Some Common Sense Hurricane Advice For Those In Irma’s Weakening Path

By on September 11, 2017 in Blog Posts | RTX Traveler Magazine

As we track hurricane Irma from our office here in Asheville, we’ve paid a lot of attention to the Caribbean and Florida, which suffered devastation from the powerful storm. Thankfully, it appears that our resorts on the Carolina coast will be largely unscathed.

Irma will be puffing its way up through Georgia today and will be passing through west Tennessee in her last gasp late tonight, ending up as a low pressure area. Where our office is located, we’re forecast to get a modest two to four inches of rainfall, with winds gusting to a brisk 50 mph. The storm will be nowhere near as powerful as it was days ago, but that’s no reason to ignore the danger.

For our RTX members who live in this region, and for travelers who have come here to seek shelter from the storm, we’ve found useful information we’d like to share from Rick Bayless, a national award-winning environmental home healthiness expert and CEO of a Healthier Home. He says there are a number of things to consider when lots of rain falls down in a short amount of time:

Flooding isn’t to be ignored: if you reside in a hundred year flood zone, monitor and follow evacuation orders during Irma’s upcoming visit.

Landslides and Mudslides

If you reside in an area which has a history of landslide activity, particularly if there’s a 12% or greater slope or gradient, consider sheltering elsewhere until your safety is established.

Ground Saturation and Runoff
The rest of us will have to deal with ground saturation and run-off.

  • If you know you’ve got a problem with runoff during a heavy thunderstorm, your home’s water ecology needs tending. You’ll want to check out my recent blog post on this topic.
  • This weekend, make certain your home’s guttering is clear, and that rain barrels are dumping away from the foundation of your home. This reduces the likelihood of basement flooding or dampening crawl spaces.

Damaging Winds
Gusting winds of 40-50 miles per hour are likely while Irma is around, with higher gusts at higher elevations. The beautiful weather we’re experiencing this weekend is the perfect time to batten down the hatches.

  • Secure trash cans, lawn furniture, and other outdoor items so they don’t blow around, creating a mess at best and hazards at worst.

Indoor Preparedness
Last but not least, you’ll want to take a few precautions indoors.

  • Gather important documents, including birth certificates, passports, and insurance documents, into a waterproof container and place them in a handy location.  (We always have a suitcase packed with important family pictures, too.)
  • Stock up on water and non-perishable food. (After Frances, the city of Asheville was out of water for days.)
  • Pack a “go” bag with a change of clothes, wet wipes, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and personal hygiene products.
  • Add a first aid kit, flashlight and batteries, a manually powered weather radio, a stand-alone phone charger, and any medicines you take.

After the Storm
When Irma has passed over by mid next week, you’ll want to take a good look around your home.

-Check the roof, siding, and structural features for wind damage.

-Remove debris from your yard and garden, and clear guttering if clogged with leaves. Chances are the storm will downgrade before it arrives and there won’t be a lot of clean up.

-But if there are measurable damages, take photos and reach out to your insurance carrier.

No one likes dealing with extreme weather, but hopefully by following these preparation tips, your home will be unaffected.

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. In his spare time he enjoys photography, astronomy, hiking, hanging out with his family and dog, and of course, traveling! His favorite RTX spots to visit are Orange Beach, Alabama, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, but he's visiting new places all the time. .

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