How To Prepare for Hurricane Season
Hurricane Season is upon us once again and if you live in the southeast, you’ve probably already noticed the daily thunderstorms that have began to ravage our coastlines. As we tread deeper into the active hurricane season, each storm that comes and goes proves as a reminder of the unpredictability they possess, as well as the devastation they cause to our beloved cities, homes, and businesses. This includes gale force winds, seemingly never-ending rain, power outages, property damage, flooding, and often times even casualties.
What Exactly Is a Hurricane?
A hurricane is a rapidly rotating storm system that circulates counterclockwise around an area of low pressure and is usually accompanied by excessive wind, rain, thunder, lightning, and tornadoes. They often form and strengthen over warm tropical or subtropical waters. The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1st and lasts through November 30th each year. The National Hurricane Center classifies these storms based on their wind strength which is as follows:
- Tropical Depression – A tropical cyclone that has sustained surface winds of 38 miles per hour (34 knots) or less.
- Tropical Storm – An aggressive low-pressure storm with sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph (34 to 63 knots).
- Hurricane – A devastating tropical cyclone with sustained winds over 74 mph (64+ knots) and is classified into 5 different categories based on its wind speed.
- Category 1 - 74-95 mph 64-82 kt 119-153 km/h
- Category 2 - 96-110 mph 83-95 kt 154-177 km/h
- Category 3 (Major) - 111-129 mph 96-112 kt 178-208 km/h
- Category 4 (Major) - 130-156 mph 113-136 kt 209-251 km/h
- Category 5 (Major) - 157 mph or higher 137 kt or higher 252 km/h or higher.
The Calm Before the Storm
If you find a hurricane is headed in your direction, it’s crucial to stay up to date with your local news and authorities and follow their protocols. Next, you should be sure to have enough non-perishable food and water for at least 3 days (One gallon per person per day). Act on this quickly before everyone “panic buys” all the supplies and don’t forget to include enough food and water for pets if you have any! Following these preparations, you will need to make any adjustments to secure your home, business, and other assets such as cars, boats, lawn furniture, etc. This includes covering non-impact windows with shutters or plywood. For more on power outage preparation, visit our prep blog here.
Finally, we recommend that you compile an emergency power supply so you can be ready for the worst of it when the power goes out. This includes the testing and maintenance of your backup generator and transfer switch if you have one. If you do not have a backup generator or transfer switch but are interested in the amenities that they provide during disasters like these, you can contact our portable power experts at (800)-597-9311 and we’ll get a quote for you right away. With global supply chain issues persisting, equipment such as generators, power distribution equipment, and cables can have long lead times if they’re not currently in stock – especially in times like this when demand is at its peak, so it’s crucial that you act as soon as possible. It may seem obvious that generators provide power during an outage, but there are a few other benefits you may not have realized that they offer. If an outage lasts several days, a generator will help the food in your refrigerator from perishing which in the end will save you a ton of time and money after the storm passes.
If you prefer to ride out the storm without the help of power distribution equipment, we highly recommend you put together an emergency disaster kit that includes some of the following items: flashlights, batteries, radio, candles, first aid kits, water, non-perishable foods, battery-operated phone charger, toilet paper, napkins, medications, extra cash, manual can-opener, silverware, gasoline, pet food, diapers/baby formula, and books or board games to pass the time. Remember that natural disasters like hurricanes can be life-threatening so it is extremely important that you also include an emergency/evacuation plan ready if necessary.
No Storm Lasts Forever
This too shall pass - isn’t that the expression? With each inevitable storm that comes and goes year after year comes the aftermath and of course, the cleanup. If you follow our advice from earlier, you should have a radio on hand that you can listen in on local reports of outages and potential hazards.
Keep that radio handy and make sure that you’re extra cautious when heading outside, and do not approach any downed power lines or puddles as they could be electrically charged. You should stay at least 30 feet away from any downed powerline and report it to your local utility company if possible. The utility workers will be working around the clock to help get you and your city back on the grid so try to remain calm and be patient.
If you do find yourself in an area that has lost power, now is the time to check on your generator and add fuel as needed to stay connected until the utility power has been restored. Be sure you’re not exposing yourself or anyone else to carbon monoxide poisoning by keeping your generator at least 20 feet away from all openings of yours and neighboring homes. Once you’ve got your generator up and running, it’s just a waiting game from here on out. You can try to keep yourself busy by cleaning up your yard and even lending a helping hand to your neighbors while being cautious enough to avoid injuring yourself or others. It’s advised that you do not drink or prepare any food with water from the faucet during this time and always drink from filtered, bottled water.
This blog was comprised from the experts of power distribution and outages here at ATI Electrical Supply, so if you have any questions or concerns regarding hurricane season or the equipment needed to stay connected during an outage, please reach out to your go-to portable power provider, ATI Electrical Supply. We’re available by phone or text at (800)-597-9311 or you can email our portable power group at PPG@atielectrical.com. We’re extremely fast when it comes to these inquiries and we love every chance we get to help those in need of anything and everything power distribution.
Remember, these disasters start around the same time each year so please plan ahead to guarantee the safety of yourself and your loved ones. For any additional information regarding hurricanes or tropical storms headed your way, please visit the National Hurricane Center for the latest updates on potential storms.