The devastation of Hurricane Harvey may not be the end of the damage caused by weather this year. Atlantic hurricane season peaks in September, but runs through the end of November, only to be followed by a potentially dangerous winter storm season.
And while Harvey may be a storm of historic proportions, lesser weather systems can still wreak havoc. Hurricanes, tropical storms, snowstorms, and other natural disasters can leave people without power, access to food, and severely limited in their ability to go anywhere.
The time to prepare for this type of event is now, before a storm is imminent. You don't want to be the person scrounging for supplies as disaster looms.
"Unfortunately, about half of adults in the United States do not have the resources and plans in place for a possible emergency," according to a United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website page. "Preparing emergency kits for your family is an important step in keeping them safe and healthy during a disaster."
When a storm is coming, follow all government directives. Evacuate if you are told to, but if not, make sure you are ready and supplied.
The CDC recommends one gallon per person per day. You should plan on having at least a week's worth of water on hand. In addition, before a storm hits, it's never a bad idea to fill your tubs or sinks with water. This isn't for drinking purposes. That water can be used to fill the back of your toilet to allow it to be flushed if water stops working.
When a storm appears imminent, that's a good time to use some of the items in your refrigerator or freezer that will spoil if you lose power. To prepare for a storm you will want access to a supply of foods that don't require electricity to cook and will not spoil. Canned foods, for the most part, don't actually need to be heated, and while a cold can of soup may be unpleasant, it's still viable.
The CDC recommends a three-day supply of needed medicines as a minimum. You may want to have more than that because power outages from a not-that-serious storm could still make it difficult to fill your prescriptions after the weather has improved.
It's great if you have flashlights, a radio, and other needed battery-powered safety items, but they won't work without a ready supply of batteries. Take note of what sizes your devices use and stock up.
If you have canned goods on hand, but don't have a manual can opener, you have a problem on your hands. Make sure you have whatever utensils and supplies you will need someplace you can easily access if the power goes out.
Whether you buy one or assemble one from things you already have in the house, you are going to want an easy-to-access first-aid kit. In the result of an injury, even a minor one, when the power has gone out you don't want to have to search for needed aid supplies.
Candles can burn your house down and are a dangerous, bad idea. Instead have a selection flashlights on hand. You'll want to make sure you have some that are hands-free, and others that are easy to carry around. Of course, make sure you have a healthy supply of batteries on hand.
Even if you lose power, you can listen to storm-related information on a battery-powered radio. This can include evacuation notices, other emergency information, and weather reports letting you know when the worst has passed.
It's possible to charge most smartphones via solar chargers. These aren't expensive (around $20 on popular online retailers) but can be a life-saver if you lose power. Remember to leave these in a sunny spot to charge before the weather gets bad because cloud cover limits their efficacy.
If you have pets, make sure you have everything they will need. This includes not only food and water, but any supplies they require for their various "bathroom" needs. Remember that you may not be able to walk a dog outside so plan accordingly.
Stuff to do
Not every storm that traps you at home or causes power loss turns into a disaster. In many cases it's just bad weather that forces you to stay inside. To prepare for that make sure you stock up on reading material, board games, and whatever else you might do to pass the time.