Tropical Storm Isaac may become a Category 2 hurricane this week, reaching land areas of the U.S. from Florida to Louisiana. While many vacationers tend to be oblivious to weather reports, it is essential to be vigilant and well-prepared when severe weather is threatened—-whether you’re at home or away. In a post earlier this year on the NBC Universal website Life Goes Strong, I outlined some hurricane tips for travelers, before and after a hurricane hits. They are summarized below:
Before you go
- Hurricanes often come with little or no warning. If you are traveling to a hurricane-prone area during “season,” consider purchasing travel insurance. Because trip cancellation policies are usually contingent on unforeseeable events, you need to purchase the policy before any warning is issued.
- Check with your hotel, resort or airline carrier about cancellation and refund policies in the event of a hurricane. Many carriers, although not all, waive change fees in extreme weather conditions.
- Be sure your family or close friends know your vacation plans.
- Always travel with a small flashlight, a battery-powered radio, a cell phone, and extra batteries.
- Pack you medications in waterproof containers and keep important travel papers, such as passports, in plastic bags.
- Have some cash on hand because banks and ATMs may not be accessible.
- Be sure to pay attention to weather warnings.
When you arrive
- If you’re staying at a hotel or resort, inquire about out how you will get local alerts or warnings while you are there, especially in the event of a power outage
- Familiarize yourself with the property’s emergency plans for evacuation, including alternate building exits. Find out whether there are any temporary shelter arrangements, should they be required.
- Use maps to learn community hurricane evacuation routes and find out how to get to higher ground. Determine where you would go and how you would get there, if necessary.
- If you are renting a car, keep you gas tank topped off if an evacuation seems likely.
After a hurricane hits
- Stay tuned to radio, TV and NOAA Weather Radio for official updates.
- Don’t take risks by waiting until the last-minute to evacuate or you may find yourself trapped.
- Follow recommended evacuation routes, even when highly trafficked. You may run into difficulties taking shortcuts.
- Be alert to storm-related road hazards, especially flooding.
- If you need to wait out a storm at your destination, be sure it is truly over before you attempt to leave. You may be in the calm “eye” of the storm.
For hurricane updates, CNN Hurricane Central is a helpful resource.