How to Prepare for a Hurricane


Preparing During the Off Season

The hurricane season in the Atlantic begins in June and lasts until November. The peak time for these storms is in mid-August to late October. In the Eastern Pacific, hurricane season is a bit longer, starting May 15 and lasting until November 30.

If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you might assume that your home is fairly storm-proof. And you might be right – but you don't want to find out the hard way that you're wrong. You should never make any assumptions about your home's safety: It's your job to personally make sure that everything's secure. And the time to do that is definitely not when a hurricane is rumbling your way in late August. Take some time in the off-season to ask yourself these questions:

  • Does my home meet code requirements for high winds?
  • What's my property's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and hurricane-force winds?
  • Are the garage doors and roof shingles reinforced?
  • Do we have any landscaping or trees that could be a wind hazard?
  • Are there hurricane straps securing the roof to the walls of the home?

If you don't have protection for your windows, now's the time to get it. Store the window covers in a place that will be easy to access. Storm shutters are the most reliable way of protecting windows and doors. Made from aluminum or steel, the shutters are attached to the outside of the house. When a storm arrives, you simply roll the metal curtain down. If you can't spring for shutters, measure all of your windows and glass doors and get 5/8-inch-thick plywood cut to fit them [source: FEMA].

High winds can easily topple trees. If the trees are close to your house, trim the branches, or remove the trees outright. If you're building a new house, the experts recommend planting trees far enough away to prevent any damage should they fall [source: FEMA].

Last editorial update on Aug 30, 2019 03:03:45 pm.

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Sources

  • Cannarsa, Andrew. "How to prepare for hurricane season." Baltimore Post-Examiner." June 9, 2012. (June 30, 2012). http://baltimorepostexaminer.com/how-to-prepare-for-hurricane-season/2012/06/09
  • FEMA. "Protect Your Property from High Winds." (June 30, 2012). http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=3263
  • Fenton, Reuven, Livingston, Ikimulisa and Sanderson, Bill. "Hurricane Irene on path toward New York City and Long Island." New York Post. Aug. 26, 2011. (June 30, 2012). http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/irene_becomes_major_hurricane_as_T09PLRDmLThEFZj7D9Q5NO
  • Hurricane Science.org. "Hurricanes: Science and Society." (June 30, 2012). http://www.hurricanescience.org/science/forecast/models/modelshistory/
  • Ready.gov. "Build a Kit." (Aug. 30, 2019). http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit
  • Ready.gov. "Hurricanes." (Aug. 30, 2019). http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes