The 2018 hurricane season has already proved more active than initially expected, with Hurricane Florence causing extensive damage throughout the Carolina’s. Now Hurricane Michael is poised to hit the Gulf Coast of Florida early Wednesday.
Michael is expected to make landfall as a Category 3 hurricane, bringing a “life-threatening” storm surge, strong winds, and significant rain to more than 300 miles of Florida’s coastline. Current projections indicate Michael will then track across Georgia into the Carolina’s, hampering Hurricane Florence recovery efforts.
Preparing for Hurricane Michael in Florida
Mandatory evacuations have been issued for Gulf, Wakulla, and Bay counties and Florida Governor Rick Scott is urging residents to comply. In a tweet posted Tuesday morning, Governor Scott said, “This is a serious and life-threatening situation- don’t take any chances. If you have been told to evacuate, leave.”
If you live in these areas and you haven’t already evacuated, we urge you to grab your hurricane emergency kit and take shelter. You should also evacuate if you live in a mobile home even if not expressly ordered to do so for your own safety.
This morning, I’m at the State Emergency Operations Center to give an update on Hurricane Michael as it approaches FL. The window of time to prepare is closing. This is a serious and life-threatening situation- don’t take any chances. If you have been told to evacuate, leave.
— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) October 9, 2018
Where is the Nearest Hurricane Shelter?
If you live in Florida and have been ordered to evacuate, you can find a list of local hurricane shelters in your county on FloridaDisaster.org. In addition to finding a shelter near you, you can also find hurricane preparedness information and the latest news on Hurricane Michael.
#HurricaneMichael isn’t heading to any one town…
There are warnings for more than 300 miles of coastline. It’s forecast to be a large and dangerous hurricane at landfall.
✔️Life-threatening storm surge
✔️Life-threatening flash floodinghttps://t.co/VyWINDk3xP pic.twitter.com/nsHYkBjy2r
— NWS (@NWS) October 9, 2018
What To Do If I’m Not Ordered to Evacuate?
For Florida residents not ordered to evacuate, we advise you secure your home before Michael makes landfall. Cover windows with hurricane shutters or marine grade ⅝ inch thick plywood. Consider installing roof straps and reinforcing garage doors as time allows.
If possible, clean gutters, check downspouts, and trim trees and plants around your yard to ensure rainwater can drain properly during the storm. You should move patio furniture and other outdoor items indoors to prevent them from damaging your home.
What To Do During a Hurricane?
Whether you have evacuated to a hurricane shelter or are taking refuge in your home, wait until the storm has completely passed before going outside. Remember that the eye of the storm may give a false sense of calm.
If you are staying in your home, stay in a central room away from windows. We recommend having at least one flashlight and enough clean drinking water for your family for at least three days.
While you still have wifi or cell signal, you can follow the path of the storm on both the National Hurricane Center’s and National Weather Service’s Twitter feeds. Afterward, use a battery-powered radio to track the storm.
What To Do After a Hurricane?
Hurricanes are stressful, even terrifying, events, but do your best to remain calm. Remember that friends, neighbors, first responders, and strangers all went through the same traumatic situation.
Continue to listen to weather and news alerts for the latest information. For those that evacuated, wait until given an all-clear from an official before leaving the shelter and returning to your home.
Drive safely, as roads are likely to be flooded, and avoid driving unless absolutely necessary. Keep valid identification easily accessible and avoid driving through flooded areas. Watch for downed trees and power-lines as well.
Preparing for Michael in Alabama, Georgia, and The Carolina’s
After making landfall, Michael is expected to bring tropical-storm-force winds and heavy rainfalls to southeast Alabama and southern Georgia late Tuesday night, before tracking across Georgia into the Carolina’s on Wednesday. Current projections have Michael crossing back into the Atlantic on Thursday and tracking up the Eastern Seaboard.
If you live in Southeast Alabama and southern Georgia, prepare for severe winds and heavy rains by securing up your home. Take refuge in an interior room and stay away from windows. While there have not been any evacuation orders at this time, comply with instructions issued by local officials.
You can follow the path of the hurricane on the National Weather Service or National Hurricane Center Twitter feeds while you still have power. Use a radio if the power goes out and avoid leaving your shelter until the storm has passed.
For those living in the Carolina’s should prepare for strong winds and rainfall. Many areas are still drying out from Hurricane Florence, so additional flooding is likely. Stay tuned to the National Weather Service for the latest storm predictions and alerts.
Here’s a quick info-graphic describing how to most effectively use the Potential Storm Surge Flooding Graphic.
It’s simplistic in that the water levels depicted describe the height above ground that water could reach at a given location. pic.twitter.com/vHB9DWLv3s
— NHC_Surge (@NHC_Surge) October 9, 2018
Resources for Tracking or Preparing for a Hurricane
National Weather Service
National Hurricane Center
National Hurricane Survival Initiative
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Ready.gov Hurricane Guide
National Safety Council Hurricane Preparedness Guide
How Hurricanes Cause Water Damage
There are three major ways that hurricanes cause water damage. Most obviously, there are the heavy rainfalls which can lead to flooding or even sewage backups. The storm surge as the hurricane makes landfall can also cause extensive flooding. Hurricane-force winds are also likely to damage the exterior of your property, allowing more places for water to enter your home or business.
How Much Does Hurricane Damage Restoration Cost
It’s difficult to predict the cost of hurricane damage restoration without seeing the extent of the damage first hand. Factors that influence the price include the extent of damage, how long the water sat, and whether there is mold. Our water damage restoration contractors offer a free assessment and a no-obligation estimate on all hurricane damage.
Will My Insurance Cover Damage from Hurricanes
Unfortunately, most homeowners and business insurance policies do not cover hurricane damage. This includes damage caused by winds, heavy rainfalls, storm surge flooding, sewage backups, and other damage related to the storm. Review your policy or contact your agent if you have questions.
Separate hurricane coverage may be available in your area, but it is likely too late to add hurricane coverage before Hurricane Michael makes landfall. Federal assistance may be available after severe storms.
What To Do If You Have Damage from Hurricane Michael
The experienced storm damage restoration technicians in the Restoration Local network are here to help if you have water damage, sewage, or mold after Hurricane Michael. As the largest network of restoration companies, we have listings for water damage contractors across Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and North and South Carolina. For immediate service, call 1-888-443-3110 now for a free, no-obligation estimate, 24-hour emergency service, and 30-minute response time.