Hurricane season officially began June 1, 2018 and runs through November 30, 2018. During this time period, hurricanes are more likely to develop and potentially affect certain areas. It is important not to wait to begin your hurricane preparations as these tropical storms intensify quickly and change paths at a moment’s notice. Depending on the category of the hurricane, you can expect heavy rains, high winds, erosion, and storm surges.

Many residents of the East Coast, Gulf Coast, and Atlantic Region by now are used to this ‘hurricane lifestyle’ and know what to expect and how to react; however, it is never a bad idea to regularly check your house, restock your disaster supply kit, and maintain the tools and items you may need in the event of a hurricane. If you live on or near an area that is prone to experiencing hurricanes, or know someone who lives in these locations, you’ll want to read this post to learn pertinent information associated with hurricane prep, developing a disaster plan, and protecting your family and property. Even if hurricanes are not on your radar, this information can be applied to other similar natural disasters that may occur in the area where you live.


Tropical Weather Updates


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Once a tropical storm has been upgraded to a hurricane, it is assigned a category that can change during its course increasing or decreasing in strength. The categories are determined based on a wind scale with a 1 to 5 rating that predicts the severity and level of damage expected.

Category 1: Sustained winds ranging from 74 to 95 mph. Very dangerous winds that will produce some damage.

Category 2: Sustained winds ranging from 96-110 mph. Extremely dangerous winds that will cause extensive damage.

Category 3: Sustained winds ranging from 111-129 mph. Devastating damage expected.

Category 4: Sustained winds ranging from 130-156 mph. Catastrophic damage expected.

Category 5: Sustained winds 157 mph or higher. Catastrophic damage will occur.


 Creating a Disaster Supply Kit


tropical weather updates

In the event that an approaching hurricane is strong enough to cause power outages and extreme damage, you will want to create a disaster supply kit for you and your family. The supply kit will need to include water, non-perishable foods, medications, and any other necessary items that you may need for each person. To determine how much food and water you will need per person, you must count how many people are in your care and purchase enough to last for five to seven days for each of them. Have at least one gallon of water per person, per day, stored in clean, airtight containers. Include at least a half of a gallon of water per day for each pet in your household. When shopping for food, gather non-perishable items so your food won’t spoil or go to waste if your home loses power and your refrigerator is not operable. Have at a minimum, enough food for each person to eat three meals a day with a five to seven day supply. Also consider any special dietary restrictions that a family member may have, especially if you have an infant. If you or anyone that will be with you during a hurricane takes prescription medications or requires medication daily, ensure that your prescriptions are filled and medicines are restocked to last for two weeks. If you are unsure what kind of items you should be gathering, reference our list of suggestions below:

Food

  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned fruit
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Bread
  • Sugar
  • Cereal
  • Canned soups
  • Cookies, crackers, snacks
  • Infant food, formula
  • Canned meats
  • Drinks (bottle, can, powder)

Personal Items

  • Medications, vitamins
  • Extra hearing aid batteries
  • Toothpaste, toothbrush
  • Baby bottles
  • Wet wipes
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Assorted safety pins
  • Comb
  • Denture care
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Extra eyeglasses
  • Saline solution and contact lens case
  • Razor, shaving cream
  • Cash (bills, change)
  • Sewing kit
  • Diapers
  • Change of clothing
  • Extra bedding such as pillows, blankets and sleeping bags

First Aid Supplies

  • Aspirin/ acetaminophen
  • 2 pairs of latex gloves
  • Mosquito repellent with DEET
  • Q-tips
  • Cotton balls
  • Gauze/adhesive bandages
  • Sunscreen
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Peroxide
  • First aid tape
  • Water purification tablets
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Ointment for cuts/ insect bites
  • Compresses
  • Thermometer
  • Ipecac syrup and activated charcoal (for accidental poison)

