COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - With the damage and recovery from Hurricane Harvey still front in center in many minds around the country, eyes are now turning to Hurricane Irma which is gaining strength in the Atlantic Ocean.
On Sunday, the National Hurricane Center upgraded Irma from a category 2 hurricane to a category 3 hurricane with sustained winds at 115 miles per hour. The powerful storm is expected to strengthen to a category 4 hurricane during the upcoming week.
"It's too early to tell exactly where Irma will end up," said WIS First Alert Chief Meteorologist Dominic Brown. "But based on our current forecast models, the
storm could make an impact somewhere along the East Coast of the U.S. late next weekend into the following week. A lot can happen between now and then though."
So, what can you do now to get ahead of the storm and prepare just in case it does hit close to the Midlands? Meteorologists say one of the most important things you can do to be ready is to have a hurricane preparedness kit.
The National Hurricane Center says water is one of the most important necessities in a hurricane preparedness kit. Officials say you'll want to store at least a gallon of water a day for each person in your household for each day that you anticipate you will need it.
You will also need to have about 3 to 7 days worth of non-perishable, pre-packaged, can food as well as a first aid kit and toiletries. Make sure you are stocked with flashlights, batteries, and a battery operated the radio in case your power goes out. You'll want to also grab any prescriptions you may need along with food and items for your pets, babies, or elderly relative or friend.
Preparing your car is another important step. Make sure your car has a full tank of gas in case there is a need to evacuate.