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Still Time To Prepare For Possible Hurricane

By Jessica Rodrigo, Victoria Advocate, Texas
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Aug. 21--Hurricanes have historically hit the Crossroads in August and September.

According to the Corpus Christi National Weather Service, nearly every major hurricane to strike Texas has occurred in those two months.

"Be ahead of the game. You want to do it now," said John Metz, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Planning is the best way for people to prepare for a possible storm, he said.

Go shopping for nonperishable items, water and supplies to last the family a week if power goes out or in case there is no access to food and water. Prepare the homes or businesses, too, Metz said, which means securing items that could be picked by strong winds and securing windows, doors and garage doors.

Garage doors are sometimes the last thing people think about securing when they're preparing to leave because a storm is coming. Two vertical braces can be used to reinforce a garage door, which is one of the weakest points in a home.

When an evacuation is called, be ready with an evacuation plan and route to where to you are staying, he said.

"If you're on your own, you need to be able to survive with what you have and know how to get there," Metz said.

For home and business owners, having the right insurance can mean the difference between getting back to life before the storm quickly or slowly, said Mark Hanna, manager of public relations for the Insurance Council of Texas.

"This is when Texas faces the greatest threat," he said. "If (people) have done nothing, they can still get ready."

It's as easy as contacting insurance agents to double-check policies and make sure everything is covered.

In Texas, there is no such thing as hurricane insurance, Hanna said. A compilation of three policies -- wind storm, flood and basic homeowners insurance -- can prepare a home for a storm.

"Now is the time to make that call. The agent is paid to answer any questions you might have," he said.

Here are a few tips from Metz and Hanna on how to prepare for an evacuation and returning home from the storm.-- Don't let the past dictate the future. Some people believe their past experiences with hurricanes or storms will prepare them for what's to come. Each storm is different and should be treated uniquely.

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Have the right amount of supplies. Prepare for at least seven days of being without access to a grocery store or electricity. A good rule of thumb is 1 gallon of water per person per day. Also think about medicine and diapers.

Know how to read the hurricane forecast. If a forecast is released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the white cone includes areas that will be directly hit by the storm. Anyone near the white should be prepared to evacuate.

Have access to the weather forecast. There are several ways to stay up to date on storms. Use social media, have a weather radio and listen to broadcasts.

Take inventory of what's at home or in a business. Use video with a narrative or take photos with a list of items and save it somewhere away from the home. Store it online in the Cloud or in Dropbox.

Ask about "additional living expenses." Some insurance companies provide additional living expenses that will cover housing, food, clothing, etc. There are a lot of instances when people cannot live in their home after a storm because of damage.--Take notes of every call with insurance agents. Write down names, numbers, times and dates of contact. This helps when you have to report damage and can contact the same agent you spoke with who is already familiar with your case.

Be vigilant of contractors. There are many people who will be in the area after a storm hits who are claiming they can make repairs. Be sure they are a local company and are licensed and legitimate contractors.

___

(c)2014 Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas)

Visit Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas) at www.victoriaadvocate.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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