While hurricane season begins on the first day of June, now is the time to prepare.
May is recognized as Hurricane Preparedness Month in South Carolina. Other states observe Hurricane Preparedness Week during the first week of May. If you check any of the websites or social media pages for the National Weather Service or the National Hurricane Center, you will see that they have posted many tips to help you prepare for hurricane season, which is June 1 – November 30.
We have listed several links on our website to help you find ways to prepare yourself, your family, your congregation, and your community for hurricane season. When looking at the ways to prepare, always prepare yourself first so that you are better able to help others.
According to the American Red Cross, your personal preparedness should include an evacuation plan, a preparedness kit, and a way to get current weather information. Your evacuation plan should be shared with others so that they have some idea of where you plan to go. You should include contact information for yourself and your family as well as contact information for your evacuation destination.
Your preparedness kit should include the basics like water, food, and medications, plus first aid supplies, flashlights, spare batteries, and a portable weather radio. SCEMD, ReadyNC, and many other websites all have list of supplies that you might include in your kit.
In the Carolinas, there are pre-determined hurricane evacuation zones. If you live in a coastal area, it is important to Know Your Zone. Visit the North Carolina or South Carolina websites to learn more about zones. Information about the 2023 Hurricane season forecast is available courtesy of The Weather Channel.
You can find more detailed information about hurricane preparedness in North and South Carolina at the state hurricane websites.
Once your personal preparedness plan is in place, then you can create one for your congregation. A planning guide is available from Lutheran Disaster Response and can be downloaded here.
Need more help planning? Let us know and we can meet with you and your congregation council or other groups to help create a plan.
Create in Me
At the annual Create in Me retreat held recently at Lutheridge, I had the opportunity to talk with participants from several states, including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee about the work of LDR Carolinas. It was the perfect time to connect with people in those areas who have had experience preparing for and/or recovering from various disasters.
I also had the opportunity to share my experience and teach some basic and intermediate knitting skills. The intermediate knitters learned to knit this “Almost Lost Dishcloth.” The shape reminds me of the appearance of a hurricane!
During the weekend, with the theme Creation from Chaos, the words of the preachers and bible study leader used portions of Genesis including the stories of creation, the Tower of Babel, and the great flood, along with a portion of the story of Job’s trials, to reflect on various kinds of chaos we experience in life.
It was good to be reminded of God’s creative work in the world. And to be reminded that while God did once destroy life in the flood, God promised to never do that again, marking that covenant by hanging the bow in the clouds. The beautiful rainbow that gives us such delight is also an enduring sign that God hung up his weapon of destruction, retiring from battle forever. God will no longer war against creation.
Old Testament scholar Terence Fretheim explained in his work that this covenant should remind us to NOT describe severe storms, floods, and hurricanes as God’s judgement.
Pastor Ray and I remember seeing a sign in a church narthex during our first disaster experience after Hurricane Katrina which expressed that belief. That large hand-lettered sign read: “Katrina was an act of nature. What you do here is an act of God.”
That sign reminds me that in disaster recovery, and in every creative endeavor, we become co-creators with God as we allow God’s presence in the chaos to free us, change us, and guide us.
Ruth Ann Sipe
p.s. For my knitting friends, here is the pattern for the Almost Lost Dishcloth shown above:
Cast on 14 stitches.
Row 1 (and all odd rows) Knit across
Row 2 Slip one stitch as if to knit, knit 3, yarn over, knit until last 2 stitches, turn.
(Slipping the first knit stitch of these rows creates a smooth finished outside edge.)
Row 4 Slip 1, knit 3, yarn over, knit until last 4 stitches, turn.
Row 6 Slip 1, knit 3, yarn over, knit until last 6 stitches, turn.
Row 8 Slip 1, knit 3, yarn over, knit until last 8 stitches, turn.
Row 10 Cast off 4 and knit to end. (should be 14 stitches)
Repeat these rows to create 14 points.
Cast off, leaving enough yarn to draw up the center and sew edges together. Weave in ends.
Adapted from The Almost Lost Washcloth Pattern – Simply Notable (archive.org)
Spring Has Sprung
Spring has sprung, and with the arrival of spring comes the threat of severe thunderstorms, hail, damaging winds, and even tornados. Do you know how to be prepared for these threats?
Not every storm is dangerous, but every storm has the potential to become dangerous and no thunderstorm should be dismissed. Thunderstorms have the potential for heavy rain, lightning strikes, power outages, wind damage, and more. To be prepared, you need to be informed. There are several ways in which to receive alerts on potential weather threats.
One of the most common ways to receive severe weather alerts is through IPAWS. Organized by FEMA, the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) is the nation’s alert and warning infrastructure. It provides an effective way to alert and warn the public about emergencies using the Emergency Alert System (EAS), Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Weather Radio All Hazards, and other public alerting systems from a single interface. IPAWS is used to send notifications for three alert categories—Presidential, AMBER, and Imminent Threat. You can find more information here.
Another way is with a weather radio. The NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) All Hazards, is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting forecasts, warnings, and emergency information 24 hours a day. It is a comprehensive weather and emergency information service available to the public. All-hazards messages include weather events, technological incidents like chemical spills, AMBER alerts, and national emergencies. NWR also broadcasts EAS notices. More information can be found here.
Severe alerts may be received by your cell phone without any special apps, but there are apps that you can use to keep aware of weather conditions and even receive lightening alerts. Your local National Weather Service (NWS) also posts weather information on apps like Facebook and Twitter. You can receive them by following your local NWS office (enter your zip code here).
Being prepared for spring and summer thunderstorms means being weather aware. Monitor the weather by one or more of these services. Weather radios can be programmed to only receive alerts for your county and specific certain weather events. Many of these radios also include battery backups so they will continue to operate even during a power outage.
The National Weather Service provides more information here, including the difference between watches and warnings. Make a plan, including where to go in your house to shelter from a storm, have flashlights handy with spare or rechargeable batteries, and have a way to monitor weather conditions, including an all clear if a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning is issued for your area.