Sat. May 25th, 2024

How to prepare for a hurricane



Los Angeles residents were asked to remain indoors Sunday as rain falls ahead of Tropical Storm Hilary making landfall in Southern California, with heavy downpours and flooding expected toward the middle of the day.

As the storm approaches, officials are advising everyone to take the necessary precautions and steps to prepare.

Check the flood risk where you live

Is your home in a flood zone?

Flood zones are areas more at risk for potential flooding during heavy rains.

There are resources available online from two government agencies — the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services – where you can simply type in your address to determine what the risk is where you live. Check out the links below:

  • FEMA Flood Map Service Center
  • Cal OES MyHazards tool

Prepare your home for flooding

  • Sweep and pick up trash, leaves, grass clippings and other debris that collect around storm drains and curb gutters near your home.
  • Proactively turn off irrigation to save water and minimize runoff.
  • Inspect your property for loose tree branches or trees that could be vulnerable to high winds and rain.
  • Place sandbags to divert water and mud away from your home.>> Tap or click here to see where you can get free sandbags near you <<
  • Secure outdoor furniture and other items that could be vulnerable to move in high winds and rain.

Have an emergency kit

Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for infants or pets, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.

Flood Advisory vs. Flood Watch

What is the difference between a Flood Watch and a Flood Warning issued by the National Weather Service?

Flash Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.

Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.

Flood Advisory: Be Aware: An Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.

Flood Watch: Be Prepared: A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.

Staying safe during a flood

During a flood, water levels and the rate the water is flowing can quickly change. Remain aware.

Avoid floodwaters at all costs and evacuate immediately when water starts to rise. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

  • Stay Informed: Listen to radio and television, including NOAA Weather Radio if possible, check the Internet and social media for information and updates.
  • Get to Higher Ground: If you live in a flood prone area or are camping in a low-lying area, get to higher ground immediately.
  • Obey Evacuation Orders: If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Lock your home when you leave. If you have time, disconnect utilities and appliances.
  • Practice Electrical Safety: Don’t go into a basement, or any room, if water covers the electrical outlets or if cords are submerged. If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping or popping noises–get out! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!
  • Avoid Flood Waters: Don’t walk through floodwaters. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock you off your feet. If you are trapped by moving water, move to the highest possible point and call 911 if possible. Do NOT drive into flooded roadways or around a barricade; Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Water may be deeper than it appears and can hide hazards such as sharp objects, washed out road surfaces, electrical wires, chemicals, etc. A vehicle caught in swiftly moving water can be swept away in seconds 12 inches of water can float a car or small SUV, 18 inches of water can carry away large vehicles.

Staying safe during high winds

Take shelter

  • Immediately go inside a sturdy building during a high wind warning or severe thunderstorm warning and move to an interior room or basement.
  • If you are in a mobile home, move to a sturdy building before the winds pick up or the storm system reaches your location.
  • Listen to the local news or NOAA Weather Radio for updates.

If caught outside or driving

  • Take shelter in your car if you are not near a sturdy building. If possible, drive to a nearby sturdy building. Otherwise, move your car to a location where it is less likely to be hit by falling trees or power lines.
  • If no shelter is available avoid trees, power lines, and the side of the road. Keep in mind that power lines that are laying on the ground may be live. Do not go near them! Try to find a place that will block blowing or falling debris.
  • If you are driving and aren’t near a sturdy building, hold the steering wheel with both hands and slow down.
  • Keep a distance from high profile vehicles such as trucks, buses and vehicles towing trailers. One strong gust of wind can be enough to flip one of these trailers onto its side. source


Here’s what you can do well in advance of a storm to protect your home

  • Keep all trees and shrubs well trimmed.
  • Remove any dead trees or limbs now.
  • Clean rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Make sure your insurance is up to date and you know what your policy covers. Learn whether your property is in a flood-prone area. If so, look for flood insurance.
  • Prepare a detailed inventory of all personal property, including invoices for large purchases.
  • Take a photo of all personal property and store on a flash drive or in the cloud.
  • Check your hurricane shutters.  Make any needed repairs. And don’t forget to make sure you have enough wing nuts now. (and know where they are)
  • If you don’t have shutters, purchase plywood in advance and cut them to fit your windows and doors. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Another option to shutters or plywood is to consider installing impact glass.
  • Stock up on propane cylinders  (or charcoal) if you have a grill.
  • Consider purchasing a generator. If you do, install battery-powered, carbon-monoxide detectors inside your home.
  • Learn how to shut off your utilities.
  • Prepare a safe room, such as an interior bathroom or bedroom, and put your emergency kit there.
  • If your house is made of wood, check its structural connections. The roof, walls, floor and foundations must be joined by metal anchors. If you can’t use anchors, then install straps, tensioning cables or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame.
  • Install surge protectors to avoid overloading electronic equipment and protect them from power fluctuations.
Prepare your home for a hurricane before it arrives.

A hurricane is approaching; here’s what you should do for your home

  • Bring in all patio furniture, garbage cans, toys and anything else that is loose.
  • Tie down or remove anything that remains outside that could become a deadly missile, including yard debris, solar panels, satellite dishes, antennas and water systems.
  • Place valuables and personal papers in a waterproof container on the highest level of your home.
  • Cover windows with hurricane shutters or pre-cut plywood.
  • Remove blades from exterior ceiling fans.
  • If you need sandbags, get them now.
  • If you have a generator, make sure you have plenty of gas. Same thing if you have propane cylinders.
  • Empty your freezer and refrigerator of all perishables. Cook all raw meat.
  • Fill containers or freezer bags with water and freeze them to help keep food cool after power goes out.

Last-minute things to do before a storm arrives

  • Wash all dirty laundry and dishes.
  • Clean your home.
  • Enjoy a hot shower.
  • Take all garbage to the closest landfill or recycling center.
  • Turn off your icemaker and empty the tray.
  • Set your freezer and refrigerator to their coldest settings.
  • Fill your bathtubs with water (can be used to flush toilets, and to wash floors or clothes).
  • Charge all mobile devices and computers and put them on low battery mode.
  • Pull your car into the garage and gently back it touch the garage door to help prevent it from buckling or failing. If you don’t have a garage, park your vehicle in a safe area and, if necessary, take it to another location away from possible flooding and falling debris.
  • Lock the garage from inside using the safety latch and put it on the manual setting.
  • Turn off the hot water heater.
  • Put all hurricane supplies in one place off the floor.
  • Unplug all small appliances to reduce potential damage from power surges.
  • Close all interior doors and make sure all exterior doors are locked.