Hurricane season is definitely upon us. On Monday, Hurricane Gustav made landfall along the southern coast and while coastal residents were spared the damage that Hurricane Katrina left in path back in 2005, there are still three severe weather patterns in the Atlantic Ocean that have the potential to threaten coastal areas within the next few days to within the following week. Currently as of this writing, these are tropical storm Hannah, which if it stays on course as predicted by the National Hurricane Center, will affect the Eastern coastline, including both South Carolina and North Carolina, Hurricane Ike, which is currently a category 4 hurricane and has the potential to make its’ way into the Gulf of Mexico by next week, and tropical storm Josephine, which is currently located far out in the Atlantic, but which the National Hurricane Center is tracking as a potential threat within the next 7 to 14 days.
In the event that you must evacuate your home and leave one or more vehicles behind, it’s important to take precautions to prevent as much damage as possible. Here are some tips that may help protect your vehicle from floodwater, flying debris and high winds.
1. Store Vehicles in the Garage
If you have a garage, this is the best place to keep your car during a hurricane or tropical storm. It’s probably a good idea to remove heavy objects from shelves and place things like tool boxes and hanging objects such as bicycles on the floor. If you don’t have a garage, try to get your vehicle to higher ground and away from poles, large trees and other objects which may come loose in strong winds.
2. Use a Tarp or Car Cover
Whether your car will be parked in the garage or elsewhere, cover the vehicle with a waterproof or padded tarp or car cover to protect against rain and falling debris, such as wet drywall and other large objects.
3. Secure the Door and Windows
Be sure to shore up the large garage door as best you can use wood or other lumber, plastic sheeting and hardware. Use ½ to ¾ inch plywood and/or heavy plastic or sheeting to cover garage windows. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes year after year, hurricane shutters are a great option.
4. Keep Paperwork in a Safe Place
It’s a good idea to keep car titles, insurance information and other important documents sealed in plastic bags or waterproof containers and kept in a safe place. You may also want to take them with you if you will be evacuating your home.
5. Stay Safe
If you must drive to evacuate your home and get to a safe area, it’s a good idea to have emergency supplies on hand, a first-aid kit and a full tank of gas. Remember to avoid flooded streets and downed power lines and leave well in advance of severe weather conditions.