From DCF Commissioner

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Are you familiar with the TV game show Jeopardy where contestants are provided clues to a host of trivia topics in the form of answers and must offer their responses in the form of a question? Well let’s try that game for a minute. The answer is: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Ferdinand, Gabrielle and Humberto. Have any inkling as to what the question might be? You are correct if you guessed: What are the first eight names of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season.

The World Meteorological Organization has been naming storms since 1953. The names run a six-year cycle, meaning you will see the 2013 storm names reused again in 2019. The only exception is when a particularly deadly or damaging storm occurs, after which the name is retired.

So it should come as no surprise to any New Jerseyan that the name Sandy has officially been retired from the storm list (and replaced with the name Sara). However, if you are one of the many residents still recovering from Susperstorm Sandy, you may be surprised to learn that another hurricane season is fast approaching. The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1 and lasts until November 30. Peak time for storms is late August through the end of October.

In preparation for this year’s hurricane season, the Department of Children and Families is urging everyone to educate themselves and make a plan in the event our state is faced with another major storm in the coming months. To assist you with this preparation, we’ve included a planning document on our web site, Hurricane Survival Guide for New Jersey, which can be found here: http://www.nj.gov/dcf/home/hurricane_surviveguide.pdf

In fact, our web site has many storm-related resources which you can access right from the Superstorm Sandy link on our home page: www.nj.gov/dcf. There are many other helpful web sites you can also consult for storm preparation information, such as the NJ Office of Emergency Management (www.ready.nj.gov) or the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org).

We encourage all families and individuals to have a communications plan, a hurricane kit with essential items like non-perishable food, water and medications, as well as a plan for pets. In some instances after a storm like Sandy, residents were without power for upwards of two weeks. While we hope the likes of storms named Ingrid, Jerry, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor and Olga stay far away from New Jersey in 2013, it is important for all of us to be ready and prepared.

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