Nearly one year ago to the day we shared tips with you as Hurricane Joaquin took aim for the East Coast. Today, as many of our homeowners and team members in our Charleston division (and our friends everywhere along the coast) are making plans for evacuation due to Hurricane Matthew, we want to remind you of those precautionary tips that can help keep us and our property safe during a major Category 4 storm such as this.
Hurricane Matthew’s direct path is still unknown, as we know, and many regions, including Charlotte where Eastwood Homes is headquartered, are preparing for – at least – heavy rainfall and strong winds. Charlotte meteorologist Brad Panovich reminds us that Hurricane 4 Category winds extend 60 miles! Just as our state and local governments are preparing for the storms, we are striving to make sure our homeowners and neighbors are prepared, too.
North and South Carolina (in addition to Florida and Georgia) are under a state of emergency. While weather reports can be unpredictable at best, we think it is safe to say that we will experience a lot of rain, with flooding likely and possibly heavy winds this weekend. Couple that with the heavy rain many areas have already experienced during the past week and trees can easily topple over! Trees are more likely to topple over when your lawn is already damp.
We encourage area residents to take a few precautionary measures to prepare for this weekend’s weather. Many of these tips may seem like common sense, but we can never hear them too many times.
First, make sure you have your homeowner’s insurance information handy, including policy number and contact information in case you have a claim, such as from flooding or wind damage. Also prepare for power outages by stocking up on extra batteries for your flashlights and keep you electronic devices charged in case of power outages. Have three-days worth of non-perishable food and bottled water per person (and animal). Make sure you have blankets available, too, and trash bags for waste. Have a small suitcase packed and be sure to include any medications that you, your family, and your pets may need. Also, have a current photo of your pets available in case they get lost during the storm or evacuation.
Another good idea is to download the Red Cross app, now, while you have plenty of power and wi-fi available. This app will help you track the hurricane and even lets others know you’re safe or need help even if the power is out.
If you are evacuating your home and community, clear your fridge of perishables and unplug electronics. Move them to your second floor or at least off your floor. If advised by officials, turn off your electricity, water and gas. And board up your windows and brace your door.
In case of flooding, be prepared to move to higher ground. If you need to leave your house, stay to higher ground and do not drive through flooded areas. Remember, it only takes six inches of rain to sweep your vehicle off the road. Also, avoid playing in flooded areas because they can contain sewage, snakes, debris and even alligators in some cases!
In case of high winds, batten down the hatches, as they say. While most of us likely won’t see hurricane force winds, it’s still a good idea to secure any items outside that cannot withstand 50 mph winds, such as children’s toys and bikes, patio furniture and umbrellas, garbage cans, plants and lawn décor and equipment. Secure the cover on your grill, too, and move your grill to higher ground or store inside if you are in a flood plain. Bring as many of these items inside as possible because these items can easily be picked up by wind and could land on your neighbor’s car, or through your home’s window, for example.
A more light-hearted idea (if you aren’t along the coast) is to stock up on some popcorn and movies this weekend because the weather will definitely make it a great time for marathon television watching. It wouldn’t hurt to swing by your local library for a good book, too, and make the most out of this weekend of rainy weather! We hope you all stay safe, and dry!
Please pass these tips along to your friends! Better to be safe than sorry!