How To Prepare for a Hurricane

In the event of a hurricane hitting the Charlotte area—Hurricane Matthew or a future storm—here's what you need to know to be prepared.

Hurricane Matthew is currently tearing through the northeastern coast of Florida and will be soon making its way up the coast to impact Charleston and North Carolina's beaches. It's slated to affect Charlotte some time around tomorrow afternoon. The storm's current status is a Category 3 but may weaken to a Cat 2 by the time it reaches North Carolina. It has also recently taken a quick shift to head more towards the east away from the shoreline, but the trajectory path still shows Matthew hitting coastal Carolinian towns. What's this mean for Charlotte? Plenty of rain and some wind from the outer storm bands.


Aside from the buckets of rain and flooding, a Category 3 storm can generate winds as high as 129 mph, which is not good news for your home. Many Florida homes are reinforced with hurricane windows and have to meet certain building codes requiring specific strengths to withstand hurricane force winds. North Carolina homes, however, do not have such strict requirements. To ensure your home and your family stay safe during both Hurricane Matthew's possible impact as well as future storms (hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30), we've compiled some hurricane preparation tips. You can never be too prepared.


Preparing Your Home for a Hurricane

Given that Charlotte has already received flood-inducing rain recently, possible flooding is a factor of importance for this particular hurricane. If we are forecasted to receive high winds, there are additional preparations to be made. Below are general hurricane home preparation tips for future reference in the event of a direct hit. 

  • Put sandbags in front of doorways to stop potential flooding from high volumes of rain.
  • Board up your windows to protect them from flying debris. You may tape windows if you don't have storm shutters, but some experts advise against this technique because it provides a false sense of security. Keep in mind that your windows will still break even if they are taped. 
  • Place tarps over areas for potential roof leaks. Also keep buckets handy to catch the drips so you don't flood your home.
  • Fill up bathtubs and sinks with water.


Family Safety Tips 

In addition to prepping your home, you'll also want to make sure you've covered all the bases in the event that you'll be stuck in your home without power for an extended amount of time. There are currently 600,000 homes without power in Florida, according to ABC News.

  • Charge all of your electronics in the case of a power outage, including external batteries. Some outages can last up to a week.
  • Cook all perishable foods before the storm so they do not go bad. Similarly, stock up on water and non-perishables like granola bars and nuts to keep you satiated for a few days.
  • Get cash. ATMs will be out of service and banks will be closed. Cards won't work without electricity.
  • Fill up extra tanks with gas. Most (perhaps all) Charlotte gas stations do not have backup generators, and you will not be able to get gas.
  • Know where the landline phone booths are in your area.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Stock up on flashlights, candles, lanterns, etc. if you don't want to sit in the dark.


Be Smart and Think Ahead

Lastly, be cautious. If you are ordered to evacuate, it's best to listen to orders, especially if you're located in a low-lying area. Do not go out in 100+ mph winds. As a native Floridian who's been through plenty of hurricanes (as well as false alarms), I personally recommend having plenty of board games, cards, and entertainment prepared, especially if you have young children. Boredom seeps in quickly when you're sitting in the dark for hours. Oh, and it won't hurt to have a bottle (or three) of wine on-hand. You know, just in case. Stay safe, and make smart decisions. 

Categories: Charlotte @Home