Other Necessary Items

  • Flashlights
  • Lanterns
  • Candles
  • Extra batteries
  • Masking/duct tape
  • Portable AM/FM Radio
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Non-electric clock
  • Whistle
  • Napkins or paper towels
  • Large plastic bags
  • Rubber boots
  • Fix-a-Flat for tires
  • Ice chest
  • Chlorinated bleach
  • Manual can opener
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Dust masks
  • Weather radio with alarm
  • Plywood
  • Screwdriver, screws
  • Aluminum foil
  • Portable folding cot
  • Bungee cords
  • Camera/video/film
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Disposable dishware/utensils
  • Mop, bucket, broom
  • Plastic wrap, foil
  • All-purpose cleaner/disinfectant
  • Washcloths, towels
  • Utility knife
  • Pliers, vise grips
  • Plastic safety goggles
  • Time occupiers (books, magazines, games, cards)
  • Waterproof portable plastic container w/lid for important papers

Making a Disaster Plan


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Well in advance of a potential storm, you and your family should develop a disaster plan. This will guarantee that the best course of action is in place and your safety is a top priority. Follow these 10 steps for making a disaster plan for not only hurricanes, but any major storm or emergency:


1. Discuss Disasters as a Family.

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Sit your family down for a meeting to discuss what happens when disaster strikes. Include your children in the conversation and allow them to express any fears they may have so you can then assure them that you will doing everything you can to protect them.


2. Make Evacuation Plans.

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If you live in an area that requires evacuations in the event of a major hurricane, determine ahead of time where you will evacuate to. If you have family members or friends that live in an area that will be safe or safer from the effects of a hurricane than your location, ask if you and your family can stay with them. If you do not have this option and require the use of a shelter, research the available shelters in your area and decide which one will be the best for you. Not all shelters will accept pets, and only some shelters provide assistance for those with special and medical needs.


3. Inventory Your Valuables.

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It is important to document the condition of your home and any valuables you have prior to a hurricane. Make a list of items that you consider to be valuable and write down any important information about those items such as model and serial numbers. Also take photographs of your house and each room. This will come in handy in the event that you must make an insurance claim after the storm.


4. Check the Exterior of Your Home.

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Take some time to walk around the perimeter of your house and check for any vulnerable areas. You should be paying close attention to the roof, windows, garage, patio doors, screen enclosures, and landscaping. Make necessary repairs ahead of time to prevent further damage from being caused.


5. Protect Your Vehicles.

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Think about the location where you usually park your car and determine if it will be safe there. If you feel it won’t be, determine the best place to move your vehicle where it will receive minimal damage if any. Do this if you have RVs or boats as well.


6. Reduce Damage to Your Property.

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There are several things you can do to your home and property that will minimize the amount of damage you may sustain during a hurricane:

  • Install storm shutters
  • Get a generator
  • Trim trees
  • Pick up any loose branches or debris that could become a projectile
  • Strap or tie down sheds with lids or doors
  • Fill sandbags and place in front of doors

7. Identify Special Needs.

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If you or someone you care for has special needs, make arrangements in advance for transportation and care.


8. Make a Plan for Your Pets.

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Have a plan for your pets in case of a hurricane. If you are evacuating, make arrangements for them to travel with you. If you plan to utilize a shelter, double check that they accept animals. Consider large, outdoor pets such as horses and cows that may also require your attention.


9. Have a Disaster Supply Kit.

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Referencing the list above, create a disaster supply kit with enough for each person in your family to last up to a week. Do not wait until the last minute to do your shopping for the disaster supply kit as many people have experienced going to a store to find empty shelves.


10. Share Your Plan.

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Whether you are planning on staying in your home or evacuating it is very important to let someone know your plan. Tell a friend, neighbor, family member, or coworker where you will be and how they can get in contact with you.

A hurricane is a scary, damaging storm. For more information on how to prepare, check out 10 Ways to Prepare Your Family for Natural Disasters.

How to Prepare for a Hurricane


Source: Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

Picture Credit: Pixabay

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