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What to Do When A Hurricane Watch or Warning Is Issued

June 17, 2019

When a hurricane is approaching there are many things that need to be planned for. We’ve already talked about how to prepare before hurricane season begins in a previous post, but there are more things you may need to do when a storm is imminent. In this post, we’ll discuss what you’ll want to consider doing before a hurricane watch is issued and when a hurricane watch and hurricane warning is issued.

Before a Hurricane Watch is Issued

If a major storm is approaching you do not want to wait until a hurricane watch is issued to start preparing. Here are some things to consider doing beforehand.

  • Stay informed about potential mandatory evacuations and develop a plan on where you’ll go if you must evacuate. You’ll want to check local sources to stay updated on potential contraflow roads and advised routes.
  • Stock up on canned foods or any other foods that do not need to be refrigerated.
  • Make sure you have enough prescription medications to last until two weeks after a storm is supposed to arrive.
  • Ensure all your vehicles are full of gas and any gas cans you may have.
  • Have a fully stocked first-aid kit and extra batteries in a variety of sizes.

Hurricane Watch and Warning

A hurricane watch will be issued when there is a hurricane threat within 24-36 hours. A hurricane warning will be issued when hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours or less. During each of these times, you’ll want to stay informed via reputable sources such as local news organizations and government press conferences. There are a few different things you’ll want to do depending on if you stay home or relocate.

Remaining Home
  • Before the storm arrives, make sure everything is inside that needs to be and any windows that need to be boarded are.
  • Stay indoors if you don’t need to relocate. Do not go outside even during a brief calm in the storm. Conditions can change within seconds.
  • Try to stay on the downwind side of the house during the height of the storm.
  • Keep the radio and your TV on a local news channel for instant updates about safety conditions.
  • Make sure your cell phone and laptop are fully charged in case the power goes out.
If You Need to Relocate
  • Be certain there are accommodations for you where you are going and do not wait until the last minute to leave your home.
  • Take a first-aid kit, water, food, and prescription medications with you.
  • Take warm, waterproof clothing with you and remember to lock all doors and windows.

Remember, after a storm passes there are still many dangerous hazards. Be vigilant for and downed power lines and report them immediately to the power company. Walk and drive cautiously as washouts may weaken roads and bridges. Also, boil municipal water before drinking until it’s deemed safe to drink.

If your home is damaged you’ll need to notify your insurance company as soon as possible to get your claims process started. If you had to relocate, inform your insurance agent on where you are and the best way to contact you. If you remained home, it is best to make temporary repairs to prevent further damage. Keep all receipts for all materials purchased.