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How to prepare for hurricane season

Mecklenburg County leaders urge vigilance ahead of a potentially active 2024 Atlantic hurricane season.

A road is heavily flooded with waters with trees in the background.

Drivers are cautioned not to drive on flooded roads.

Photo by CLTtoday

While Charlotte may only be an hours-long drive to the Atlantic coast, county officials want you to be prepared when weather strikes at home. The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 - Nov. 30, and some forecasts predict a potentially active season.

Mecklenburg County representatives took the opportunity during National Hurricane Preparedness Week (May 5-11) to remind residents on the importance of being prepared before activity in the tropics intensify.

A man in uniform representing Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management speaks at a podium lined with microphones.

Battalion Chief Robert Graham of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management emphasized people to check in on their neighbors during severe weather.

Photo by CLTtoday

“Charlotte is known as a city that has trees, it’s very green, it’s very lush, but it also floods,” said Chief Robert Graham of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management. Chief Graham says tracking storm water runoff may be more unpredictable due to construction projects across Charlotte.

Editor’s note: Weather-related alerts + flood safety information are available via Storm Water Services.

“We encourage residents to get flood insurance. Regular home owner’s insurance does not include flood insurance and it can take up to thirty days to start,” said Scierra Richardson, the senior public information officer for Charlotte Mecklenburg Storm Water Services. Richardson added all residents should consider flood insurance — not just those living in city-designated flood plains.

Richardson urged drivers to never risk wading or driving through flooded roads. It doesn’t take a lot of water to do a lot of damage:

  • 1 foot can carry a small vehicle away
  • 2 feet can carry a large vehicle away
  • 6 inches can sweep a person off their feet
A fallen power line covers a wind-damaged road with cars in the background.

Hurricane Hugo caused billions of dollars in damage to the Charlotte area.

Photo via WCNC

Though some in the Charlotte metro may feel safe ahead of the upcoming hurricane season, Chief Graham referenced Hurricane Hugo, which caused catastrophic damage to the area in September 1989. The storm forever altered the county preparedness for tropical weather. Chief Graham emphasized, “if it happened in the past, it will happen in the future.”

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