The summertime is known for its weather, both the good and the bad...and especially the hurricanes. States in the eastern US are affected every year by the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which starts on the first day of June and lasts the entire summer. While the hurricanes are interesting to follow, they can also be dangerous if they make landfall and tend to be incredibly unpredictable. For homeowners located in the eastern US, and families planning to travel in these areas, it’s important to know how to take care of your home’s exterior (from the roof to the landscaping), as well as your family, to breeze through this year’s hurricane season.
Though it gets much less attention than the Atlantic hurricane season, the Pacific Hurricane Season can also be a threat to the western states in the US. The hurricane season for the eastern Pacific began on May 15th of this year, a couple weeks earlier than the Atlantic season, and the 2015 Pacific Hurricane season was one of the most active with a total of 9 major hurricanes (rated at least a category 3 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale).
Both the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific Hurricane Seasons end at the end of November, though it is possible to see hurricanes form outside of the formal hurricane season.
Hurricane Safety Tips for Kids
Before the Storm
House Safety: This includes cleaning up and putting away any outdoor toys and furniture likely to be moved around by the high-velocity winds. Also a good idea anytime you live in a potentially affected area, hire a tree service pro to evaluate what branches (or entire trees) should come down and take care of them safely. Make sure yard tools are put away and safely secured.
Explain: Hurricanes are scary, especially if you’re spending hours waiting for it to end, and the more the kids understand in advance, the easier it will be to keep them calm. Make sure to stay calm yourself, but be honest with them. Above all, kids are different, so think about what your kids need to feel safe.
During the Storm
Stay Put: Not in every case, but if the storm is bad enough, don’t ignore warnings that advise you stay in a safe place in your home, even for a moment. The DHS shares you can get knocked down in as little as 6 inches of water; make sure you listen to all warnings.
Distract: Distractions, like games, cards, and books, can help keep little ones distracted from the stress and worry of the storm (it helps for adults). Make sure you have a few different games so no one gets bored, or make one up.
Supply: Make sure you have everything you need - just as if you were going on a long trip. Keep a change of clothes in case of accidents and/or spills and keep snacks nearby. Blankets can help soothe, as well.
After the Storm
Spot-Check: Hurricanes can cause severe damage to trees, windows, and electrical systems, along with causing water damage. Make sure you check any areas you’re expecting kids to play in for dangerous damage, like downed power lines or broken glass, before the kids start playing.
Teach: Once the immediate threat has passed, find some resources to help teach your kids about what hurricanes are and how they form. Going through the experience can be an invaluable lesson that will help peak their interest in climate and weather.
Hurricane Safety Tips for Pets
The safety tips to keep in mind for pets during hurricane season are remarkably similar to the tips provided for kids, from finding ways to keep them calm to making sure they have a place to sleep and do their business during the storm itself. However, one of the main differences comes up if the storm is so bad that you’re required to (or choose to) evacuate. Many shelters for evacuees will not allow pets to be brought in; if you’re preparing for a big storm, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting in touch with a local animal shelter to ask what options there might be in your area. Make sure you do this in advance so you can rest easy!