Spring is in the air and with it, strong storms and severe weather. June 1 is the official start of hurricane season and, this year, most predict an average year with around 14 named storms with seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
In preparation for the season, May 5-11 is Hurricane Preparedness Week. The week is intended to raise awareness and encourage people who live in hurricane-prone areas to take steps to safeguard their families, communities and businesses.
Lowe’s has always been a part of helping its coastal communities prepare before storms and then work with them to rebuild after. This year, Lowe’s became partners with the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH). Together, Lowe’s and FLASH are expanding a shared vision of strengthening homes and safeguarding families from disasters.
As part of this partnership, Lowe’s is participating in the Hurricane Awareness Tour for the first time. The Hurricane Awareness Tour educates residents on hurricane preparedness. The tour made five stops along the East Coast, including in Lowe’s hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. It featured hurricane hunters and experts, in addition to aircraft used in hurricane operations. Click through the photo gallery below to see some pictures from the tour’s stop in Charlotte.
Threats from hurricanes include powerful winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, coastal and inland funding, rip currents, tornados and landslides. Keep in mind that dangerous storms can happen along any U.S. coast in the Atlantic or Pacific, can affect areas more than 100 miles inland and are most active in September.
So how can you be best prepared for storms? Here are a few tips before the storm hits:
- Know your area’s risk of hurricanes. If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Become familiar with your evacuation routes and shelters.
- Sign up for your community warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration both provide emergency alerts.
- Gather needed supplies for at least three days per person. This includes food, batteries and water. Keep in mind that your food should be non-perishable as you may not have power for an extended time.
- Keep important documents in a safe place. Plan for flooding so this place should be water safe.
- Protect your property. Declutter drains and gutters, install check valves in plumbing to prevent backups. Consider purchasing items to protect your home like plywood, plastic sheeting, chains, tie-downs, generators, flashlights, etc. These items will be in high demand right before and after the storm.
- Check out more tips and supplies to consider before the storms.
The best option for your safety may be to evacuate before the storm hits if local authorities suggest it. You should only return when the local authorities clear you to do so.
If you decide to shelter during the storm and after, here are a few tips to follow:
- If you remain in your house, shelter in a small, interior, windowless room or hallway on the lowest floor. Storms are rated by wind speed according to the Safire-Simpson scale. Wind speeds are for maximum sustained winds and range from 75 mph for a category 1, to over 157 mph for a category 5.
- If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest level of the building. DO NOT climb into a closed attic as you may become trapped by rising flood water.
- ONLY use a generator or any other gasoline-powered machinery outdoors.
- DO NOT walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- After the storm has passed, listen to authorities for information and special instructions.
- Be careful during clean-up and wear protective clothing.
- DO NOT touch electrical equipment. If it is wet or you are in standing in water, it could become a shock hazard.
- Save your cell phone battery by only using your phone for emergencies.
- Document any property damage with photographs for insurance purposes.
Check out more great tips and videos that will help you and your family get prepared and stay safe this hurricane season.