Forecasters warn East Coast to be prepared for busy hurricane season

hurricaneParts of the country are still cleaning up after 2017’s devastating hurricane season, but some forecasters say the 2018 season could be almost as bad. Among major forecasters, one model predicts there will be between 14 and 18 named storms on the eastern seaboard this year with seven of those being hurricanes. Another says between seven and 11 storms will be hurricanes.

What this means for Virginia farmers is that they should not wait until June 1, the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, to plan for weather-related emergencies. A wealth of information is available online, but most sources agree on the following points:

  • Inspect all barns, outbuildings and other structures for broken or weak components and make repairs before the storm hits.
  • Stock up on feed, food and livestock supplies.
  • Secure livestock and other animals. If necessary, build berms for them to stand on in low-lying areas.
  • Stock up on nails, screws, and plywood to board up windows and nail doors and windows shut.
  • If your operation uses vent fans, water pumps, milking machines or other critical electrical equipment, purchase a gas-powered generator and plenty of fuel.
  • Ensure a source of clean water so livestock won’t have to drink flood water.
  • Store fertilizers, pesticides, treated seeds and other such compounds up high and away from floodwaters and animals.
  • Make a communication plan. Identify your area’s evacuation routes to determine where your family will meet and how everyone would get there should you need to evacuate.

“Farms are asset-heavy with expensive buildings, equipment, animals and other tools of the trade,” said Bettina Ring, Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture and Consumer Services, “and all farmers should plan ahead to protect those assets.”