A hurricane is a tropical weather system with sustained winds of more than 74 mph. Hurricanes are classified into five categories according to wind velocity. Category 1 is the mildest, with winds from 74-95 mph. Category 5 is the strongest, with winds above 155 mph. August and September are peak months of hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to November 30. (more)
What you should do
Beginning of hurricane season
- Have emergency supplies, including a flashlight and extra batteries, first-aid kit, food and water, and essential medicines. (more)
- Keep copies of important legal and financial records in a flood protected place.
- Have a family disaster plan and practice it.
- Make plans for protecting your house, especially the roof, windows, and doors.
- Trim dead or weak branches from trees.
When a Hurricane Watch or Warning is issued
- Follow hurricane progress reports. (more)
- Store drinking water in clean jugs, bottles, or in your bathtub. (more)
- Store or secure lawn furniture and other outside objects that can be blown away or that might shatter windows. (more)
- Store valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container.
- Protect all windows with shutters or precut plywood.
- Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings, unless instructed by officials to turn off utilities. Food establishments should follow food establishment power outage guidelines.
- Fill your car's gas tank. (Gas pumps are electric.) Review evacuation routes and gather emergency supplies you would need if you have to evacuate.
- Evacuate safely, if ordered to do so.
After a hurricane
- Return home only after officials say it is safe to do so.
- Beware of downed or loose power lines.
Report them immediately to the power company, police department, or fire department.
- Enter your home with caution.
- Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, quickly leave the building and leave the doors open. Call the gas company. (Do not use candles or open flames until you verify that it is safe.)
- Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or frayed wires, turn off electricity at the main fuse box. If there is standing water around your electrical box, call an electrician.
- If you suspect there is sewer or water line damage, call the water supplier.
- If a Boil Water Advisory has been issued for your water system, do not drink or prepare food with tap water until notified it is safe to do so.
- Clean and dry out your home if there has been flooding. (more)
- Take pictures of the damage for insurance claims and contact your insurance agent.