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Cornelius News

Get prepared for Cristobal, Dolly and the rest

June 1. Experts predict an active six-month hurricane season, which begins today.

The Lake Norman region often is deluged with rain hours or days after the hurricane or tropical storm makes landfall on the coast.  It may not happen often, but  the storms can move the 150 miles or so inland  to wreak havoc at Lake Norman and Charlotte.

Hurricane Hugo  make landfall in Charleston, SC,  and its center passed over I-77 between Columbia, SC, and Charlotte about 5 am Sept. 22, 1989, according to the National Weather Service. Hugo was downgraded to a tropical storm when it cross I-40 between Hickory and Morganton. Among the damage, tens of thousands of trees toppled power lines, cutting off power for weeks.

The American Red Cross Greater Carolinas Region reminds us that the time to get ready is now and because of COVID-19, getting prepared will look a little different than in other years.

In coastal areas, disaster managers, already working long days because of the pandemic, are working on issues such as evacuations, shelters and conditions for relief crews because of the virus.

For the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  are calling for above-normal activity, with 13 to 19 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher, of which six to 10 could become hurricanes. Of those storms, there will be three to six major hurricanes, which are classified as Category 3, 4, and 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher.

On average, the annual forecast predicts 12 named tropical storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes during the season that runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

Arthur and Bertha were the first named storms in 2020. The rest of 21 names for the 2020 Atlantic Basin storm are: Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky and Wilfred.

The American Red Cross Greater Carolinas Region has tips to help you, your family and business  get ready.


 In light of the coronavirus, you may have to adjust any previous plans you made. You may need to leave your home quickly and travel to a safe place outside the affected area. If authorities advise you to evacuate, be prepared to leave immediately with your evacuation kit (“go bag” of emergency supplies).

  • Plan now if you will need help leaving or if you need to share transportation.
  • Ask friends or relatives outside your area if you would be able to stay with them. Check and see if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have people in their home at higher risk for serious illness. If they have symptoms or people at higher risk in their home, make other arrangements. Check with hotels, motels and campgrounds to see if they are open. Find out if your local emergency management agency has adapted its sheltering plans.
  • Check with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and update emergency plans due to Coronavirus.
  • Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes. Remember, if it’s not safe for you to stay home, it’ not safe for your pets either.


 Assemble two kits of emergency supplies and a one-month supply of prescription medication. Start with this basic supply list:

  • Stay-at-home kit (2 weeks of emergency supplies): Include everything you need to stay at home for at least two weeks with items such as food, water, household cleaning and disinfectant supplies, soap, paper products, and personal hygiene items
  • Evacuation kit (3 days of supplies in a go “bag”): Your second kit should be a lightweight, smaller version that you can take with you if you must leave your home quickly. Include everything you need to be on your own for three days:
  • Food and water
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Cleaning and disinfectant supplies that you can use on the go (tissues, hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol and disinfecting wipes)
  • Cloth face coverings for everyone in your household who can wear one safely. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing. Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others in public. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove it without help.
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s check
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • 1-month supply of prescription medication, as well as over-the-counter medications like cough suppressants and fever-reducing drugs and medical supplies or equipment. Keep these items together in a separate container so you can take them with you if you have to evacuate.


Some supplies may be hard to get, and availability will worsen in a disaster, so start gathering supplies now.


Have access to weather alerts and community notifications. Be sure that you can receive official notifications even during a power outage. Always follow the directions of your state and local authorities.


  • Use the Red Cross interactive map to identify likely disasters in your areas
  • Learn about your community’s response plan for each disaster and determine if these plans have been adapted because of COVID-19
  • Find contact information for state, local and county governments and agencies, and for state emergency management agencies.
  • Because of COVID-19, stay current on advice and restrictions from your state and local public health authorities as it may affect your actions and available resources and facilities.

Take a First Aid and CPR/Course online to learn what to do in case emergency help is delayed. Download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to weather alerts for your area and where loved ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case travelers encounter any mishaps. These apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.


The Red Cross Ready Rating program helps businesses, schools, and other organizations prepare for emergencies that can disrupt daily operations. Ready Rating offers specific steps that organizations can take to be better prepared. It includes a planning tool to help their employees or members know what their roles are in the early hours of an emergency, what their next steps are, and provides a resource center with tools that help businesses, employees, and students develop and practice preparedness plans. More information about this free program can be found at readyrating.org.

Visit redcross.org/hurricane for full information about what to do before, during and after a hurricane.