Compared to the most spontaneous disasters (e.g. earthquakes), hurricanes might seem like they’re laid back and accommodating. I mean, they’re always announcing themselves well before they arrive on land, right? This is true, but that doesn’t mean you can expect all of your ducks to fall into a row the minute a hurricane warning hits the airwaves. If it was that easy, wouldn’t hurricane deaths be a thing of the past?
Like with any disaster, surviving isn’t a matter of luck. It’s a matter of being prepared ahead of time and knowing what to do when the danger arrives.
Let’s talk about the specifics. Weather scientists at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) can usually predict an incoming hurricane several days in advance and will issue a Hurricane Warning 36 hours before landfall.
The 36 hour window might seem like a lot, but it isn’t. If you’re starting from zero, you won’t have enough time to board up your windows, assemble a kit from scratch, review evacuation routes, and wrap up all of the other loose ends before it’s time to hit the road.
You also need to consider deteriorating conditions throughout the 36 hour window. An inbound hurricane is surrounded by storm winds that will affect you before it arrives. Your goal should be to be fully evacuated or prepared within 24 hours of the warning to avoid weather that will make it difficult and dangerous to perform your necessary home preparation. By the time the big winds arrive, it’s too late to begin prepping. You’ll need to be ready to act as soon as a warning is issued.
Maybe even more pressing than the deteriorating conditions will be the fact that the hurricane is affecting 100% of your neighbors as well. Don’t multiply your stress by competing for bread, milk, and bottled water with everyone else who was sure 36 hours would be plenty of time to prepare.
To have the best chance of keeping your stuff and your family safe during a hurricane, you’ll want to start now. Make sure you have your plan of action, a go-bag, shelter-in-place supplies, materials like sand bags or boards to protect your home, and plenty of flashlights on hand to be deployed once the 36 hour warning arrives.
Get the full set of preparation instructions in our hurricane guide. If you live within 50 miles of an ocean, now is the perfect time to get ready, so you’ll have peace of mind and time to spare when disaster strikes. Calmer heads make better (safer) decisions in times of crisis, so give yourself a boost by doing your research and preparation in advance. Don’t be the person nailing your final boards to the house in the
driving rain as your prepared neighbors evacuate and wonder if you’ll make it.