In the US, hurricanes are one of the biggest natural disasters to affect the country. Yearly they cost billions of dollars in damages to national infrastructure and property and sometimes claim lives as well.
If you live in the US and you feel that you are vulnerable to hurricanes you might think of how to prepare your house for any incoming threats. In this article, we are going to talk about how to do that.
What States Are Most Affected by Hurricane Season?
Now it is important to remember that not all areas in the US are affected by hurricanes in the same way. Before you go prepping your house for the worst, it might be better to consider if your house is under any threat of hurricanes.
Typically hurricanes enter the US from the Eastern seaboard and normally the coastal states, that line the Gulf of Mexico and slightly above it, are the most vulnerable. These usually include Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Out of these Florida is the most affected with over 120 hurricanes hitting the state over the past 2 decades. So if your house is situated in Florida or one of its neighbouring states, it would be prudent to prepare your home for hurricanes.
When is the Hurricane Season?
When you are preparing your house for hurricanes it is crucial that you know when the hurricane season starts so that you can be fully ready before it actually starts.
The hurricane season generally starts around the month of June and goes on until November; of course, the exact start and end dates tend to differ a bit yearly.
The peak season happens between August and October with the middle of September being the period where you are most likely to face a hurricane. So if you are thinking of hurricane-proofing your house, it would be smart to make sure that it is all finished by at least June.
How to Prepare Your Home for a Hurricane
Now that you have an idea of where and when hurricanes are most likely to cause harm, you can figure out how much of a risk your house has. If you think that your house is situated in a high-risk area you might want to keep an eye out for warnings issued by the National Weather Service. These usually fall under 3 categories.
The first is Advisory, which is usually issued when the hurricane is likely to cause you inconveniences that might affect you somewhat but unlikely to cause threats to lives. The second is Watch, which is issued when there are indications that a hurricane will affect the area that you live in within the next 48 hours and that you should get your house ready for it or even get ready to evacuate if it comes to it. The third is Warning, which means that a hurricane is about to make landfall in your area within the next 36 hours and you should be ready to evacuate if your local authorities announce an evacuation.
Keeping an eye out for these warnings will ensure that you know how a hurricane is going to affect your area and how you should react when the situation demands it.
How to prepare your house for High Winds
When it comes to hurricanes, the most unique aspect that causes large amounts of damages compared to normal rainstorms is the wind factor. A hurricane dispenses huge amounts of energy through wind and you would be smart to make sure you and your house and property are well protected by high winds.
The main way to protect your house from high winds is to strengthen your home by reinforcing it using different construction methods and also by bolstering your roof, walls, doors, and windows by giving them extra strength and supports.
If a storm is coming make sure to bring all loose, light-weighted objects from outside your house and garden and bring them indoors or at least secure them tightly, so that they aren’t blown away. Patio furniture is at high risk during this period. Remove or trim trees surrounding your house so that they won’t cause harm to your house by toppling over.
As per the Federal Emergency Management Agency criteria, add a safe room or storm shelter to your house. This will enable you and your family members to be safe and secure until the storm passes.
How to Prepare for Floods
Flooding is the second greatest threat brought by a hurricane and every year they cause billions of dollars of damage in the aftermath of the storm.
There are a number of ways to save your house from flood and water damage. Some of these methods are very easy to implement while others can be expensive.
The first thing that you can do is to make sure your gutters and drains are free of debris. You can install check valves in your sewer lines so that they don’t overflow on your end because of floodwater. You can also install water alarms and sump pumps in order to keep an eye on the water levels. All these things you can do without affecting your purse that much
There are other more expensive that you can take to limit food damage. One of them would be to waterproof your basement and the other would be to elevate your house. Both of these would take up a lot of time and money to indulge in them if you really want the extra added protection.
If you live in a high-risk area consider going for flood insurance. There is only so much that you can do against the wrath of nature, so getting some extra insurance wouldn’t do any harm.
Store some Emergency Supplies
Emergency supplies are a must if you live in a high-risk area. You will need to prepare these for when you are riding out the storm and also after the storm and there is flooding preventing you from traveling outside. The most common emergency supplies that you will need are listed below.
One of the main things that you need is a method to communicate with others outside your home. It will have to be a device that can run on independent power. You will also need to stock up on food and water. Make sure that are non-perishable and can last you at least 3 days minimum.
Medical supplies are crucial as well. You might have a family member who is on regular medication or you might suddenly get a medical emergency. So stocking up on medicine would be a good idea. Together with medicine remember to pack up some protective gear such as extra warm clothes and blankets.
It might not mean much now but make sure to gather your critical documents such as birth certificates and property ownership papers and back documents and pack them in a water-tight container. Thank me later!
Gathering all of these items will take a few weeks. But break them down and collect them one by one before the hurricane season starts.
Dealing with Power Failures
One of the most common outcomes of a hurricane is power outages. High winds can easily take down power lines and flooding can usually take power stations out of commission for several days.
If you can afford it, get a backup power generator. Stock up on hand-held lights and torches and get extra batteries. If you can collect any gear that you can charge by hand-cranking, it will be very helpful.
What you should do in case a power outage happens is to try and reach someone from the power company and let them know where you live and that you are without power. Once that is done be patient and hold tight. Some people are lucky and usually get their power restored within 2-3 days but if you live in a remote area it might take a longer time.
What to do in case of an Evacuation
If a storm is incoming and your neighbourhood has been identified as a high-risk area, you might get an evacuation notice from the local authorities. It might be a very difficult decision, whether to leave or stay back. If you decide to evacuate select the most important items that cannot afford to lose and join the others going out of the high-risk areas.
If you decide to stay back, just remember that the hurricane can do more long-term damage to your area than just wind or flood damage. Your entire area can lose both power and water and you might end up being trapped in your house for several days because of blocked roads. If you decided to evacuate, wait until local authorities say it is safe to return to your neighbourhood. The main thing to keep in mind is that the hurricane could have caused unseen damages to your house. There have been plenty of instances where people have been hurt after entering or cleaning houses after a hurricane. Make sure to get a qualified inspector to go through your house before starting the clean-up process.