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The Best Hurricane Preparedness Supplies and Strategies

Hurricanes have terrifying power, and because of their sheer scope and unpredictability, each one presents variables that are totally out of your control. How destructive will it be? Will you have to evacuate? Will it shift direction and come right at you? And if you have to evacuate in 2020, how will the COVID-19 pandemic affect preparations—how will shelters be organized safely, and what should you expect when you arrive at one? As unsettling as these questions are, there’s a lot you can do to get ready for one of these megastorms, from staying informed to making sure you have the right gear and completing a few relatively simple home improvements.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the most activity happening between August and October. For 2020, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted an “above normal” season with the potential for 13 to 19 named storms, six to 10 of which could become hurricanes, and all of which can cause significant problems. “A slow-moving tropical storm can produce 10 or 15 inches of rain over a big area and produce a lot of inland flooding,” said Gerry Bell, PhD, lead hurricane season forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, in a conference call (MP3) with reporters.

The most important items to have on hand for a hurricane are the things that will help you communicate with the outside world, find your way in the dark, and protect your belongings. “Be prepared for some primitive living without power for a while,” said Claudette Reichel, a building science specialist at Louisiana State University who trains housing professionals on disaster resilience as well as on hurricane and flood recovery.

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December 3, 2023

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