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What to do During a Category 1 Hurricane
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
We watch them on the news almost every year, hurricanes that form in the Atlantic basin, some of which set their sights on the US mainland. When that path is determined, we begin watching to see when it will make landfall, and more importantly, just how strong the storm will be when it does. The strength of a storm when it comes ashore will of course determine the amount of damage it is likely to cause.
We also tend to worry less when the storm is classified a lower ranking on the hurricane category chart. Hurricanes are ranked 1 through 5 in severity, with 5 being the worst (maximum sustained winds above 155 mph). Many of us tend to drop our guard when storms are projected to hit while classified as a Category 1. This is a mistake.
Category 1 hurricanes are still very strong storms, with winds of up to 74-95 mph, torrential rains, and the very real possibility of serious flooding and damage to weaker structure such as mobile homes. These storms are not likely to call for evacuation of your home, but you should take proper steps to make your property safe from the incoming elements.
Steps You Can Take for a Category 1 Storm
Board up the windows on your home to protect them not only from the high winds that accompany a hurricane, but also the various pieces of flying debris that will be present. It would not take much to knock out a window, allowing wind and rain access to your home and causing additional damage. Plywood is inexpensive and can be cut to fit most any opening you wish to seal. Board up preparation should be done ahead of time, before hurricane season arrives. That way, it just becomes a matter of execution once the storm is on the radar and your community is in the crosshairs.
If you know the storm is coming, inspect the exterior of your home for anything that might become airborne in the event of high winds, such as patio furniture or lawn decorations, and move these inside. Remember that any loose item can be picked up by hurricane-force winds and become a dangerous projectile as it is hurled through the air. Have a place set aside where you can move these items until the danger has passed.
Category 1 storms are not known for widespread power outages, but the power may go off in certain areas, so be prepared. Have flashlights with extra batteries on hand. Candles are nice, too, but they do present a fire hazard if knocked over or improperly handled. Non-perishable food items should be stocked, as well as a battery-powered radio that will allow you to keep track of rapidly changing weather conditions.
Do not be fooled by the low rating assigned to many hurricanes. They are still a serious threat, and should be treated as such.