Alabama Power says it is prepared for the possibility of hurricanes affecting our state this year and is urging customers to do the same.

The National Hurricane Center’s forecast for the 2021 Atlantic basin. (contributed)

June 1 marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through the end of November. Hurricane experts have predicted another “more active than normal” season this year, although it’s not expected to be as active as last year when a record-high 30 named storms formed in the Atlantic basin. Of those 30 storms, 13 became hurricanes, two of which — Sally and Zeta, caused hundreds of thousands of power outages across Alabama.

Alabama Power says its Storm Team is ready to respond if needed.

“In our storm season preparation, we always plan for the worst-case scenarios, but hope for the best,” said Corey Sweeney, Power Delivery Storm Center Operations manager for Alabama Power. “Our team is ready to respond safely and quickly should a hurricane affect our state.”

Alabama Power says it is prepared for 2021 hurricane season from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Alabama Power says its system is better prepared for severe weather than ever. The company says it has installed new smart grid technology in recent months that has reduced outages and outage times for customers. For example, during the tornado outbreaks on March 17 and 25, Alabama Power’s advanced electric grid and power systems reduced the number of affected customers by 58%, saving 12.4 million customer minutes of interruption during these severe weather events.

“We design our system using the latest technology so that our customers can receive reliable service,” said Alabama Power spokesperson Dennis Washington. “However, when severe weather does occur, we are prepared to safely restore power as quickly as possible.”

The company says it has also improved outage communications. Customers can now sign up for outage alerts, report outages from their smartphone and see outage updates instantly on the company’s new online outage map.

“We are committed to providing reliable service and timely, accurate communication to our customers,” said Jonathan Porter, Alabama Power senior vice president of Customer Operations. “We understand our customers look to us to restore service as quickly and safely as possible when severe weather strikes. These tools allow customers to track restoration progress through their preferred method of communication.”

If you don’t already have your hurricane plan in place, here are some questions to answer in making sure you and your family are ready for the season:

The names the National Hurricane Center will use this year for tropical storms that form in the Atlantic basin. (contributed)

As you prepare or update your plan, tailor it to your daily needs and responsibilities. Discuss how people in your network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets or other challenges, such as operating medical equipment. Some additional factors to consider when developing your plan:

  • The different ages of people in your household.
  • Responsibilities for assisting others.
  • Dietary needs.
  • Medical needs, including prescriptions and equipment.
  • Accommodating and meeting the needs of family members with disabilities.
  • What to do with pets or service animals.

Identify in advance a friend or relative who doesn’t live in an evacuation zone who can provide shelter for you and your family in case you have to leave home.

Emergency managers want you to know how to keep you and your family safe from these deadly storms.

  • Stay informed. Check weather forecasts regularly, through your local news or by using a NOAA weather radio.
  • Have a plan. Be sure you and your loved ones have an emergency weather plan that includes where to go and how to get there if you’re told to evacuate. Identify someone, perhaps a friend or relative who doesn’t live in an evacuation zone or unsafe home, and coordinate with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. Be sure to account for your pets, as most local shelters do not permit them, and put your plan in writing for you and those you care about. Learn more at gov/plan.
  • Have supplies ready. Make sure you have what you need to survive at least 72 hours following a major weather event. Key components of an emergency kit include flashlights, water, medicine, nonperishable food, batteries and a hand-cranked or battery-powered weather radio. Be sure to charge cellphones ahead of the storm’s arrival. Learn more at gov/kit.
  • Check your insurance. Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance checkup to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or replace your home. Also, whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you will need a separate policy for flooding because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. Act now because flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period. Learn more at gov.

For more information about how to be prepared for storms, in any season, visit Alabama Power’s Storm Center at alabamapower.com/storm.

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