rochman. 

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Seal Windows & Doors

Make sure that windows and doors are sealed.

Rochman reminds residents that "normal weather can damage seals over time, allowing sideways-blowing rain to get in during a storm."

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Back Up Computer Data 

Director of the National Hurricane Center Rick Knabb encourages people to back up computer data at an off-site location. 

That way in case something happens to the computer during a storm, the data can be recovered. 

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Make Sure Carports and Porches are Secure

In case of high winds, make sure the posts supporting your porch, carport or other structures attached to your house are secured to the ground.

"If you've got a porch or carport on your house and you think it looks like a wing, that's what it's going to be. It will tear a hole in your house," said Rochman. 

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Take Inventory of Your Possessions 

Photograph and document your possessions using as much detail as possible.

Doing this will speed up the claim-filing process later on, should you need to do it. 

The I.I.I. (Insurance Information Institute) offers the Know Your Stuff Home Inventory app that can help you keep an up-to-date digital record of your possessions.

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Seal and Secure Your Roof

Inspect your roof covering to make sure all the shingles or tiles are secured and that there are no cracks or any missing.

If you're re-roofing, you might want to consider putting waterproof tape over the roof's seams or covering the whole thing. 

“Any possible compromises to the roof or house will become an open avenue for strong and gusty winds,” Kottlowski said.

He adds that residents should purchase supplies, including plywood to cover windows and extra security to keep doors from blowing open, in advance, to secure their homes from damaging winds.

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Learn How to Shut Off Utilities at Your Home

Food, Water, and Survival suggest learning about the utilities in your home and how to turn them off and on. 

Some natural disasters could result in broken utility lines or it is unsafe to have the utilities running.

Knowing how to shut them off can keep a disaster from becoming a bigger disaster.


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Don't Forget About Little Things 

Sometimes the little things can make a big difference so it is important not to forget them. Geico reminds residents to not forget about the little things. 

For example, contact lenses, are electronics charged as much as possible in case the power goes out etc... 

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Make Copies

According to Geico, you should photocopy and scan your inventory, disaster plan, contact information, birth certificate, passport and other important documents that you might have.

After you make copies, seal them in a waterproof container along with your disaster kit.

Food, Water, and Survival suggest starting with this list. 

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Go Over Your Insurance Policy

Is your homeowners or renters insurance up-to-date?

Make sure your policy should be designed to meet your needs.

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Determine if Flood Insurance is Needed 

If you own a property in a flood hazard area and have a mortgage, federal law say you must have flood insurance.

Even if it’s not a requirement in your area, your home may still be at risk.

“People might think that if they don’t live on the coast, then they won’t have a flooding problem. But if it can rain, it can flood," said Knabb. 

Determine if you need flood insurance before it is too late. 

For more information on flood insurance, click here. 

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Invest in a Generator 

If the power is going to be off for an extended period of time, a generator can be used to give power to important utilities like a refrigerator. 

Generators at Home Depot can range anywhere from $170 to just over $600.

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Follow John Ghiorse 

Follow GoLocalProv's John Ghiorse for the latest storm updates. 

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Determine Your Risk 

The majority of a hurricane's force usually hits coastal areas the hardest, but its effects can reach inland as well in the form of knocked down trees, power outages and flooding. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Interactive Flood Information Map can help you identify different flooding risks in your community. 


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