10 Things You Won't Be Sorry to Have When the Big Storm Hits
Add this super-useful, not-entirely-expected stuff to your storm-prep list
Nowadays the weather folk start talking about Stormapocalypse long before it's due. Which means you've got ample time to put your house in order. While you're stocking up on bread, water, and wine, don't forget about these surprisingly handy essentials.
Don't wing it. Meet with your family and work out how you plan to communicate with one another, who's responsible for what, and where you plan to meet should you be separated. Learn about pro disaster planning from the Red Cross.
This Old House's Kevin O'Connor asks the Weather Channel how they stock up for severe weather in our video How to Stock Up for Severe Weather.
"It's the Swiss Army knife of string," says Bill Begal, president of Begal Enterprises Inc., a disaster-restoration company in Rockville, Maryland. "You can tie almost anything with it." Waterproof and super-strong, fishing line is great for securing a flapping door or shutter, tying a tarp over a broken window, and, in a pinch, even fixing eyeglasses that have lost a screw.
Before you tie down your shutters, check out Tom Silva's tips in our video How to Choose Hurricane Window Protection.
No hot water? No problem. Baby wipes are an instant shower. No water at all? Wash food, clean food-prep and eating areas, and wipe down dishes and utensils with these guys. Use them to take off makeup, wipe down pets that have been hiding in the basement, and clean off screens and keyboards. And, oh yeah, they work for baby, too.
When it's time to return home and tidy up, follow our Smart, Safe Storm Cleanup Tips.
The time to fill 'er up is not right after you've been told to evacuate. Avoid lines by topping up your tank well ahead of time. And if using a generator or snowblower is in your future, fill up a couple of gas cans, too.
Always be prepared by learning the features of a whole-house emergency generator in our video How to Install a Stand-by Generator.
A big storm is no picnic. Still, these picnic-table staples can come in handy in a disaster, says Abby Harrison, a survivor of 2008's Hurricane Ike who now teaches emergency preparedness classes in Houston. Cheaper than tarps, these water-resistant spill-catchers can provide an instant island of clean, especially after a disaster where dirt and debris litter the floor.
Live in a coastal area? Check out our detailed Hurricane Safety Checklist.
Getting scrips refilled can be a drag in the best of circumstances. Gale forces will not improve anything. Check your medications. If you're running low, get a refill now. If you need to evacuate, it could be awhile before you're near your local pharmacy again.
Don't forget your four-legged friends! Make sure they don't get left out in the cold with our tips on Storm Prep for Pets.
When a flying branch cracks a windowpane or an air leak causes a draft, this weatherproof clear tape is nice to have on hand. It does everything your favorite duct tape does, only outdoors, too, and in extreme temperatures.
Keep things sealed tight during everyday life with tips from our video How to Weatherstrip an Exterior Door.
A bowl of hot soup sure would be nice—if only the electricity weren't out and we could open this can! No sad trombones for you when you've got a manual can opener at the ready. To prevent cut fingers, look for one that opens with a smooth edge.
Rewatch the Jersey Shore Rebuilds season of This Old House to see how other homeowners have dealt with damaging storms.
There's nothing like a large loose umbrella blowing across the lawn to remind you that you meant to put away the outdoor furniture ages ago. Stack it up, strap it down, stow it in the garage before the weather rolls in.
Keep your outdoor-entertaining hot spot in working order with our Deck Safety Checklist.
Extreme weather can mean iffy electricity and spotty Wi-Fi. When that happens, cash is king. Hit the bank before the storm and you'll avoid lines and the risk of the ATM running out. Make sure to get an assortment of bills—not everyone will want to break your Benjamin.
Get even more help on this subject from the full episode of Ask This Old House dedicated to Severe Weather Prep.