Florence is headed our way. Here's what you should do now.

~Last Updated: Sept 10 7:00am~

PLEASE follow instructions of your local emergency management agencies and other officials.

There is still much uncertainty about when and where Hurricane Florence will end up. As of Sunday morning, officials are recommending that everyone on the coast and inland from North Carolina to Florida get ready for later this week. You'll see these states declare states of emergency which allows for more resources to become available to begin implementing response measures.  

Ultimately you need to make the decisions that work best for you and your family but, if it helps, here is what I would be doing right now if I lived anywhere from North Carolina to Florida.

  • Checking for regular weather updates – local news, the weather channel, the national hurricane center, the storm surge unit are good resources.
  • Reviewing emergency plans including personal plans, the plans of friends and family members, and my towns plans (e.g., what evacuation zone are you in? how will your town alert you if you need to evacuate)
  • Developing a shelter in place plan and evacuation plan (possibly several options depending on which direction the storm goes) including where you will stay, how you will get there, and account for pets/ children's needs.
  • Stocking up on supplies – food, water, gas, cash, medication, clean clothes, external phone charger, comfort items, check generator, and anything else that you might need.
  • Double checking back-ups of important documents/ hard drives. At least take mental note of what in your house you want to grab quickly if you need to leave (e.g., photo albums, etc.)  
  • Clearing extra debris away from my yard, check the drains are clear on the street, securing anything that can easily be blown away, moving cars to higher ground.
  • Putting a quarter on top of a frozen cup of water in your freezer (this way, if you need to evacuate you’ll know if you lost electricity and need to throw out).  
  • Check on your friends/ neighbors – do they need help getting ready, are they monitoring the situation, do they need a place to stay during the storm, etc? Who else in your community might need help with these things? Is your co-worker new to the coast and unaware of what a hurricane is like? Call them. Know your neighbor doesn't have their own transportation? Ask them if they want to evacuate with you. Check in on each other. 

If you need help/ resources doing any of these things you can contact your local food pantry, local churches, friends/ neighbors, and for evacuation/sheltering your local emergency management/ red cross chapter. 

If you are not in one of these potentially affected areas what should you do?

  • Call to check on your family and friends in these areas and make sure they’re doing the above/ see if you can help them in any way.
  • Share posts like this one and other emergency information put out by official sources (don’t let me catch you sharing fake pictures of sharks swimming through the streets).
  • Check on your own emergency plans/ kits/ etc. to make sure you’re as prepared as possible for the risks you face in your community.

Do these things NOW. The worst that will happen is will have cleaned up your yard and have some extra water stocked up for the next storm -- and there always is a next storm. In fact, we're still well within hurricane season and there are other storms right behind Florence. 

As we get closer to landfall PLEASE follow the instructions of your local officials. If they tell you to evacuate, you should evacuate (unless, of course, you have special circumstances that make it more dangerous for you to leave).