Getting Ahead of Hurricane Season: What to Do Now

As we transition into early 2024, hurricane season might seem like a distant blip on the radar. However, with an increase in severe weather patterns over these last few years, now is the time to start thinking about your hurricane preparation.

Hurricane season won’t officially begin until June 1, but staying ahead of the curve will offer an extra layer of protection for your home and loved ones. Here are some proactive measures you can take right now to relieve stress—while reinforcing safety and peace of mind—when this year’s hurricane season arrives on the weather forecast.

Understand the Potential Risk

According to recent projections from Tropical Storm Risk, the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season will be 50 percent more active than the 1950–2023 norm. So don’t overlook the hazards coastal (or even inland) communities can face during hurricane season. Gail-force winds, heavy rainfall, and storm surge floods can threaten human safety and cause extensive damage to infrastructure. When you grasp the severe nature of these risks, you’ll understand why planning for hurricanes well in advance makes sense.  

Formulate an Evacuation Plan

The first—and arguably most crucial—step is to create a thorough evacuation plan in case you’re not safe at home during the storm. This plan should include local shelter information, evacuation routes outside of potential flood zones, emergency contact numbers, and meeting point locations should anyone get separated from each other. Ensure all family members know the logistics, then do some practice runs to streamline your response time (and help minimize any rash, panic-fueled reactions) in an emergency.

Stock Up on Emergency Items

An emergency kit can be a lifeline to help you ride out hurricanes, so begin to assemble one as soon as possible. Stock a weather-resistant, portable container with items such as bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, first aid supplies, critical documents, and other essentials. Then, store the container in a secure (but accessible) part of your home safe from flooding. Replenish the contents as necessary to ensure maximum preparedness if a hurricane strikes, and you need to shelter in place.

Ensure Your Home Is Fortified

These next few months leading up to hurricane season are the perfect time to strengthen your home’s resilience in extreme weather. Inspect the door, gutters, windows, and roof for any vulnerabilities. Reinforce windows with storm shutters, or consider investing in impact-resistant glass for even more protection against the elements. Prune tree branches that could become dangerous projectiles, then secure all outdoor furniture items so they cannot damage your home’s exterior when hurricane winds blow through.

Review Your Insurance Policy

A recent National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies survey found that over 70 percent of Americans are worried about severe weather damage. Still, only about 50 percent have specialized insurance to protect their homes. This oversight can be costly, so review your homeowner’s insurance to ensure it includes hurricane coverage. Check the policy terms and limits, and determine if you need a more robust plan. Then, photograph your entire home and valuables should you have to file claims in the future.

Stay Informed Ahead of Time

Due to climate change, tropical storms and hurricanes are increasingly less predictable—but sources like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration can still offer reliable hurricane activity forecasts throughout the year. Sign up to receive alerts for the latest hurricane updates in your area, as this information will help you make smart, careful decisions well beforea storm makes landfall. You also might want to purchase an emergency weather radio to keep on hand in case you lose power and cell service during a hurricane. 

Be Safe and Proactive Before Hurricane Season

Hurricane preparation is a year-round commitment. Taking proactive measures right now will reduce stress levels and minimize potential dangers when hurricane season hits. So don’t wait until June 1 is around the corner—start planning early to increase your home’s resilience and protect your loved ones’ well-being.

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