This is the time of year when weather watchers on Cape Cod begin to look south with trepidation. This is where hurricanes brew and sometimes they head straight for our peninsula, packing rotten wind, rain, coastal flooding and erosion. Add in widespread power outages and you have an ugly party that no one wants to attend.
One thing is certain about hurricanes and tropical storms: you can’t stop them. But there are things you can do to prepare for the big hit. Governor Charlie Baker proclaimed July 10-16 as Hurricane Preparedness Weekand now is a good time to fine-tune emergency plans and emergency kits.
As the Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 to Nov 30.meteorologist Bryce Williams at National Weather Service Norton Office said hurricanes are most likely to hit Cape Cod from August through early September. But you can’t rule out dangerous tropical activity throughout hurricane season.
The last hurricane hit Cape Town 30 years ago
Williams said Hurricane Bob in 1991 was the last hurricane to make landfall in the region.
“We’re well behind the times,” Williams said, citing return range data for hurricanes hitting the Cape Cod area.
Based on a century of data analyzed by the National Hurricane Center, a hurricane can be expected to reach Cape Town every 13 to 16 years. A major hurricane (category 3, 4 or 5) can be expected to occur every 58 to 62 years.
Due to its offshore location, Cape Cod has a shorter hurricane return interval than Boston and the North Shore, which can expect a hurricane approximately every 30 years.
“It’s because you stand out and kind of ask for it,” Williams said.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicting higher than normal level 2022 Atlantic hurricane seasonCape Codders should consider steps they can take now to prepare for powerful storms.
According to state public safety information, building an emergency kit is a very good idea. Here are the suggested items:
Your emergency kit should include:
- Water: Bottled water (one gallon per person/per day for at least three days), water purification tablets.
- Food: A minimum three-day supply of non-perishable foods that do not need to be cooked (ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables or juices, protein bars or granola, cereals, peanut butter , dried fruit, nuts, crackers, baby food, comfort food).
- Tools and Supplies: Manual can opener, radio (battery or hand-crank), flashlight or lantern, extra batteries, cell phone with charger, wrench, pliers, and other basic tools.
- Personal Items: Prescription medications (two week supply), personal hygiene items, glasses, contact lenses, dentures, batteries or extra supplies for medical equipment, spare clothes, sturdy shoes.
- Pets: collar, leash, harness, crate, food, bowls, current photo, license and medical information.
- Documents: insurance policies, bank account statements, identity cards (ID), medical information and other copies of important documents.
- Money: Extra cash and travelers checks (ATMs may not work during a power outage)
- Other items: first aid kit, emergency whistle, waterproof matches/lighter, area maps, diapers, wipes, formula, baby food and supplies (if needed).
Also consider adding:
- A watch or clock.
- Household bleach, which can be used as an emergency disinfectant for drinking water.
- Camping stove or grill with canned fuel or heat, neither of which is to be used indoors.
- Disposable plates, cups and utensils.
- Masking tape, plastic sheeting or a tarp.
- Seasonal items to protect against the weather.
- Books, games, puzzles and other comfort items.
- Sleeping bags or blankets.
Additional items during the COVID-19 pandemic:
During COVID-19, you should add additional items to your emergency kit that you may need to use at home or if you need to evacuate. These items will help keep you and your family safe during an emergency that may arise during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Include face coverings and/or masks to prevent the spread of germs.
- Include sanitizers, hand sanitizer, and other cleaning supplies you may need in an emergency.
The state is also urging people to have multiple ways to stay informed during storms. For Cape Codders, the Barnstable County Emergency Planning Committee website offers lots of information and resources, including a Hurricane Preparedness Page and one Owner’s Manual for Preparing for Coastal Hazards.
More resources are available from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Hurricane Safety Tips Web page.
According to a state press release on hurricane preparedness, “Other ways to receive alerts and information include the Emergency alert system, Wireless Emergency Alerts, NOAA Weather Radio, and social and traditional news media. The Commonwealth 2-1-1 hotline is available 24/7 for non-emergency assistance and is available with translation in over 150 languages and can be accessed via video relay services. Find more information on: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/be-informed-and-receive-emergency-alerts.”