Preparing Homes for Hurricanes

People who live on the Atlantic Coast of the United States are very familiar with hurricanes. These strong tropical storms that top 60mph in wind speeds and bring torrential rain and severe flooding are active from June through October. While forecasters have become much better at tracking hurricanes and issuing warnings to areas that in the path of a hurricane, residents still have to ride the storm out when it makes landfall. There are many things you can do as a homeowner to prepare for hurricanes and here are a few tips that can help you, your family and your home survive a hurricane.

When you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters, such as California and earthquakes and Oklahoma and tornadoes, you need to be vigilant about keeping track of severe weather alerts. Hurricanes form in the warm waters of the Caribbean and South Atlantic and forecasters are very skilled at tracking these storms as they move towards the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic seaboard. During hurricane season it is crucial that you stay aware of warnings and watches that indicate a severe storm may be headed your way.

When a hurricane strikes there isn’t much you can do except take shelter and wait it out. If a hurricane is predicted to be a Category 3 or higher you may be forced to evacuate particular areas, especially if you are right on the water. You will usually know a few days in advance that a storm is coming and that is the time to stock up on emergency supplies that will help you and your family get through the trying aftermath. Hurricanes often knock out power for days and sometimes weeks and this can disrupt your electricity and water supply. Always have a disaster kit on hand that includes purified drinking water, food bars, warm clothes and blankets, crank radios and fully charged cell phones. Be sure to keep your supplies in waterproof safety cabinets or plastic bags.

While most people are under the impression that wind is the worst part of a hurricane it is actually flooding that causes the most damage. Don’t wait for the week before a major storm to contact an insurance provider about flood insurance. Rarely will an insurance company write a flood insurance policy when a storm is imminent. Assess the risks to your home and your proximity to the ocean, rivers and reservoirs and speak to your insurance representative to determine if flood insurance should be part of your homeowner’s policy.