Seven-year-old Gabriel Pasulka is a little scared of hurricanes but he is ready to assemble the items he would need if a storm hits: water and food like Caesar salad, his favorite, and stuffed animals.
Pasulka was one of a group of children who learned about hurricanes during a May 31 program at the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History. After a lesson by WECT meteorologist Eric Davis and a craft explaining storm flags and what they mean, Madeline Flagler, museum director, hopes kids left with an idea of what to expect during a hurricane.
“Big occurrences like a really bad storm could be frightening but we’re hoping that armed with some information, it won’t be as scary for the kids,” Flagler said. “Even adults can get a little bit anxious. If everyone has an idea of what the expected scenario is, it doesn’t seem as scary.”
Even though his hurricane preparedness kit is ready, Pasulka knows where he wants to be during a big storm.
“The eye of the hurricane — that’s the coolest thing I learned because it’s still in the hurricane but it’s nice and calm and you don’t get all scared,” he said.
The museum’s event coincided with Hurricane Preparedness Week, a national public education campaign to provide information about potential hazards before hurricane season began June 1.
Each day from May 25-31 represented a theme of preparedness, from storm surge, winds and flooding to planning for a storm.
Steve Pfaff, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Wilmington, said there was a lot of local outreach to kick off the season.
“[The week] really starts to frame everything up for the new hurricane season. It gets everybody thinking about what they need to be doing well before the storm,” Pfaff said.
In communities like Wilmington with a highly mobile population, Pfaff said it is especially important to spread out education outreach to assure everyone knows what to expect when a hurricane hits.
“We’re trying to space out a lot of the hurricane outlook through the course of the summer so we can get to more people. … We can’t just do it once and be done. It’s a living document as far as hurricane preparedness goes,” Pfaff said.
Pfaff stressed how important it is to be ready for the worst regardless of hurricane predictions.
“We don’t want to take them with a grain of salt, per se, but regardless if the number of named storms is in the dozens or single digits, we need to prepare like this is going to be our year to get hit. It only takes one storm with good impact to define the season,” Pfaff said.
Hurricane season ends Nov. 30.