Two years ago Hurricane Matthew hit our area, and caused devastation to roads, homes and businesses. Families in our area experienced loss of power, water and severe damages to their homes. Even almost two years later, many are still feeling the financial and emotional strain.
With the imminent threat of Hurricane Florence on a direct path for our area later this week, it is imperative we are prepared on how to deal with this. According to Newsweek, “While it is too soon to determine the exact timing, location, and magnitude of these impacts, interests at the coast and inland from South Carolina into the mid-Atlantic region should closely monitor the progress of Florence, ensure they have their hurricane plan in place, and follow any advice given by local officials.”
As of this morning, Florence is rapidly gaining strength, and the National Hurricane Center has now forecasted Florence to become a strong Category 4 storm before making landfall along the Southeast or Mid-Atlantic coast on Thursday.
North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia have all declared a state of emergency with the threat of Florence imminent. The town of Hope Mills has declared a state of emergency, with officials from Fayetteville and Spring Lake likely to follow suit soon. The National Hurricane Center states “All indications are that Florence will be an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane while it moves over the western Atlantic toward the southeastern United States,” and NOAA has Florence tracking on a direct path with the heaviest rains coming right through Fayetteville by mid week.
All indicators are pointing that Florence will become AT LEAST a category 3 hurricane with landfall on the Southeast coast by weeks end. The storm is tracking to pass over warmer than normal water, which provides fuel and speed to the storm. The national hurricane center is predicting Florence will reach Category 4 intensity by Tuesday, and maintain that intensity. It isn’t out of the question for Florence to become a Cat 5 at some point, with wind peaks at 150MPH between Tuesday and Wednesday.
RAIN, WIND AND FLOODING
While we may not experience the same levels of devastation as many areas closer to the coast, we can still expect to experience heavy rain, winds and flooding. “There is an increasing risk of two life-threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast and freshwater flooding from a prolonged heavy rainfall event inland,” according to the National Hurricane Center. The increased rainfall and wind in our area will, as we have seen before, have a drastic impact.
Flooding is the biggest problems we face inland from hurricanes. They cause wash out on roads, damages to homes and vehicles, and unsafe driving conditions are just the tip of the ice burg. High winds causing fallen trees, creating projectiles, downed power lines and severe home damage are all in the forecast. Flooding can also cause major water damage to your home!
What steps can you take to be prepared? Short of going out and buying all the bread and milk you can find, there are several items you can do around the house to make sure you, your families, and your home stay safe!
1. Know your areas risk for flooding. Identify roadways that may be subject to wash out, and have an alternative route in place. Check and see if your home lies in a flood plain.
2. Check your insurance! Make sure your home is covered for when the Hurricane strikes!
3. Gather enough supplies for at least 3 days, keeping in mind special needs of each person to include medication, allergies etc. People were without power and water for up to a week when Matthew hit.
4. Fill up your gas tank, and include a small emergency kit in your car. You never know where you may be stranded due to flooded roads or other issues such as downed power lines.
5. Bring loose, lightweight objects inside (these items could easily become projectiles and break windows etc due to high winds) such as lawn chairs, garbage cans and grills.
6. Keep your cell phone charged
7. Close curtains and blinds.
8. Avoid travel as much as possible once Hurricane force weather hits your area
9. Turn your fridge and freezers to the coldest settings, to ensure that if you lose power, your food will stay cold as long as possible
10. Fill your tubs with water for flushing toilets etc
11. Fill available containers with water for drinking and cooking.
12. Use of a generator or gasoline powered grill should ONLY be used outside!
13. DO NOT drive, ride or walk through running water! Just SIX inches of fast moving water can knock you down, and a foot of moving water can sweep away a vehicle!
Items to include in your Emergency Kit
1. Flashlight and batteries
2. First Aid Supplies
4. Blankets and pillows
5. Manual can opener for food
6. Moist Towlettets
7. Garbage Bags
8. A grill – charcoal or propane – to ONLY be used outside!
9. Water – one gallon of water per person per day. So for a family of 4 for three days – 12 gallons of water!
10. Legal documents such as ID’s, Social Security Cards, Marriage Certificates etc.
• Pet food and supplies
• Important documents
• Changes of clothes
• Matches or lighters
• Personal Hygiene items
• Cups, plates and bowls
• Books, games, puzzles and other kid friendly activities
BE SAFE AFTEREven after the storm has passed, that doesn’t mean the danger is gone. When cleaning up be sure to use caution!
Don’t touch electrical equipment, especially if it is wet OR you are standing in water! If safe to do so, turn your electric off at the main breaker and use your fuse box to prevent shock!
Avoid walking and driving in flood water. Not only is the current very strong, the water can contain dangerous debris AND potentially be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines. THIS INCLUDES large puddles that may accrue in your yard! They may look like fun to go let the kids play in, but they can contain bacteria, debris and electrical currents that can cause severe harm to your children!
When starting the cleanup process, be careful, and use protective eyewear and gloves if available.
If you need to relocate, keep records and receipts for all additional expenses. Most insurance policies cover emergency living arrangements.
Document any property damage to your home and call a trusted restoration company right away! Cape Fear Flooring & Restoration offers 24/7 emergency damage restoration services, free in home assessments, and we work WITH your insurance company to make sure you are taken care of! After a hurricane, make us your FIRST call!