3 things to do before hurricane season begins - HMS National, Inc.

3 things to do before hurricane season begins

May 29, 2014

Don't look now, but hurricane season is just around the corner.

Starting June 1 and lasting all the way until Nov. 30, this five-month period is the time of year that storm trackers keep their eye to the sky, looking to see if the Atlantic Ocean will produce the conditions that bring heavy wind and rain. 

Only two hurricanes formed during all of 2013, according to the National Hurricane Center. Known as Humberto and Ingrid, these storms were Category 1, which is the weakest and didn't even reach the U.S.' shoreline. In fact, it's been eight years since a major hurricane struck the U.S. mainland.

It's anyone's guess what will happen this year, but if you talk to researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there's a pretty good chance that there will be more this year than in 2013.

The NOAA revealed that there's a 40 percent chance the hurricane season this year will be "near-normal" and a 10 percent chance it will be "above-normal." An average season usually produces four to six hurricanes, which may start out as tropical depressions. These storms can also be powerful, but aren't nearly as strong as full-blown hurricanes.

No matter what happens, it's important to be prepared for worst-case scenarios. Here are are a few tips to keep in mind from the Federal Emergency Management Agency:

1. Build an emergency kit. When the lights go out and roadway access is limited, you'll want to have all your necessities covered. An emergency kit should have plenty of food, water, medical supplies, flashlights, batteries and personal medication needs to last 72 hours. You should also assemble contact information for friends, family and emergency assistance like the local police department.

2. Clean gutters. The downspouts and gutters can get clogged with dirt and debris pretty quickly. If this isn't cleared, heavy amounts of rain can lead to localized flooding. Ensure that they're free and clear so that rainwater can be effectively channeled away from your residence.

3. Install or buy a generator. Power outages can last a long time after a hurricane, preventing you from running water, using the facilities or doing anything else that requires electricity. Buying a generator can spare you from a lot of inconvenience.

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.