Georgians urged to prepare for severe weather, despite forecasts of dry June

 

Hurricane season began Sunday, but the majority of Georgia residents – 64 percent – do not make advance preparations, according to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse survey.

Colorado State University predicts a below-average hurricane season with nine named storms, three hurricanes and one major hurricane this year. If a named storm caused evacuation warnings in Georgia, one in 10 residents says he would not leave home.

Of those who would evacuate, the majority (70 percent) say they would only leave for a Category 2 hurricane or greater.

Preliminary reports from the National Weather Service predict Augusta Regional Airport will receive no rainfall in June, compared with the 5½ inches reported at the airport last month. The record for May is 9.6 inches in 1979.

“Residents should stay vigilant and be prepared for a major weather event,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for the AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Part of that preparation includes having a storm kit, evacuation plan and flood insurance. Every home is in a flood zone, whether you live near the coast or not.”

Floods are the No. 1 disaster in the United States. Homes in low-risk zones account for 25 percent of flood claims every year.

Just two inches of water in a 2,000-square-foot home can cause $21,000 in damage. However, only one in 10 Georgians has flood insurance, which is separate from homeowner’s insurance.

A preferred risk flood insurance policy costing 85 cents a day will cover $100,000 in structural damage and $40,000 for damage to contents inside the home.

“Only 37 percent (of) Georgians know there is a 30-day waiting period for a new flood policy to take effect,” Jenkins said. “If you wait until a storm is named and heading your direction, you will be too late. Now is a great time to check with your homeowner’s insurance provider to ensure you are covered before the busy storm season begins.”

PREPARATION TIPS

AAA offers this advice:

Secure your home: Inspect for minor repairs needed to roof, windows, downspouts, etc. Trim trees or bushes that could cause damage to your home during high winds.

Make a plan: Develop a family emergency plan to include ways to contact each other, alternative meeting locations and an out-of-town contact person. Identify the safest areas in your home. Research your evacuation route. Include plans for pets.

Take inventory: Update your inventory quickly by walking through your home with a video camera or smartphone. Keep a record of large purchases, including the cost of the item, when purchased and model and serial numbers as available.

Stock emergency supplies: Plan for a week’s worth of nonperishable food and water. Have flashlights, extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, medication, a first aid kit, blankets, toiletries, etc. You might also want to prepare a kit and keep it in your car.

Protect your property: Review your homeowner’s insurance with your insurance agent to determine if you have adequate protection. Discuss deductibles. Be aware that flood insurance in not typically covered in a homeowner’s policy.

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