Coping with Severe Storms: Tips for your North Carolina Home

Posted: May 31, 2018

Hurricane season sign

Although the official start of the hurricane season in the Atlantic begins June 1, most of these storms typically occur between August and October.

After more than a decade of no major hurricanes making landfall, 2017 brought a stark contrast with three deadly storms roaring onto land. You probably remember these names: Hurricane Harvey (Texas), Hurricane Irma (Florida) and Hurricane Maria (Puerto Rico). These three storms rank among the top five most destructive hurricanes ever recorded.

For 2018, preliminary forecasts have called for a slightly above-average hurricane season, with the possibility of three major hurricanes – defined as Category 3, 4 or 5.

Of course, North Carolina residents are no strangers to damaging storms, but it never hurts to do a quick safety review. Here are some reminders.

  • Create an emergency preparedness plan and review it with your family. Your list should include instructions on how to turn off your propane and water supply.
  • Make sure your aboveground propane tanks are anchored securely.
  • Ensure you have an adequate supply of propane in your tank, including enough to power your generator. After a major hurricane, propane (and other fuels) may not be readily available and roads may be inaccessible.
  • Never turn on a light switch, use any power source, or inspect your household appliances while standing in water! This avoids the risk of electrocution.
  • Never use outdoor propane appliances indoors or in enclosed areas. This avoids the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • After the hurricane passes, carefully check your property for downed power lines, damaged gas lines or damage to your propane tank and appliances. Contact your propane company to report any damage.

Other tips

  • Charge all communications equipment – cellphones, laptops, tablets, etc. – in advance of the storm.
  • Stock up on bags of ice to preserve perishable food.
  • Withdraw cash and gas up your car before the storm arrives; power outages could leave you unable to access these essentials.
  • If high winds are predicted, secure lawn furniture and other objects in your yard.
  • Clear storm drains of any debris that could clog and back up rain water.

If you have a generator

  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions on how to use it safely.
  • Have it professionally serviced at least once a year to keep it running reliably.
  • Remember to refuel after use.

If you don’t have a generator, contact your propane company to learn which backup propane generator might be best for your home.