It only takes one storm to change your life and community. Tropical cyclones are among nature’s most powerful and destructive phenomena. If you live in an area prone to tropical cyclones, you need to be prepared. To learn how visit hurricanes.gov/prepare.
The threats from hurricanes to you and your family can vary widely depending on where you live. It’s not just those along the coast that can experience significant, life-threatening impacts. Evaluate what you need to do to protect your home and family NOW, before the first storm of the season even forms.
Take some time to make sure you have a hurricane evacuation plan. The first thing you need to do is find out if you live in a storm surge hurricane evacuation zone or if you’re in a home that would be unsafe during a hurricane. If you are, figure out where you’d go and how you’d get there if told to evacuate. You do not need to travel hundreds of miles. Identify someone, perhaps a friend or relative who doesn’t live in an evacuation zone or unsafe home, and coordinate with them to use their home as your evacuation destination. Be sure to account for your pets, as most local shelters do not permit them. Put the plan in writing for you and those you care about. hurricanes.gov/prepare
Just having enough supplies to make it through a hurricane isn’t enough. You need plenty to make it through what could be a LONG recovery period too. Water and electricity could be out for a week or more. Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family for a MINIMUM of three days. Also make sure you have extra cash, a battery-powered radio, flashlights, and a portable crank or solar powered USB charger to charge your cell phone. ready.gov/kit
This Hurricane Preparedness Week, call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance checkup to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or even replace your home...and remember, standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding. Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you’ll need a separate policy for flooding. floodsmart.gov. Act now as flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period.
If you plan to ride out a hurricane in your home, make sure it is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications. Have the proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors. Remember, the garage door is the most vulnerable part of the home, so it must be able to withstand high winds. flash.org/protect.php
Many Americans rely on their neighbors after a disaster, but there are also many ways you can help your neighbors before a hurricane approaches. Learn about all the different actions your community can take to prepare and recover from the hazards associated with hurricanes: ready.gov/neighbors
The time to prepare for a hurricane is NOW, before the season begins. Once you’re under pressure, having a written plan will take the guesswork out of what you need to do to protect you and your family.
Know where you will ride out the storm and get your supplies now. You don’t want to be standing in long lines when a Hurricane Watch is issued. Those supplies that you need will probably be sold out by the time you reach the front of the line.
Being prepared now will mean the difference between your being a hurricane victim and a hurricane survivor.
The ingredients for a hurricane include:
- A preexisting weather disturbance
- Relatively light winds aloft
- Warm tropical oceans
If the right conditions persist long enough, they can combine to produce the violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains, and floods we associate with this phenomenon.
Each year, an average of 10 tropical storms develop over the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. Many of these remain over the ocean and never impact the U.S. coastline. Of these, 6 storms become hurricanes each year.
In an average 3-year period, roughly 5 hurricanes strike the US coastline, killing approximately 50 - 100 people anywhere from Texas to Maine. Of these, 2 are typically "major" or "intense" hurricanes (a category 3 or higher storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale).
Disaster prevention includes modifying your home to strengthen it against storms so that you can be as safe as possible. It also includes having the supplies on hand to weather the storm. The suggestions provided here are only guides. You should use common sense in your disaster prevention.
Hurricane Preparedness includes:
Creating a Disaster Supply Kit: There are certain items you need to have regardless of where you ride out a hurricane. The disaster supply kit is a useful tool when you evacuate as well as making you as safe as possible in your home.
- Developing a Family Plan: Your family’s plan should be based on your vulnerability to the Hurricane Hazards. You should keep a written plan and share your plan with other friends or family.
- Having a Pet Plan
- Having a Place to Go
- Securing your Home: There are things that you can do to make your home more secure and able to withstand stronger storms
For more tips and useful information, check out the National Weather Service website. You can also find useful information about your community’s vulnerability to specific hazards such as hurricanes.
One of the most important decisions you will have to make is "Should I Evacuate?" If officials recommend that you evacuate, you should do so without delay.