If you have just moved to Florida, then you may have heard all the stories about hurricanes and tropical storms. You’ve seen images on the news with the damage hurricanes like Michael produce, and you are afraid one could leave you homeless. The locals may encourage you not to worry because they have lived through dozens of hurricanes and they didn’t experience incidents.
What’s the secret of living a life without incidents? You need to be prepared for the hurricane season, and to handle it as a serious problem.
The hurricane season in Florida regularly starts June 1 and lasts through November 30, but most of the hurricanes form near the end of the season.
During September, most of the hurricanes happen, and they start in the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean Sea. Annually, one or two hurricanes make landfall on the eastern coast of America, and 40% of them hit Florida. In 2018, hurricane Michael catastrophically hit the Florida area.
The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season was near-normal. 15 tropical storms hit the land with more than 39mph.
Don’t worry, a hurricane won’t hit without warning. Advanced technology registers weather phenomena and advertises people in time to prepare for extreme weather.
Do you have a hurricane emergency kit?
The last thing you want is to run to the local shop when the hurricane is close and to find empty shelves because all your neighbours have stampeded stores. It’s advisable to put together the emergency kit before the hurricane season starts. Your emergency kit should at least include the following:
- One gallon of water for every member of the family for 3 days
- 3-day supply of non-perishable food
- First-aid kit
- Matches, candles and flashlights
- A battery-operated radio
- Basic tools
- Phone chargers
- Pet food
Check the expiration dates for all supplies to ensure none expires before the hurricane season ends.
It would be wise to keep some cash stores in your emergency kit because a power blackout would damage all the ATMs.
Is your house ready for a hurricane?
If your house is located in a hurricane-prone area, you should have a hurricane evacuation plan as a precaution. Tropical storms are very unpredictable and you don’t want to worry last minute that you have no idea how to evacuate. Alongside the emergency kit, you should also ask one of your friends or family if you can crash at their house if a hurricane hits Florida.
Homeowners insurance in Florida is essential because if a hurricane destroys your house, the policy covers the damage, and repair or rebuild costs. If you think a storm is bad, imagine having your house destroyed by a hurricane.
Ensure that your coverage includes both wind and flood damage because some insurances provide help only in one case. Consider purchasing both flood and wind insurance before the hurricane season comes.
Inspect your house a month before the hurricane season starts, to know what maintenance work it needs. Start with the roof and continue with the exterior and interior.
What to do outside the house?
If you have potted plants, lawn ornaments, outdoor furniture or garbage cans placed outside the house, you should store them in the garage because they can become projectiles in case of a storm. Before the hurricane season comes, trim the shrubs and trees because any dead branch can become a possible danger to your house or people walking by. When the wind blows, it can remove the dead limbs and throw them to your windows.
If you have a pool you should clean it, treat it, and install a cover. Any other building located outside the house is a possible danger, so you should check the doors and windows to be tight close because wind can blow them off the hinges.
Check the storm drains and ensure nothing is blocking them because often they are the main cause of water build-ups.
How to prepare your house’s exterior
Now that your yard and pool are ready for the hurricane season, you should check the house’s exterior. The gutters and downspouts should be clean, secure and tighten to the house, to prevent an incident. Often, loose gutters cause roof damage. After securing them you should consider installing clips and straps to fasten the roof to the house because a hurricane can easily remove it from its place. Don’t do any of the above tasks on your own, they are dangerous and they require the skills of a professional.
If your house doesn’t have storm shutters, you should install permanent ones because wind often blows windows and doors of. Storm shutters provide extra protection. During a hurricane, your house works as a ship in the space, any hole causes depressurisation and you need to cover it to isolate the inside. Board up all the house doors, including the garage one to protect the structure of the house.
How to prepare your house’s interior
Take precautions both inside and outside the house. By adjusting the refrigerator’s temperature to the coldest setting, you have greater chances to preserve food for a longer time if your house loses power. Remove the fuses from the air conditioning system to protect them from damage.
Hurricanes often lead to flood, so when one is expected to hit your area you should unplug all the electrical equipment. This includes your fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, stove and range. It’s fatal to enter a room flooded with electrically charged water.
To protect them from corrosion, failure and rust, you should move the small appliances to the higher floors of the house, this way flood won’t affect them. You should also remove the rugs if you expect a flood in your area.
These recommendations may seem extreme, but they can help you reduce the damage extreme weather can produce. Ensure you check every piece of advice from this list when storms are waited in your area.