What to Do in the Event of a Hurricane: A Primer

Hurricane Force Winds
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Hurricanes are scary, and not something to be taken lightly. If you live in a low-lying coastal region, the appearance of a hurricane on the horizon can trigger evacuation orders. If your area is under an evacuation warning, you need to heed it. Weather services and local authorities don’t issue these orders to inconvenience you. They’re for your safety.

Here’s a quick checklist of things to do in the event of a hurricane. Remember, final word on weather safety falls to local weather services. Stay safe out there!

Batten Down the Hatches

Get your home ready for a hurricane if you have enough advanced warning. Move your outdoor furniture into the house, and close all storm shutters. If you have multiple stories, move any fragile items higher up in case of flooding. If you don’t, just move furniture to the center of rooms in case some water seeps in.

Remember, if you don’t get much forewarning, you should just leave as soon as possible. You can replace your possessions, but you can’t replace lives that are lost in floodwaters.

Stay Supplied

When a hurricane is on the way, make sure you’ve got supplies already on hand. You’ll want a full tank of gas, ample bottled water, any prescription medications your family takes, changes of clothes and other such supplies. The less time you spend fumbling for your supplies, the more of a jump you’ll get on the storm.

It can be helpful to gather your supplies into one place, such as a waterproof bin, that you can grab and go. This prevents confusion and scrambling in the event of no forewarning of an evacuation order. Remember to stock up on non-perishable food items and flashlights, as well as batteries and a battery powered FM radio.

Have a Plan

If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricane activity, you need to know what your evacuation route is. Confer with your family and make an evacuation plan. Where will you meet if there’s an evacuation order? What route will you take out of town? How will you avoid the worst of the traffic?

If you avoid answering these questions until it’s time to get out of town, you’ll be in trouble. It’s difficult enough to respond to a chaotic situation when you have a plan. Add in confusion, miscommunication and fear to that chaos, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Remember: cooler heads will prevail, so you need to set yourself up for success.

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Written by
Jeremy Liu

Jeremy Liu has always been fascinated by extreme weather—but he prefers to write about the world’s deadliest storms from the safety and comfort of his home office. He’s much less likely to get hit with a flying cow that way. (And yes, Jeremy’s favorite movie is Twister.)

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Written by Jeremy Liu