Mother’s Day has had its fair share of questionable weather over the years. One big weather event that comes to mind is Tropical Storm Ana that moved ashore in Myrtle Beach in 2015.
The out-of-season subtropical cyclone formed north of the Bahamas on May 7 before gaining tropical characteristics while sitting in the warm gulf stream waters a day later. By the morning of the 9th, with winds near 60 mph, Ana was designated a Tropical Storm and had the attention of many along the eastern seaboard.
By 6:00 a.m. on May 10, Ana made landfall near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. As the storm moved onshore with 45 mph winds it began to weaken, but it still packed a punch, dumping over six inches of rain from north Myrtle Beach to Southport, North Carolina. The strong winds also created rough surf along the coast of the Carolinas, which led to moderate-to-severe beach erosion.
Keep in mind while this was a tropical storm that formed outside of the traditional hurricane season which officially begins on June 1, now is a good time to get prepared. That’s why the National Hurricane Center runs National Hurricane Preparedness week from May 1 through the 7th this year. The earlier the start, the more prepared you can be. Plus, it helps to plan ahead and spread out the cost for items that may need to be purchased.
Here are a few things to get you going ahead of the season.
Determine your risk
Location is everything when determining what factors could impact you and your home. Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Both wind and water impacts can be felt inland, sometimes hundreds of miles from the storm.
Know if you live in a flood-prone area. This will help when buying supplies or, if worse comes to worst, if evacuation is needed. Also, find out if you live in a Hurricane Evacuation Zone. Knowing this ahead of time will help tremendously, especially if the time comes to evacuate. Having an evacuation plan in place will help keep stress during the storm a little lower. And don’t forget about pets! They need to stay safe too and not be left behind.
Assemble/Replenish a Disaster Supply Kit
Having supplies on hand to weather the storm (during and after) or to even evacuate with is crucial to staying safe. Basic necessities to start are having a food and water supply to last for three days per person at minimum. Keep in mind the food needs to be non-perishable because, during and after a storm, there could be days without power. Battery-powered radio and flashlights come in handy too. They even make solar-powered USB chargers for cell phones.
Don’t forget to have medications and prescriptions all together in the event you need to leave. Create a checklist for these items so nothing is forgotten last minute. Cash is always a good thing to have on hand, as well as a full tank of gas. These are just a few basics, but be sure to personalize the kit to your needs as they may differ from others.
Now is a good time to make a call to your insurance provider to find out what exactly the policy covers. This will ease the stress of knowing what’s covered and how much you may have to take out-of-pocket to fix if there’s any damage to your property. Most home and renters insurance doesn’t cover flooding, so knowing the flooding risk for your area could also help in determining if a separate policy may be needed.
Prepare your home
Make sure your home is in good condition and can stand up to a hurricane. If hurricane shutters aren’t an option, having proper plywood, steel or aluminum to board up windows and doors with is key.
Renting a home? Get with your landlord on how to prepare the residence ahead of time. Also, trimming trees and securing outdoor items will help minimize potential damage done to the home.
Don’t forget your neighbors too! They may need help preparing their home or even evacuating if need be. Checking in on them after the storm is important as well. One phone call can possibly save someone’s life.
Write out the plan
Keeping a list of contacts is a big deal, especially when cell phones remember all the numbers for us. If your phone is damaged, having this list comes in handy when you find another phone to use.
Also, keep all critical documents together in a waterproof package. The last thing you want ruined in a storm are things like insurance, medical and other important documents that you may need during or even after the storm. Doing this ahead of time will help you stay as cool, calm and collected as possible when there’s an impending storm. Trying to find these things while under duress can lead to added stress and even the wrong decisions being made.