Prepare Now for a Bad Hurricane Season
The predictions for the 2022 hurricane season are downright frightening as experts point to higher temperatures, extra hot water currents in the Gulf, and favorable trade winds for hurricane development. Some have compared the current weather environment to 2005 when Hurricane Katrina destroyed a large swath of the Northern Gulf Coast. Every homeowner should take heed because it is predicted to be a more active than normal year.
With inflation, trucking issues, and supply chain shortages, a bad hurricane season is the last thing the supply industry needs, and while I don’t suggest homeowners panic, commonsense preparations are advisable. Trying to gather supplies a few days before a storm will be tough and there is a good chance a lot of store shelves will be empty.
First, get your emergency kit ready. Verify you have plenty of water, at least a gallon per person per day, and check those emergency medical supplies and batteries. For the next several months, do your best not to run out of prescription medicine. However, if you do run out, and the state goes under a watch or warning, you will still have some time to get prescriptions filled. Most importantly, have an evacuation plan. In Central Florida most areas that are away from water should be safe if you live in a sturdy structure. If you live in a mobile home or an older, unstable home, now is the time to become familiar with your local shelter options, especially if you have a medical condition or pet. You will need to register with your local county government for a shelter that provides medical assistance, plus your pets will have to be fully vaccinated and crated.
Based on previous hurricanes, Florida emergency managers encourage people to shelter in place if they live away from water and in a structurally sound home. The roads will be jam packed and if service stations run out of fuel, traveling could be a nightmare. Don’t wait to establish your emergency contact tree helpline with friends and family just in case you lose cell phone and other communication methods.
Gas is expensive, but it will be more expensive and in short supply if the area goes under a hurricane threat. You should only store fuel for your generators if you have the proper containers and a safe place at your home because gas can be highly combustible if not stored properly. If you have a generator, now is the time to make sure it is in good working condition, so it is ready to go when a hurricane threatens. It is too late to have small engines serviced once a storm threat materializes.
Start looking around your home and plan for clearing trees off the roof and leaves out of gutter, and if you have a leak in your roof, get it fixed. You will also need to know where you will store items in your yard that could be blown around. Walk your home’s exterior to figure out what windows you will need to board up and be sure you have the supplies to get this done. The last time the area was under a major hurricane threat suppliers ran out of masonry anchors and screws to attach plywood to their walls, and many stores completely ran out of plywood. Keep in mind that if windows are blown out during this hurricane season, you could be waiting 16-24 weeks for replacement windows and doors, so boarding up your home properly may be a lot more important.
Find your homeowner’s insurance policy and be sure you know who to call in the event of a storm. Additionally, if you are renting, you need renter’s insurance because your personal belongings are not covered by the rental home policy of the landlord. Rental insurance is very inexpensive, but it can be a lifesaver if you lose your personal items during a storm.
Go over your checklist and get a plan in place now for you, your family, and your home because this could be a tough year for hurricanes. Now is the time to prepare, not when the storm watches and warnings go up. Let’s hope the forecasters are wrong.
Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Show which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.