With Hurricane Season Underway,Officials Urge Residents to be Prepared

Friday, July 29, 2016
By Transcript Staff

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

The hurricane season began in June and ends in November and state emergency officials want you to “Know Your Zone” to aid in evacuation and planning.

Officials have classified  three levels of damage that communities are likely to suffer around the state:  Red, A; Yellow, B; and Green, C. Unfortunately, Winthrop is in the red zone, which is the most likely to suffer the greatest damage in a hurricane like Sandy, as is a large part of Revere and a portion of East Boston. The colored zones basically let people know how quickly it will take to evacuate the area.

Zone A and B include areas that, depending on predictions may flood first from storm surge during a tropical storm or hurricane. Areas in Zone A would flood before areas in Zone B.

Zone C applies to the cities of Boston and Cambridge that have have designated a third zone, which may flood depending on the track and intensity of the storm.

In Winthrop, Fire Chief Paul Flanagan is the head of Emergency Management and the fire department has preparedness information on its website. As for evacuation routes in the even of a storm, there is really only one route out and that is the Main Street bridge into East Boston where a posted evacuation route is marked. Even though the second route out of Winthrop goes down Revere Street to Short Beach and onto Revere Beach Parkway in Beachmont, the tide gates in Revere are often closed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation during storms. Leaving one real evacuation route.

“The warning and tracking systems for storms have improved over the years,” said Jeanne Maggio, head of Winthrop’s Medical Reserve Corp., which assists the public in times of need. “This makes it so people may leave days earlier than in the past. So not everyone may be leaving at once.”

Hurricanes and tropical storms form over warm ocean waters and sometimes strike land. While a storm with winds above 74 mph is officially a hurricane, even tropical storms (with winds above 39 mph) can have deadly storm surge and cause significant damage.

Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tide. The destructive power of storm surge and large battering waves is often the greatest threat to life and property during a storm, and can result in loss of life, destroyed buildings, beach and dune erosion, and road and bridge damage along the coast.

Massachusetts Alerts: to receive emergency information on your smartphone, including severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service and emergency information from MEMA, download the Massachusetts Alerts free app. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone, visit: www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp.

Water: Bottled water (one gallon per person/per day for at least three days), water purification tablets

Food: At least a three-day supply of non-perishable foods that do not need cooking (ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables, or juices, protein or granola bars, cereal, peanut butter, dried fruit, nuts, crackers, baby food, comfort foods)

Tools and Supplies: Manual can opener, Radio (battery-powered or hand crank), flashlight or lantern, extra batteries, cell phone with charger, wrench, pliers, and other basic tools

Personal Items: Prescription medications (two-week supply), personal hygiene items, eyeglasses, contact lenses, dentures, extra batteries or supplies for medical equipment, change of clothes, sturdy shoes

Pets: Collar, leash, harness, crate, food, bowls, current photo, license and medical information

Documents: Insurance policies, bank account records, identification cards (IDs), medical information, and other copies of important documents

Money: Extra cash and traveler’s checks (ATMs may not work during a power outage)

Other Items:  First-aid kit, emergency whistle, waterproof matches/lighter, local area maps, diapers, wipes, formula, and baby food and supplies (if needed)

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