We love the warm days of summer and mild days of autumn, but it can definitely be a time of volatile weather. The Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1 each year and continues through November 30. In the US, all Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal areas – and even several hundred miles inland – can be impacted by hurricane damage.
Now’s the time to make sure you’re prepared.
Regardless of whether NOAA predicts a near-normal, below normal, or above normal season in a given year, even one storm developing into a major hurricane is enough to wreak havoc. Clearly, the threat of storm damage is always with us and we all should take the necessary steps to be prepared.
What to do before a hurricane
Ready.gov advises building an emergency kit with supplies, medicines, and other essential items in case you lose electricity or have to evacuate. You can find a good list of recommended items in our article 5 tips to get you ready for a hurricane.
In addition, know any areas around your property or business that are prone to flooding from storm surges or heavy rains. Consider purchasing flood insurance for your property or business. The closer you are to the coast, the more you should know about evacuation routes in case you’re instructed by local authorities to leave the area. Be sure trees and shrubs near any structures are well trimmed in order to be more wind-resistant. Plan to cover windows with shutters or boards, and bring in all outdoor furniture, garbage cans, etc. Read your insurance policies and familiarize yourself with both your coverage and procedures for filing a claim.
What to do during a hurricane
If a hurricane is approaching, tune into NOAA weather radio or TV for information. Secure windows and outdoor objects. If instructed, turn off utilities and propane tanks. If unable to evacuate, stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors; ideally stay in an interior room or closet. If you’re in a high-rise building, move to the lowest level possible – winds are stronger at higher elevations. Avoid elevators as they will not operate if power goes out due to the storm.
What to do after a hurricane
Stay tuned to radio or TV news for updates. If you evacuated, don’t return home until local officials say it is safe. Carefully walk around your home or business to look for damage or loose power lines. Take photos of any damage you find for use later with an insurance claim. If driving, avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges; watch for fallen trees, electrical wires, and weakened roads and bridges.
If you sustain hurricane damage, look for a reputable disaster restoration company. Ask to see their identification and licenses, and ask for references. Learn more in our article 7 tips for avoiding contractor scams after a hurricane.
Watches vs. Warnings
Tropical Storm Watch: an announcement that tropical storm conditions are possible within the specified area
Hurricane Watch: an announcement that hurricane conditions are possible within the specified area
Because outside preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, watches are issued 48 hours in advance of the onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
Tropical Storm Warning: an announcement that tropical storm conditions are expected within the specified area
Hurricane Warning: an announcement that hurricane conditions are expected within the specified area; preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion
Because outside preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, warnings are issues 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
Disaster One’s emergency response team mobilizes whenever a tropical storm or hurricane is forecast to strike the southeastern United States and stands ready to respond to any storm damage loss. You can call us 24/7/365 at 800-277-4787 or Request Service online if you need help following severe weather.
(Bad weather sign image courtesy of Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net)