Prepare Now for 2021 Hurricane Season
The 2021 Hurricane Season is officially upon us. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted another active Atlantic hurricane season. They predict a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which six to ten storms could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected. NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. The Atlantic hurricane season extends from June 1 through November 30.
“Although NOAA scientists don’t expect this season to be as busy as last year, it only takes one storm to devastate a community,” said Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator.
Now is the time to prepare. The list of action items below is based upon our experience of living along the Gulf Coast and weathering many storms and also handling insurance claims.
Action Items To Do Now:
If you don't have flood insurance, get it now. A new flood policy will likely not go in effect for 30 days from the binding date.
Review your homeowner's insurance policy. What are your exclusions? What is your coverage for dwelling, contents, other buildings, additional living expenses / loss of use (ALE / LOU)? Are these limits correct? If you have a pool or hot tub, is the pump or heater covered? Contact your insurance carrier if you have any questions about your policy.
Review which evacuation zone you work and reside in.
Develop your primary and backup evacuation routes and two or three places to evacuate to.
Determine at which point you will board up your structures and at what point you will evacuate. Discuss your evacuation plans with your family.
Take close-up and detailed pictures of all your valuables. For example, open up your chest of silver utensils and take a picture, but then take each piece out and lay on a table and take pictures. If any piece has unique characteristics take additional pictures of the unique features.
Make certain that any items in your safety deposit box that would be damaged from water are in a water-tight bag. Safety deposit boxes are not water proof, a lesson many learned after Hurricane Ike ravaged the Houston-Galveston area in 2008.
Trim your trees away from your house and remove any trees leaning over the house.
Prepare a "Go Bag" for rapid evacuation. A book bag makes an excellent Go Bag. Include your valuable papers such as titles, mortgage documents, your insurance policies, medical records, vital documents such as birth certificates, pet records, cash, a back-up set of prescriptions, toiletries, roll of toilet paper, good quality scissors or a pocket knife, and a printed out list of your important contacts.
Back up your pictures of your belongings and the documents in your Go Bag to a thumb drive and a secure cloud storage site.
Create a household disaster kit if you do not have one. If you already have a household disaster kit, review it for completeness and swap out the old batteries for new ones. The kit should include - at a minimum - the following items:
A good first aid kit.
Over-the-counter medications you use.
2-way radios. Cell towers may be damaged or have no power after a storm impact rendering cell phones useless. Consider purchasing FRS 2-way radios with a 30+ mile radius and issuing a radio to each family member. We recommend a radio that also has a weather channel.
Flash light for each person in the household.
Portable LED lanterns.
At least one head-mounted light so you can work with your hands if need be.
New batteries. Enough to survive off of for 4 weeks.
Whistle (to signal for help)
A pack of contractor-grade trash bags.
At least 2 pairs of leather yard gloves.
Matches in a waterproof container
A camping hatchet. Best to get one with a head so you can also use it as a hammer.
A compact camping shovel.
Roll of duct tape.
100 feet of clothesline.
Disposable plates, bowls, cups, and utensils.
If you have a toddler: Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream.
If you have a pet: pet food.
Manual can opener.
Hand Crank Radio - Cell phone Charger
Backup charging device for electronics.
Portable hot spot.
Water purifier and/or water treatment tablets
Remember, you will probably be without electricity for weeks after a major storm impact. ATMs, gas pumps, cell towers, stores, computers, kitchen appliances, many tools, and air conditioning all require electricity to function.
Place all items of the household disaster kit in a single container such as a tub and keep it in a location easily available.
Purchase enough water for each person of the household to use 1 gallon each day and extra water for your pet, for several days.
REMEMBER: If you are ordered to mandatorily evacuate, your homeowner's insurance policy will pay for all evacuation expenses under your Additional Living Expenses / Loss of Use coverage. Save all of your receipts to file a claim after you return.