Hurricane Preparedness Week in North Carolina

Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 9 to 15, 2021. This is a great time to prepare your home and your family. Here's a list of steps to take now before a hurricane arrives.

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The North Carolina State Climate Office points out that 84 tropical cyclones hit our state between 1851 and 2020. Another 303 tropical storms didn’t hit us but had a significant impact due to storm surges, heavy rains, and flooding.

Even though the Atlantic Coast sees more storms, Winston-Salem experienced the effects of Tropical Depression Bertha in 2020, Extratropical Storm Nestor in 2019, and Tropical Storm Michael in 2018. Michael had the highest winds at 52 mph.

Raleigh saw the effects of Tropical Storm Isaias in 2020 with 69 mph winds, Nestor in 2019, and Michael in 2018. 

Hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through November 30. We have time to prepare. Let’s get started.

Prepare Your Home

You can find shelter in your home during all but the worst weather when it’s wise to evacuate. Here’s a list of tasks you can take to prepare your home along with a list of steps to take immediately before a hurricane.

  • Review home insurance. Flooding from storms isn’t typically covered by homeowner’s insurance. Check with your insurance agent or the National Flood Insurance Program on the coverage that’s available.
  • Setup weather notifications. A weather smartphone app can send you alerts as dangerous weather develops. FEMA also has a mobile app for keeping up with alerts and for finding open shelters. You can also monitor NOAA weather radio.
  • Trim trees. Dead branches and trees can fall on your home in severe winds. Keep them trimmed to keep even healthy limbs away from your home.
  • Keep gutters clear. Gutters and downspouts will route water off your roof and away from your foundation. Clogged gutters will allow water to run directly off your roof and onto your foundation. Keep them clear as part of your routine spring and fall maintenance.
  • Check the foundation drainage system. Along with gutters and downspouts, make sure your basement or crawl space is waterproof with the necessary drainage systems. A sump pump with battery backup is essential during power outages. 
  • Maintain your roof. Repair any loose or missing shingles. Any damage here can allow rain into your attic doing a great deal of damage to your home.
  • Add an emergency generator. A gas or propane generator can keep vital appliances running during a power outage. Test it beforehand to make sure you know how to run it and that you have all the extension cords.
  • Keep backup fuel on hand. You’ll need fuel for the generator to keep it running for several days. Gasoline for a chainsaw to cut downed trees and limbs can come in very handy.
  • Move vehicles. Move them to the garage and make sure you know how to open the garage doors manually since power may be lost. Fill the gas tanks as well.
  • Secure outdoor furniture. Anything outside can become airborne due to high winds, causing considerable damage. Take lawn chairs and other items into storage or secure them in some way to prevent them from taking flight.
  • Cover windows and secure doors. During high winds, tree branches and debris can break windows, allowing wind and rain into your home. Put plywood over your windows or hurricane shutters. A wind-load garage door is also a wise investment to keep this door from blowing in and allowing the wind to lift your roof from the inside.
  • Set up an emergency family shelter. Designate an interior room without windows or a part of your basement for an emergency shelter. In flooding, a second-floor room could work. Stock it with emergency supplies and make sure your family knows where to go.
  • Stock emergency supplies. You and your family could be in your emergency shelter for several days, even after the storm is over. You’ll need food, water, first-aid supplies, flashlight, prescription medications, and the list goes on. Ready.gov has a detailed listing of basic disaster supply kits.

Prepare Your Family

While you’re preparing your home for hurricanes it’s important to also prepare your family. Here’s a list of steps to take.

  • Write a family emergency plan. This document is fundamentally about getting to your home shelter before the storm hits. It should also cover what to do if you’re away from home. Ready.gov has a superb family emergency plan as a starting point.
  • Add school and work plans. An important part of your family plan is what’s planned at work and at school. With that information incorporated, everyone in your family should be prepared no matter where they are when a storm hits.
  • Read the community hurricane response plan. Familiarize yourself with your community’s hurricane response plan. Pay particular attention to shelter locations and evacuation plans as well as notification methods.
  • Set up family emergency contact numbers. As part of your emergency plan, make sure you have contact phone numbers for everyone. That should include schools and workplaces.
  • Establish an emergency meeting location. If your family gets separated during the hurricane’s arrival, each person will need to shelter in place. Set up an emergency meeting location and backup locations for after the storm.
  • Practice your plan together. Once you have your emergency plan pulled together, you’ll need to review it and practice it with your family to bring it to life. You may also discover a few problems that can be corrected now, before the hurricane.

Prepare for Evacuation

Hurricanes are not predictable at all. It may be that you won’t be able to stay in your home due either to storm damage or to evacuation orders. You’ll need to be prepared to evacuate your home and the area.

The community hurricane response plan will provide the location of shelters. You’ll need to plan routes to those shelters as well as backup routes in case of road closure or flooding. You’ll also need emergency supplies to take with you.

We Can Help

We can help identify any issues with your basement or crawl space that need to be addressed before a hurricane or tropical storm arrives. For a free inspection and repair estimate, contact the professionals at Tar Heel Basement Systems.