Atmosphere And Weather

Steps to take before and after a Hurricane Hits

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"Steps to take before and after a Hurricane Hits"
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Even though hurricane landfalls can be accurately predicted using computer models' days in advance, many people still live by the "it won't happen here" philosophy. Unfortunately, most storms as we know, do not respect wishful thinking' attitudes. Hurricanes are debatably the easiest disaster to prepare for, when compared with tornados, earthquakes and even volcanoes for the most part. However, even major hurricanes can take sudden directional shifts just before reaching land, and forecasters generally warn of these variables, to cover worst case scenarios. To keep informed, tune into local radio programming for updated weather reports from national hurricane tracking centers. If you have computer access I recommend which includes radar and satellite images, including models and warnings of Atlantic and Pacific storm threats.

Even before a potential storm is on the way, plan an escape route including a place of shelter to go to in the event the strongest part of the storm hits your area. If you have family or friends who are located away from the predicted storm path, it would be worth while touching bases with them when the threat first appears. If you decide to leave home, arrange to do so, well in advance of the oncoming storm. If you wait too long, be prepared for long frustrating lines of traffic on major roads. It wouldn't hurt to have an escape plan with alternate and secondary routes included, especially if you are well acquainted with these roads. Remember, it isn't the best time to get lost, considering an F4 storm may be barreling down on you.

If you are feeling brave (or foolish) enough to stay put during a major hurricane, or if you aren't physically capable of leaving your home, prepare as much as possible beforehand. If you have a house, homeowners as well as many businesses use plywood to board up and reinforce their windows. If you watching the storm through unprotected windows because you are curious about what is happening outside, you are taking a big risk. Remember that flying objects propelled by the wind can penetrate walls, so bare windows are extremely dangerous not only because of flying objects but because of the resulting flying shards of glass.

You can create a hurricane preparedness checklist anytime, so why not do it now. The list should include all the necessary items you are going to require in the event the electricity is off for extended periods, and drinking water is not available. Think in terms of a minimum of up to a week. Gather items together and find a location that is easy to access, even in the dark. First of all, keeping a flashlight with charged batteries handy and knowing its exact location is a must. You will be depending on it more than you can imagine, because even in the daytime, rooms like the basement or bathroom can be dark and possibly dangerous to navigate if not equipped with windows. Bottled water can be kept safely several months, but should be replaced occasionally if kept in plastic bottles that might leach chemicals. Having canned food i.e. beans, fish, soup, can taste pretty good when you can't use the stove. Make certain you have a mechanical can opener handy or include one with your emergency kit. Batteries, bandages, candles, matches and snacks like dried fruit can all come in handy during power outages. To keep in touch with the outside world in case of an emergency, I purchased a hand crank radio for under twenty dollars, that doesn't' require batteries. It plays for about twenty minutes before needing to be re wound.

If after the storm passes, your power is out, throw everything that can spoil into a freezer, and then keep it closed as much as possible. If you can find packaged ice at the store, then get some as soon as possible. It isn't a bad idea to make your own ice, if you know a storm is approaching, by filling empty margarine or other clean plastic containers three quarters of the way full of drinking water. A good refrigerator freezer should make them solid in a few hours and definitely overnight. If the heat and humidity is a factor the following days, these will become a welcome relief. Filling the bathtub and buckets with water will be useful for washing and cleaning, in the event tap water is cut off or becomes polluted.

Having an outdoor BBQ, can give a sense of normality to your home and be a great source of meals during a terrible event, especially if you have younger children. Be sure to use any meat up before it has a possibility of spoiling because cooking on a BBQ does present a higher risk of undercooking than the oven. You must be aware that BBQ cooking is to be done outdoors only, in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. The same goes for using gas generators. They must not be used indoors where the deadly odorless fumes can accumulate. You can even pick up an old fashioned BBQ that requires only charcoal and are relatively inexpensive. Just remember they are intended for outdoor use only as well and a fire starter substance is required to get the coals to ignite. Odorless and tasteless fire starter blocks which are also non toxic can be purchased from local hardware and department stores and are safer to store than flammable liquids.

Keeping in contact with friends and neighbors can give be of great emotional support, when suffering through a disaster. Just having someone to talk with and sharing your experience together will keep you from feeling isolated.

If you live in a potential hurricane zone, the best advice is to prepare right now and discuss or think of all the possibilities that can happen. Preparing properly can make your experience during those trying times a little easier and in the most serious of cases, even save your life.

More about this author: Tom Karlin

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