We're still in the midst of hurricane season, which doesn't officially end until November 30. And those of us on the east coast are preparing for the 10th named storm this year to affect our area. While meteorologists aren't sure at this point where Hurricane Joaquin will make landfall, as of this writing there's a good chance it could head up the Chesapeake Bay. Wherever Joaquin hits, no doubt it will affect Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC to some extent.
There are steps homeowners can take to be prepared for severe storms. Take a walk around your property and look for anything that might cause an issue during a bad storm. You should be sure that your gutters are completely cleaned out and that your downspouts are free from clogs. Check that the downspouts are draining water far enough away from your home's foundation. Dead tree branches and branches that rub against windows could cause your window glass to break in high winds. Inspect your windows and entry doors for any signs of leaks, loose trim, or other problems that could cause water leaks during a heavy storm.
If a storm is imminent, such as Hurricane Joaquin could become, plan to bring in or secure all outdoor furniture, trash cans, and anything else can be blown around during a storm. Check your emergency supplies - make sure your generator is working and you have plenty of fuel, get your flashlights out and put in fresh batteries, and make sure you have plenty of propane for your gas grill (in the event of a power outage you'll still be able to prepare hot meals).
Anticipate any needs your family may have if you're stuck at home during a storm. Refill any prescription medication that may be running low. Prepare an emergency kit, which we be invaluable should the storm be severe and you lose power. Your kit should contain fresh drinking water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit, cell phones and chargers. And don't forget your pets - make sure you have plenty of food for them.
During a severe weather event, stay tuned to local radio and television for updated information. Turn your refrigerator thermostat to its lowest setting, and if you do lose power open the door as infrequently as possible. Be sure to have plenty of non-perishable food that's high in protein and easy to prepare, such as power bars, peanut butter, nuts, cereal, and canned tuna and chicken. It's helpful to have plenty of disposable paper plates, cups, and utensils, as well as trash bags.
As any Boy Scout will tell you, the motto "Always Be Prepared" will put you ahead of the game in any emergency situation. Inspecting the exterior of your home for potential problems, cleaning gutters, assembling emergency supplies and non-perishable food items will help to minimize any problems you might encounter due to severe weather and related power outages.