Prepare for Hurricanes and Summer Storms

Warm weather for many means enjoying the outdoors with picnics, swimming, and gardening. But summer isn’t always a day at the beach. The chances for both thunderstorms and hurricanes ramp up as the weather heats up.

Although hurricane season began in June, late summer and early fall see the most hurricanes as ocean waters warm. No matter where you live, thunderstorms can be a threat. Lightning injures 182 people and kills 33 people on average each year in the United States. Heavy rain from thunderstorms can lead to flash floods. In addition, tornadoes can form during some thunderstorms.

Here are some tips to stay ahead of the storms this summer:

For all storms

  • Download the FEMA app to your mobile phone and receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service to be informed about watches and warnings. Also sign up for community alerts in your area.
  • Make an emergency plan. Make sure to have extra water and nonperishable foods at home. Get started by having enough supplies for your household, including medication, disinfectants, and pet supplies. If you might have to evacuate, also create a smaller go bag to take with you or keep in your car trunk. Remember that after a hurricane, you may not be able to buy some essential items for days or even weeks.


  • Know your risk for hurricanes. Hurricanes are not just a coastal concern. Rain, wind, flooding, and even tornadoes can strike far inland from where a hurricane or tropical storm makes landfall. 
  • If you live in an area that’s affected by hurricanes, plan in advance how you can evacuate if necessary. Practice your evacuation route with household members and pets, and identify where you will stay. Local emergency managers will provide the latest recommendations based on the threat to your community.
  • Make sure to clear storm drains and gutters and bring in outside furniture. Consider installing hurricane shutters if you need added protection against the storm.



  • When thunderstorms are predicted, plan to move inside a sturdy building or a car with a metal roof. Remember the saying, “When thunder roars, go indoors.” Moving under a tree to stay dry won’t help because lightning often strikes the tallest object in its path.
  • Avoid running water or using landline phones. Electricity from lightning can travel through plumbing and phone lines. Unplug computers and other appliances to keep them safe.
  • Watch out for flooded roads. Just six inches of water that’s moving fast can knock you down. A foot of moving water can sweep your car away. 



  • If a tornado warning is issued for your area, find safe shelter right away. That could be a basement or storm cellar. If there is no basement, get to a small, interior room on the lowest level.
  • If you are outside and can’t get to a sturdy building, do not get under an overpass or bridge. You’re safer in a low, flat location.
  • Use your arms to protect your head and neck. Watch out for flying debris.

Get the whole family involved in preparing for severe weather this summer. Kids can help build an emergency kit. They can also help craft a family communication plan so you can contact one another and reconnect if separated during a storm. Knowing you’re prepared can give you peace of mind to enjoy the rest of summer, whatever the weather. 

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