Hurricane season is here! If you just moved here (or are planning to move here) and haven’t been through a storm before…you probably have a lot of questions! In this post, I will get you ready to get through hurricane season in Florida.
Get your supplies ready!
Don’t wait for an approaching storm. You should start shopping for some basic supplies to keep on hand for hurricane season. Canned goods, dry goods, snacks, fruit cups, and other food items that are stored off refrigeration. We have a couple large storage bins we use to organize and start adding to that’s in addition to what we use daily. We try to avoid pasta because of the amount of water needed in preparation
Water-we try to grab an extra case or two of bottled water and also several gallon jugs.
We try to let our freezer run down a little too. If the power goes out, we don’t want a lot of things in the freezer we will need to cook or could go bad.
If you have a gas grill, fill up all the tanks. I keep 3 on hand just in case we lose power.
Get some flashlights for the house and plenty of batteries. Besides batteries for flashlights, make sure you have some on hand for other electronics (radio for example) If you have any mophies or portable charging devices, keep them all fully charged. We also purchased a couple solar charged lights for inside the house. These also happen to charge by a USB too. In a pinch, if you have any solar lights in your yard, bring them into the house to light bathrooms (we have a couple motion sensor lights that stay on for 20 seconds that help navigate a dark house.
Generators are nice if the power goes out in the area. Whole house generators will need some planning to have installed. Portable generators are available at the big box stores, best to get them early/before a storm. Also, a good idea to have an electrician put in a transfer box and follow the instructions on how to safely do this. OR you can run extension cords to the items you want on the generator (fridge, portable AC, TV, etc) Just make certain the generator is in a dry & well-ventilated area. You will need gas on hand to run the generator too.
Speaking of gas…make sure your cars are all full! We top off as often as possible pre-storm just in case. Gas stations will run out of fuel. If the electricity goes out, they can’t pump gas.
Get cash. If the electricity goes out or the phone lines/internet is down, you won’t be able to buy stuff with your debit/credit card.
Prep your home
If you have impact windows, you are set. If you have shutters, start closing them up. We usually start with the bedrooms and the larger windows. We usually leave the kitchen & living room windows uncovered until we evacuate. If you don’t have shutters, use plywood. I would get the plywood before a storm is approaching so you can take your time to cut the wood to fit the window openings. If you have a concrete block house, use plylox clips that go on the edge of the plywood and they pop right in. The local hardware store should have them in stock pre-storm. They will sell out if a storm is approaching. If you have a wood-frame house, you will be drilling/screwing them into the house. If you do not have any type of covering for your windows, please do not put tape on the window…it doesn’t do anything to protect the windows.
Clean up your yard.
The outdoor furniture, BBQ, potted plants, firewood, kayaks, ladders, etc will all need to be stored or secured before the storm arrives. Otherwise, they will become debris & flying projectiles.
Don’t do major yard maintenance before the storm unless you will hall the palms and tree branches away to the dump.
Scan your homeowners policy and contact info for your carrier and store it in the cloud. If your home is damaged from the storm, you want to be able to access it.
It’s a good idea to take photos of your home too. Inside & outside to prove the condition prior to the storm. Take pictures of everything. Start at the front of your home and work clockwise. Same with the inside of your home. Take photos of every room, every closet, and every drawer. Take photos of your appliances and the manufacture code on the back. Besides keeping these photos on your phone/camera; back them up online just in case. Really, it’s a good idea no matter where you live to do this. Third-party Insurance adjusters recommend doing this once a year. Some third-party adjusters will also inspect your roof and certify the roof is free of damage. This is best to do when there aren’t any storms approaching. If you are here in Central Florida, I have someone to recommend. I go over this in detail on this blog post https://cocoabeachinsider.com/2017/07/28/be-prepared-for-hurricane-season/
Should you stay or should you go??? That is up to you! If a storm is approaching, they will probably call for a mandatory evacuation of the barrier islands. So if you live along the beaches, on Merritt Island, or east of US1 on the mainland; you are in the evacuation zone. Do you have friends or family on the mainland you can evacuate to? Do you get a hotel? How far do you have to travel? There are hotels here in Brevard County that you can try. Orlando has a lot of hotels. Up and down I-95 has options too. I would call and reserve before hitting the road & hoping they have something available when you get there. If you have pets, make sure these are pet-friendly hotels. The county also has shelters that open (high school gyms for example) these may or may not be pet friendly.
Realize traffic will be heavy during an evacuation. The longer you wait to leave, the worse it will be. The quickest route might not be the most direct. See what back roads can be used to get you to where you plan on going.
If you are in an evacuation area and you decide not to leave; you will not be forced to leave your house. Just know that IF something happens and you need help from a first responder; they will not go out in harm’s way and will wait until the storm passes enough to allow safe transportation to and from your destination.
If you live on the barrier island, they will close the bridges for inbound/eastbound traffic once the storm approaches & sustained winds are over 45 mph. They will not reopen the bridges until after the storm passes and they have been inspected by DOT. They always start at the south end of the county and work their way north.
Tracking the storm
Local news and weather do a great job of keeping you up to date on the approaching storm. I like Mikes’s Weather Page on FB, IG, or visit his website https://spaghettimodels.com/ There are other storm chasers on social media that are also good to keep up with to see what is happening in certain areas in the path of the storm.
Of course, I hope this hurricane season will be a quiet one…only time will tell!!! If we do get a storm, I hope this information helps you prepare and stay safe. Any questions I can help you with? Please comment below & I will do what I can to find you an answer.
Eric Larkin is a Broker Associate with Real Broker, LLC. He lives, works, and plays in the Cocoa Beach area. If you have questions about moving or relocating to Cocoa Beach and the Space Coast, let me know! I get calls, texts, direct messages & comments on my posts every day about the real estate market and things that are happening in Cocoa Beach and the Space Coast that I love answering. Ask me your questions on moving, relocating here, or anything about the community. I am here to help. I have been helping buyers and sellers with their real estate needs since becoming a real estate agent in 2003. My focus is always on helping, answering your questions, and doing everything possible to make certain you have a smooth transaction from beginning to end.
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