Tips for Thought

How to Prepare and Survive Through a Tropical Storm

A tropical storm brings heavy winds, rain, and a storm surge which cause immense damage to a large population. Storms and hurricanes can add destruction to lives and society, so here are some storm and hurricane survival tips.

Difference Between Tropical Storms and Hurricanes:

Tropical storms and hurricanes have the same features. However, the critical difference is that a tropical storm has a wind speed of at least 39–73 mph. In comparison, hurricanes have a wind speed of 74 mph and possibly higher. Hurricanes are more severe and have their specific category levels; the higher the level, the more destructive its damage.

What To Do Before a Storm:

Thanks to technology, most people in areas receive updated information on weather reports and evacuation warnings.

According to the National Ocean Service, there are two categories of alerts:

  • Hurricane watch. This alert means there’s a possibility of a hurricane forming. Most experts announce these alerts at least 48 hours before they expect tropical storm winds to start.
  • Hurricane warning. This alert is more serious. Experts issue these alerts at least 36 hours before tropical storm winds begin to enable people more time for preparation.

What To Do Before a Storm:

Regardless of what kind of warning you receive, it helps to prepare immediately. Here are some necessary steps before a storm hits:

1. Clear your yard.

  • Trim tree branches and shrubs. Falling trees and branches can destroy roofs and other property.
  • Store outdoor furniture, bikes, and propane gas tanks in a secure shelter.
  • Clear your gutters and get rid of debris that can lead to flooding.

2. Get your car ready. Ensure your gas tank is full and extra fuel is in an appropriate container. If you intend to stay home, move your vehicles to the garage and keep a spare emergency kit in your car.

3. Prepare your home.

The inside of your home can become dangerous when strong winds and rain hit. Here are ways to minimize storm and hurricane damage inside:

  • Cover windows and doors with storm shutters or by nailing plywood on the outer window frames to protect your windows. The latter helps prevent shattered glass.
  • Turn off your power lines. If flooding starts, shut the power off without getting wet and be ready to leave.
  • Fill clean water containers with water. Hurricanes can destroy water supplies and power lines.
  • Check your carbon monoxide detector’s battery and replace it when necessary.

4. Prepare your family and pets for possible evacuation or homestay.

Encourage your family to listen to authority warnings. If authorities advise you to evacuate, then do so immediately. Regardless of your home’s sturdy structure, risking your life over chance is never necessary.

During this step, it also helps to find possible evacuation centers or places to stay out of town or state. Book the necessary accommodations accordingly.

5. Prepare an emergency flood kit.

An emergency flood kit addresses your basic needs and any possible emergencies. Your emergency flood kit should include the following:

  • Canned goods with a can opener;
  • Bottled water or portable water purifier;
  • Hygiene kit;
  • Important documents and cash in a secure container;
  • Candles;
  • Matches or lighters;
  • Battery-powered radios and flashlights;
  • Extra batteries;
  • Raincoats;
  • Camping tent;
  • Blankets; and
  • Extra clothes

6. Keep updated on the news. Any information helps.

What To Do During a Storm:

This stage of the storm of a hurricane occurs when heavy rainfall and strong winds occur. Here are steps to take during the event:

1. Turn on the portable radio for storm or hurricane updates.

2. If you stay inside, go to a safe place away from windows, glass doors, and skylights. Ensure your loved ones do the same. Wear appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes in case of damage happens.

3. Never go outside, even if it seems calm. This temporary calmness could be the eye of the storm which means high winds may still approach. Only go outside when it’s deemed safe.

4. If power is lost, keep your refrigerator closed to trap cold air.

5. If you decide to evacuate, ensure the place you’re going is safe and away from the hurricane’s direction.

What To Do After a Storm:

The worst is over, and experts deemed it safe to return. Here are some steps to take once the storm is over and it’s time to inspect the damage.

1. Stay tuned for the news. The news may provide resources and necessary information for possible future storms or hurricanes.

2. Evacuated residents should only return when authorities advise it is safe.

3. Wear appropriate clothing before the inspection. Advise children to stay away from downed power lines and rainwater.

4. Take photos and notes of property damage after the storm or hurricane. This step is helpful if you have insurance.

5. Stay away from power lines, damaged gas lines, or broken sewage systems. These areas should only be inspected by a professional.

Takeaway: Storms or hurricanes can be frightening because they cause immense damage. Nevertheless, preparation is critical, and learning to survive can help ease your worries. While losing your valuables is disheartening, your life is more important. Remember to stay safe and keep calm during these times.