BEFORE THE STORM
On the Atlantic seaboard, a hurricane generally starts as a pressure system being tracked off the coast of Africa, where it forms from a Tropical Disturbance then a Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm, and finally Hurricane. Satellite imagery has become much more accurate in the past decades and meteorologists will have a good understanding where the storm is headed and what conditions are present to gauge the intensity of the event.
Before the storm is announced, a ready-to-go hurricane kit alleviates the stress of bundling items together at the last minute, especially as shops and markets quickly empty of supplies in the hours before the storm hits. An essential kit should include, among many items a multi-tool, a battery operated radio, a flashlights with extra batteries, a first aid kit, extra cash, checks should ATMs fail, a map of the surrounding area, extra water, charged batteries for portable devices, and essential documents such as ID’s, proof of insurance, certificates, and residency documents. Also be sure to stock essentials for children, pets, and elderly residents who may need assistance.
When the storm is announced and tracked, prepare other factors such as the house and vehicle. Keep branches and trees trimmed well before the storm, as there will not be any collection of debris when a storm is on the way, and any remaining pieces of debris may become projectiles during the storm. Take any patio furniture inside. Cover any doors and windows with plywood or metal shutters and protect openings from projectiles.
If you’re not evacuating, choose a windowless room or closet to remain inside until the storm has passed. Contrary to belief, any furniture or objects thrown into a pool may still be hazardous in high winds. Prepare vehicles by keeping gas tanks full before the storm and storing them in a safe location away from overhead branches or power lines.