How to Prepare Your Home for a Hurricane or Storm?

Moshe Amos

Flooding due to heavy rain, storms, and hurricanes has been more frequent and severe in the last few years. More communities in New York suffer devastating results due to global warming, high urban populations, and old drainage systems.
Hurricanes often cause severe damage. While they are out of our control, it helps to prepare for such occurrences to protect your loved ones and valuable assets such as your home.
Waiting until a hurricane warning or watch gets announced could give you limited time to implement some precautions. It’s easier to prevent water damage and overcome any emergency with prior preparation.
So, what does preparing your home for a hurricane or storm involve? Read on for some insightful tips to help you brave the next hurricane season.

Preparing Your Home for a Hurricane or Storm

Hurricanes become increasingly dangerous due to the high wind speeds and intense rainfall. It’s essential to keep these two aspects in mind when preparing your home.
There are various ways to ensure your home withstands the next storm or hurricane, such as:

1.      Leak-Proofing Your Roof

Minor leaks may not be concerning in typical weather. However, they can become catastrophic in a storm or hurricane due to the massive amounts of rainwater.
Roofs often have no defense against high-velocity rain and harsh winds. Most homeowners notice some leaks or missing decking and shingles after a hurricane. The leaks can also lead to your roof sagging in some areas, which can cause the roof to collapse.
Before hurricane season starts, it’s essential to have professionals conduct a roof inspection. You can use roof sealant to patch up any gaps that could leak. If your roof has shingles, have the experts inspect to ensure they are in good condition and replace any broken or missing pieces.
Using hurricane straps or truss tie-downs, you can reinforce your roof against strong winds.

2.      Cleaning Your Gutters

The condition of your gutters is also vital in a storm or hurricane. Clogged drains may cause worse water damage than having no gutters during heavy rainfall.
Gutters need to remain clean and well-maintained to function effectively. With the anticipated high amounts of water, your gutters will help direct the excess water away from your foundation.
There’s always a risk of an accident when climbing on your roof. Hiring trained professionals to inspect, clean, and repair gutters is best before the next hurricane.

3.      Protecting Your Doors and Windows

Windows and doors have a higher risk of damage due to high-velocity winds. The wind often carries objects such as branches and patio furniture that could potentially fit through.
The best way to minimize the risk of hurricane damage to windows and doors is to install storm shutters before the storm season. If you’re working with a limited budget, you can nail plywood sheets over the openings to help fortify the weak points.
The plywood thickness should be about ⅝-inch (172.72 cm). If the material surrounding your doors and windows is vinyl or wood, ensure you measure the plywood to have a one-inch allowance on all sides. This allows you to drill holes into the plywood without damaging the frames.
You can use a drill to drive screws into the plywood at intervals of 16 inches (40.64 cm). If you have a stucco or brick home, it’s best to position the plywood to fit the frame rather than nailing it on top. Avoid using screws and use barrel bolts instead.

4.      Preparing for Power Blackouts

Hurricanes cause blackouts by corroding electrical wires, flooding buildings, or knocking down power lines. You can prepare for a power outage by buying a portable generator to power your home.
However, generators require precautions because they run on fuel like propane. For instance, placing it near your house can cause toxic levels of carbon dioxide inside your home.

5.      Stocking Up on Supplies

Hurricanes can damage infrastructure, making it challenging to reach food and drinks outside your home.

§  Ensure an Adequate Fresh Water Supply

Floods can contaminate or cut off regular tap water. The water may be available but unsafe to use due to drainage issues.
It’s best to pre-stock bottled water ahead of the hurricane season. Hurricane preparation guidelines recommend ensuring a three-day water supply for every person in your home. This is equivalent to one gallon a day for every person.
The FDA proposes stocking a two-week supply for more flexibility if you have the space and resources.

§  Buy Non-perishable Foods

Non-perishable foods are the best for hurricane or storm preparation because they don’t need refrigeration. Ensure you have various canned, tinned foods, eggs, noodles, and dry cereals.
It’s also essential to consider how to cook your meals without electricity or gas. Ensure you plan for whole meals that don’t require cooking.
You can also buy a portable or camping stove to cook the canned meals. They can function without electricity, but watch out for carbon dioxide poisoning when cooking indoors.

6.      Having an Emergency Kit

The effects of a storm or hurricane linger long after it clears. Every case is different, so estimating how long repairs will take isn’t easy.
Water and electricity outages can take days, if not weeks, to address. An emergency kit helps to prepare your family for extended periods without running water and electricity.
An emergency kit should have:

  • A fire extinguisher
  • A lighter or matches in a waterproof bag
  • A charged cell phone and extra battery
  • Non-perishable foods and water
  • A radio
  • Some cash in case banks and ATMs are offline
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Prescription medications
  • Pet medication and food
  • First aid items, like antibiotic ointments, bandages, and pain killers
  • Flashlights and spare batteries
  • Essential documents in a waterproof bag
  • Extra gasoline if your generator uses gas
  • Full gas tank in your car in case of blackouts at local gas stations
  • Pliers or wrench to turn off utilities, like your gas line

7.      Reviewing Your Insurance Policy

New York is prone to flooding, so flood insurance is smart. It’s essential to go through your homeowners’ insurance policy to understand what it covers should you need to file a claim.
Most policies have exclusions that require you to purchase additional insurance for events such as hurricanes or flooding. Contact your provider for accurate information if you’re unsure whether your insurance covers water damage.
Avoid rushing last minute to get a flood insurance cover. If you purchase your policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), it will take thirty days for the policy to become active.
Most insurance companies also issue a moratorium before a hurricane. It prevents the company from selling new policies or adding coverage to existing policies.

8.      Develop an Evacuation Plan

Evacuation may be necessary during a storm or hurricane. It’s, therefore, essential to have a carefully-thought evacuation plan.
Think about where to go, items to take, means to get there, and security for pets and loved ones. Always remember that your safety comes before your home. If the evacuation order arrives, staying behind is never a good idea.

Don’t Wait for the Next Hurricane Warning to Fortify Your Home

Fortifying your home and developing a plan for you and your loved ones can make a difference in how you recover after a storm or hurricane. Implementing the above tips is a great step in the right direction.
If your home suffered damage after a storm or hurricane, NYTDR is the ultimate solution to all your renovation needs. Our licensed team of experts handles all your contracting needs, including electrical, plumbing, and all installations.
We also follow up on your insurance to ensure you get the amount you deserve to cover restoration. Once the payment comes in, our experts will help with design and planning, leaving your home better than it was. Book a free consultation today and let us handle all repairs or renovations as you focus on rebuilding your life.


Moshe Amos

Moshe has more over 15 years as a licensed contractor in the New York City area. 

As a New York State-licensed Mold Assessor, he is especially knowledgeable about mold assessment and remediation.


Fire & Water Damage ‧ Mold Remediation ‧ Asbestos & Lead ‧ All Abatement ‧ Total Renovation