87 Tropical Storm & Hurricane Preparation Tips

Hurricane Preparation

Our family moved to Puerto Rico from South Florida, where we experienced one of the worst hurricanes to hit the U.S. Hurricane Andrew was a Category 5 storm, with 165 mph winds and gusts of up to 180mph. Comparatively, hurricane Danny, with current winds at 85mph (expected to slow to 60mph by the time it makes landfall in Puerto Rico) is a much smaller storm, but things are more difficult living on an island, so it’s best to be prepared.

Living in Puerto Rico during a tropical storm or hurricane can be particularly difficult. Hurricane Kyle, also a Category 1 storm, passed slowly over Puerto Rico in 2008, dumping torrential rain across the island. This resulted in $48 million in damages and 6 fatalities on the island.

With hurricane Danny creeping its way toward Puerto Rico, we are sharing 87 hurricane preparation tips for before, during and after a tropical hurricane. 

Have a Hurricane Emergency Kit

*tips from Ready.gov and other official sources. See FEMA’s Emergency Supply List

Make sure you have a hurricane emergency kit that will last you 72 hours. This includes:

  • Water: one gallon per person per day for drinking, washing and other necessities
  • Food that does not require electricity to eat and is non-perishable
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust masks
  • Moist towelettes, baby wipes, garbage bags and plastic ties for sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener
  • Directions to emergency locations (local maps)

Additional items to add to your kit:

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula, shelf stable milk and diapers
  • Pet food
  • Family documents such as insurance policies, identification and bank records (in watertight container)
  • Cash-as much as you will need for several weeks
  • Warm blankets
  • Change of clothing
  • Household bleach and dropper for dispensing
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Coolers and ice to keep food fresh longer
  • Mosquito sprays and prevention
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Personal hygiene items including feminine supplies
  • Paper plates, plastic utensils and paper towels
  • Books, games and activities for children

Things Do Before a Hurricane

  • Know your home’s risk of storm surge, flooding and wind
  • Know if you are in an evacuation area, evacuation routes and where you need to go to get to higher ground
  • Be aware of weak spots in your home (broken windows, skylights, roof leaks) that may become an issue
  • Keep a list of emergency contacts (printed on paper and stored in a waterproof container) on hand
  • Check your insurance coverage
  • Do a home inventory and take photos of the contents of your home
  • Secure your home and property by covering windows, closing storms shutters and boarding with plywood. Tape is optional as it doesn’t prevent breakage, it only prevents shattering of glass.
  • Install or check roof straps
  • Gas up your car. Consider filling a few gas containers as well
  • Trim trees, low branches and coconuts
  • Check rainspouts and gutters for blockage
  • Reinforce garage doors and remove items that may be damage in flooding
  • Bring in all outdoor furniture, garbage and lawn decoration
  • Check your generator and obtain extra fuel
  • Be prepared to move to a lower floor if you are in a high rise building
  • Consider your safe room. This is an interior room, closet, bathroom or hallway on the lowest level and without windows (or one with unexposed windows). The safe room provides protection during the worst of the storm
  • Prepare and moor your boat
  • Discuss a family communication plan in case you become separated

Hurricane Danny

Damage to Expect in a Category 1 or Category 2 Storm

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale describes:

A Category 1 Storm as one with sustained winds of 74-95 mph. Expect dangerous winds that will produce some damage to exteriors of homes, broken tree branches and some fallen trees and extensive damage to power lines and power outages. Glass windows generally remain intact. Some roof damage can occur.

A Category 2 Storm as one with sustained winds of 96-110 mph. Expect extremely dangerous winds with extensive damage. Major roof and siding damage, uprooted and broken trees and blocked roads. Roofs and windows are more vulnerable to damage. Significant structural damage can occur. Flooding in low lying areas. Near-total power loss expected lasting days to weeks.

Storm Surge

The greatest damage and potential for loss of life does not come from wind during a storm. Storm surge, water pushed on land from the force of wind increases water levels and can cause severe flooding, eroded beaches and road destruction. Be aware of your location’s risk of storm surge and go to a higher location if necessary.

During the Storm

  • Listen to the weather on TV, radio or keep updated on your smartphone
  • Set your refrigerator thermostat to its highest setting in case the power goes out. Keep the doors closed
  • Turn off propane tanks and natural gas utilities (if instructed to)
  • Avoid using the phone except for emergencies to keep the lines open
  • Fill the bathtub and other water storage containers for sanitary needs such as bathing, cleaning and flushing toilets
  • Take note of your available food and learn about food safety when there is no power
  • Take note of evacuation preparations
  • Stay indoors and away from glass doors and windows. Do not go outside immediately after strong winds as this just may be the eye of the storm
  • Close interior doors. Brace exterior doors and safe room doors necessary
  • Take refuge in a safe room
  • Lie under a sturdy object if necessary (mattress, table)
  • Avoid using elevators

After the Storm

  • Continue checking for weather updates
  • Stay alert for damage from continued rainfall and flooding
  • If you are searching for family, contact The American Red Cross (in PR): 787 758-8150
  • If you need shelter, Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345)
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid crossing flooded roads
  • Stay in your home
  • If you must leave, watch for downed power lines, fallen objects, weakened roads, bridges and walls
  • Report downed electrical wires immediately and stay away from them
  • Carefully walk your property for damages. Take pictures of damage for insurance purposes
  • Leave your home if you sell gas, or if it is unsafe due to water damage, wind damage or fire
  • Watch pets closely and keep them under control
  • Beware of wildlife that may have been disturbed during the storm
  • Avoid drinking tap water unless you know it is safe
  • Throw out food if you have any question of spoilage
  • Remove food from your refrigerator and place in coolers with ice if you have them
  • Wear protective clothing, gloves and shoes when cleaning up debris
  • Do not use a generator inside your home or small spaces

Dealing with Prolonged Power Outages

After a storm, it may be hours, days or even weeks until power is returned, depending on the damage. This is particularly uncomfortable during summer months when the weather is hot and humid. Make a plan for your family and business in case of prolonged power outages.

  • Purchase battery backups for short term use
  • Buy a generator and have extra fuel on hand
  • Make a plan for how you will use what power is available to you
  • Plan to relocate to a hotel or another home on another part of the island for your family or business
  • Install a mobile hotspot app on your smartphone for internet access
  • Wear mosquito spray and clothes that cover you if you are keeping windows open for ventilation
  • Be creative with kids to keep them occupied
  • Keep teens occupied by giving them responsibilities
  • Get together with neighbors to share resources
  • Use solar lights, camping lanterns, long-burning candles, flashlights and others for light (be aware of fire safety with candles)

Resources

For tips and information about hurricanes visit: www.ready.gov/hurricanes

National Hurricane Center

FEMA (Puerto Rico): 787 296-3500

If you need shelter, Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345)

Fema Twitter Feed

Weather Puerto Rico

Atlantic Hurricane & Tropical Storm Center

Department of Natural Resources (Puerto Rico): 787 852-4440

San Juan National Weather Service: 787 253-4501 & 800 899-0969

Puerto Rico Electrical Power Authority: 787 521-1139 & 787 521-7926

The American Red Cross (in PR): 787 758-8150

Agency for State Emergency Management: 787 724-0124

Coast Guard: 787 729-6770

 

 

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