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Hurricane season is known for its not too pleasant surprises. The Atlantic hurricane season runs between June 1st and November 30th. The most vulnerable areas in the Atlantic basin are Bahamas, Florida, Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. If you are from any of these areas, it is very important for you to take proper precautions for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season.
Know the giant
A hurricane is a monstrous creation of the tropical weather with wind speeds of 74 mph or more. A Category 1 hurricane is a tropical storm with wind speeds under 94 mph. If the wind speed touches 111 mph or more, it is termed as a major hurricane and gets categorized on the higher side of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. NOAA tries to track and predict the movement of hurricanes and alerts people by announcing the category of the storm.
Things to remember
Strong hurricanes are common in August, September, and October. This period usually witnesses a number of tropical disturbances in the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Caribbean sea. However, it is a good idea to ready your house for such tropical depressions before June. Some of the most important things to remember in the United States in this regard include:
1. Stay updated
NOAA issues hurricane warnings with vital details such as the category and prospective route. It is important that you check out these messages frequently to avoid any unpleasant surprise.
2. Stock up your supplies
Photo by Red Cross [Public domain] from wikimedia commons
It is always wise to keep your stocks full during this season. Keep a good stock of the following non-perishable items.
- Extra batteries
- Candles and lamps
- Tools and materials for home repairs (plastic sheeting, hammer, and plywood)
- Prescription drugs
- Ready supply of drinking water for the entire family
- Ready-to-eat food
- First-aid supplies
- Portable NOAA radio
- Wrench among other important basic tools
3. Plan ahead of time
This is extremely important for individuals who live near the coasts. Try to have a detailed evacuation plan in place. If possible, organize disaster drills with your entire family so that everyone clearly understands their role during an emergency. Also, do not forget your pets. Your plan needs to take them into account too.
4. Review your insurance carefully
Most home insurance policies do not include flood and wind damages. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, it is important for you to go for some extra flood coverage. However, changes in policies take around 30 days to get reflected. So, plan, review and buy your additional coverage well ahead of time keeping the prospective renovation costs in mind.
5. Check the roof of your house
Photo by Win Henderson [Public domain] from wikimedia commons
Make it a practice to do a thorough roof inspection before every hurricane season. Change the portions that look damaged or old to be on the safer side.
6. Sandbags can help during floods
Sandbags can help divert water away if you can place them correctly. It is a good idea to keep a few of these handy during emergency situations.
7. Keep the gutters clean
Photo by U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Lucy M. Quinn [Public domain]
It is crucial that your gutters are all clean during this season. Check to see if water is flowing down your gutters easily. If needed, get some professional help for this.
8. Keep the outdoor hurricane-ready
While it is natural to focus more on the interiors of your house during a hurricane alarm, you cannot afford to forget about the outdoor furniture. If you cannot bring them all in, make sure they are tied to the ground. Also, remember to trim the loose tree branches around your house to avoid accidents.
9. Get storm shutters for the windows
Photo by Robert Kaufmann/FEMA [Public domain] from wikimedia commons
Storm shutters can be lifesavers during a hurricane attack. They help protect the window glass from breaking and flying around. The price of these shutters vary between $200 and $1000, depending on the material used. Make sure to get these shutters installed before the hurricane season.
10. The power of many
It is essential that you think in terms of your entire neighborhood and not just your family, while preparing for the hurricane season. Share and discuss your plan with the neighbors and keep them in the loop. In times of emergency, fighting together often saves the day.
11. Identify the shut-offs
You must identify all your gas, electricity and water shut-offs. When a hurricane hits and your local authority asks you to turn the gas off, you will need to act immediately.
12. Keep the freezer as cold as possible
Set your freezer to the coldest possible setting to preserve your food for slightly longer in case of a long power cut.
13. Keep the supplies dry
Make sure to store your supplies in a dry and clean room. This will not only keep the supplies good to use, but will also make it easier for you to collect them during an emergency.
14. Remove the plugs during power cuts
It is a good idea to remove the plugs of all your electric appliances during power cuts. This will save the appliances from getting damaged when the power comes back on.
15. Check the structure
Check your entire house to ensure there are no leaks in the walls, windows and doors. If you happen to find any leak, make sure to get it repaired before the hurricane season sets in.
16. Create a home inventory
A home inventory can help you get the insurance claims settled faster. It will also tell you if you have enough coverage for your house. If you need to evacuate, make sure you take this inventory along with the other essentials with you.
17. Spread the information
It is vital that you share the exact location of every essential item in the house with all members of your family. This will allow other members of the family to act on their own without having to depend on you for everything. If and when the hurricane hits, remember to stay calm and avoid panic.
18. Split it right during evacuation
In case you are asked to evacuate by the local authority, make sure you divide all types of supplies in the backpack of your family members. In case someone gets separated, this step can prove to be a lifesaver.
19. Mental strength is key
In the event of a hurricane strike, a strong mind can make a lot of difference when it comes to taking the right action. While it is easy to get scared and lose the plot, it is essential that you stay focussed. Follow the plan that you have prepared to tackle the situation. Also, be on the lookout for updates and instructions from the local authority.
20. Keep the documents safe
It is a good idea to keep your important documents close to you when a hurricane strikes and you are asked to evacuate. Documents such as identity proof, insurance papers, and home inventory are very important when it comes to filing your insurance claims.
These are some of the most important things to remember during the hurricane season. Prepare yourself and your house well in advance to avoid major damages.