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Here’s one way you can start to prepare for Hurricane Irma

You have 10 minutes to evacuate. Are you ready?

You can’t predict when disaster will strike, so make sure you have a plan. Here are nine things you can do to prepare for a future evacuation.
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You can’t predict when disaster will strike, so make sure you have a plan. Here are nine things you can do to prepare for a future evacuation.

North Carolina Emergency Management encouraged North Carolinians on Tuesday to download the Ready NC app to prepare for Hurricane Irma.

The app provides information on how to make a family emergency plan, what to include in an emergency kit and how to best protect a home.

Fly though Hurricane Irma in a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft via a time lapse video. (No Audio)

“We’re very concerned,” said Mike Sprayberry, director of North Carolina Emergency Management. “As you see a storm that’s a Category 5 at 180 mph winds in the Atlantic ... there’s still several days before we know what impact it’s going to have on North Carolina.”

While Irma moves toward the eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea, forecasters say they expect it to stay its westerly course on Tuesday, then veer west-northwest on Tuesday night.

Irma on Tuesday afternoon was maintaining winds at 180 mph and was becoming the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded outside the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, according to the National Weather Service.

Irma could hit South Florida as early as Friday.

Get a good look at Hurricane Irma's eye with this imagery from NOAA's GOES-16 weather satellite.

In North Carolina, the National Weather Service said swells associated with Irma are likely along the coast and will build during the week.

Review vital records

Ready NC recommends that you update all health, life and homeowners’ insurance records to prepare in case of a natural disaster:

  • Check and list all of your property. Make a list of your personal property for insurance purposes. Make a list of your personal belongings. Take pictures or make a video of the inside and outside of your home. Keep your inventory list, purchase receipts, pictures/video and your insurance policy in a safe-deposit box or other safe place away from your home, or email them to yourself.
  • Update key documents. Get property, health and life insurance policies if you do not have them. Look over existing policies. Check the amount and level of coverage to make sure that what you have in place is what is needed for you and your family for all possible dangers.
  • Store documents safely. Keep copies of key papers such as insurance policies, deeds, property records and other important papers in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box away from your home. Make copies of important papers for your disaster supplies kit. Having these papers nearby should make the registration process for recovery help smoother, should you be involved in a presidentially-declared disaster.
  • Stash some cash. Think about saving money in an emergency savings account that could be used for any crisis. Keep a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks where you can quickly get to them in case you have to leave your home or area. It is important to have small bills on hand because ATM’s and credit cards may not work during a disaster.

The Category 5 storm is expected to bring strong storm surges. Part of the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos is under a hurricane warning.

Camila Molina: 919-829-4538, @Cmolina__

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