A hurricane warning means hurricane conditions -- sustained winds above 73 mph -- are expected somewhere within the warning area, and it is time to finish preparation to protect people and property. "Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds" -- 39 to 73 mph, the National Hurricane Center says.
A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are possible in the watch area, and are issued 48 hours before the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.
This should buy you time to prepare by following the checklist below:
- Use hurricane shutters or board up windows and doors with 5/8 inch plywood.
- Bring outside items in if they could be picked up by the wind.
- Clear gutters of debris.
- Reinforce the garage door.
- Turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting in case power goes off. Use a cooler to keep from opening the doors on the freezer or refrigerator.
- Unplug small appliances and electronics before you leave.
- If possible, turn off the electricity, gas and water for residence.
Preparing your home or investment property can seem tedious, and it may be for nothing, but it is worth it in the long run. This simple checklist can save you thousands of dollars in damages or out-of-pocket-expenses.