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Hurricanes are far from unheard of in New York, yet many New Yorkers won’t have a response plan firmly in mind when asked. It could prove to be a costly mistake, so you need to stay prepared!
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about what to do before, during, and after a hurricane to minimize the damage. With these steps, you’ll be ready for just about anything. Let’s get into it.
Although they don’t happen as frequently as in other regions, hurricanes still occur and can have devastating consequences. The state’s coastal areas are at particular risk, but hurricane rains and winds can also move inland and cause enormous destruction.
The aftermath of Hurricane Ida in 2021 was one event that had fatal consequences. Remnants of the hurricane moved up the coast and caused destruction, killing 14 people. It also caused $936 million in damages.
There are several hazards associated with hurricanes that make them significantly dangerous. Understanding the threat they pose helps give you a greater understanding of the severity of hurricanes.
These events are considered one of the most dangerous hazards associated with hurricanes, as they present the most severe threat to life and property on the coast. Storm surges are significant rises in the water level caused by storm winds at sea. They can span hundreds of miles across the coastline with waves over twenty feet tall.
Storm-force winds are capable of damaging property both inside and out. Hurricane-force winds are defined as being 74mph in speed or more and are capable of destroying entire buildings. High winds can cause debris to fly around, destroying property and harming people.
Torrential rain is frequently associated with hurricanes, resulting in widespread flooding. If it happens quickly, it can cause flash flooding. Water can rise suddenly and seemingly without warning, leaving vehicles stranded and pedestrians in significant danger.
Although weaker than stand-alone tornadoes, tornadoes may follow in the wake of a hurricane. The resulting tornadoes are often short-lived and relatively weak, but that doesn’t make them harmless, so safety precautions must be respected.
Preparation is key to your safety. Use these tips to create a failproof response plan in a hurricane.
During a hurricane, it is often strongly advised that you do not leave the safety of your home unless local authorities order you to evacuate.
If you bunker down, you need enough food and water to carry you through. You will likely be unable to go to your local grocery store for a snack, so prepare well ahead of time!
Staying in contact with all family members near the hurricane is essential. You should also identify at least one family member/friend away from the hurricane who can be a designated emergency contact.
If family members can’t get home due to hurricane disruption, designate a safe meeting place as a substitute far away from the hurricane.
A hurricane is constantly evolving, so there will be frequent updates. You need to be tapped into these wherever possible through your smartphone, battery-powered radio, or similar means.
Staying up-to-date ensures you have the information you need, whether you are supposed to remain at home or evacuate.
Keep your important identification documents safe. They could include identity documents, medical records, insurance policies, bank statements, etc.
Whatever it is, if it’s capable of being damaged irreparably due to water, secure it in a waterproof container.
First, make sure you live in a relevant evacuation zone. You can double-check this in New York City via the Know Your Zone resource. Alternatively, you can call 311. If your address falls into one of the hurricane evacuation zones, you will have to leave your home and stay with friends and family who live in a designated safe zone.
When evacuating, you can use mass transit or take your own vehicle. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Public transportation ensures local authorities can direct people to safe evacuation centers. However, some public transportation will shut down hours before the hurricane is due to hit, so always prepare ahead of time.
Driving lets you pack your emergency kit and removes the risk of stampedes and getting separated from family members in a crowd. However, vehicles also can block roadways and slow down evacuation speeds.
Whatever you choose, leave early and allow additional time for unexpected disruptions or complications.
You’ll need to stay within your home if you aren’t evacuating—stock up on enough food and water to sustain yourself until long after the hurricane has passed.
Make sure you have a way to stay connected for emergency alerts. Blackouts are common in hurricanes, so a backup power source is advisable.
While inside, stay away from entryways and windows as they could shatter. Similarly, debris could fly through them. Try not to panic, but keep yourself as safe as possible.
Preparing for and enduring a hurricane is important, but you must also understand what steps to take once the hurricane has cleared too. Just because the wind has died doesn’t mean the danger is gone. The following steps are vital following a hurricane.
Wherever possible, stay far away from floodwater. Undercurrents can be deceptive and appear still on the surface but pull you under unexpectedly.
Driving through floodwater is not safe either, as your vehicle could be lifted and pulled away by the water’s force or cause you to stall entirely. Always wear a life jacket if you need to go through or travel near floodwater.
If your home has suffered water damage, your electrical devices may become exposed to moisture. If you suspect they have, do not use them, as this poses a significant risk of electrocution. Wait for an electrician to verify the safety of your devices before attempting to use them.
In the same way that your electrical devices can pose a fire hazard, so can candles. If the hurricane does cause a blackout, don’t fill your home with candles in response. Battery-operated flashlights are always the better option.
If you absolutely must use candles as you have nothing else, keep them away from flammable materials and don’t leave them unattended.
If you need to leave your home following a hurricane, be wary of the buildings around you. Especially in New York, where skyscrapers are abundant, it’s likely there will have been significant structural damage. Be careful of falling debris, and do not enter a damaged building until local authorities state it is safe.
Hurricanes can cause all kinds of damage to your property, both externally and internally. Let’s walk you through some specific kinds you may encounter.
Roof damage is the most apparent and frequent damage to properties following a hurricane. Heavy winds could damage the shingles, framing of the property, drainage pipes, or sheafing.
An accumulation of debris could also put excess weight on the roofing, causing it to fall through in extreme cases.
Intense hurricane winds can damage the structure of your home or property, resulting in numerous cracks throughout the foundation. If left untreated, this damage could render the premises entirely uninhabitable.
Roofs, windows, and doorways can all become damaged by a hurricane, leaving them wide open to interior damage. Damage to the roof can create roof leaks, which leads to water damage and mold. Debris can fly through torn-out windows, destroying your floor, ceilings, and furnishings. Water damage can lead to electrical faults.
Coastal and tropical storms affect New York, often with devastating consequences, which is why it’s essential to adhere to safety regulations when a hurricane is on the way. If you live in New York City or anywhere in the state, you need to have a plan of action.
In total, eighty-five tropical or subtropical cyclones have hit New York since the 1800s. The recent catastrophic aftermath of Hurricane Ida in 2021 is a reminder that hurricanes do affect the state. They might not be frequent, but they happen often enough to make preparation critical!
If your home or property is suffering after a hurricane, don’t hesitate to contact All Dry USA. One of our experts will be happy to advise what your next steps should be. From water damage repair to mold remediation, we can restore your home to its best, no matter what has hit it.
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