Simple Rules for Living Through a Hurricane

It seems as if there has been a significant increase in the strength and frequency of hurricanes over the last decade. These storms have made landfall all over the Gulf States, the Caribbean and almost the entire length of the East Coast. Newscasts after these storms hit have been full of homes damaged by Hurricane Florence, Katrina and Harvey to name a few. This is because there has been an increase in the loss of life, flood damages and loss of property.

While the media has done a great job of explaining how to be best prepared for a named storm they haven’t been as diligent in letting people know what to do once a hurricane has made landfall. The following are some of the most important things to do after making it through a named storm.

Before a Storm Hits
Fortunately, hurricanes are usually so slow-moving that there is ample time to prepare before one makes landfall. Stocking up on water, canned foods, medications and gas are important because they can be difficult to obtain if the power is out for a few days.

It is also important to make sure that you have any paperwork relating to your home, insurance policies and any other important legal issues stored somewhere safe that is close at hand. If any damage occurs then a homeowner will need this paperwork to help speed up the rebuilding process.

What to do During a Hurricane
Once the hurricane makes landfall there will be flooding, wind damage and downed power lines. All of these can cause deaths on top of all the property that will be destroyed. While the storm is passing overhead the safest thing to do is stay inside to avoid any debris that could be blown about by the wind.

Because the speed in which a hurricane moves can vary greatly it could take as little as a few hours for the entire storm to pass by like in the case of Hurricane Charley while slower moving storms like Hurricane Maria that are quite large may take a few days to completely pass by.

After the Storm Has Passed
Once the storm has passed and the rain has slowed, the first thing a homeowner should do is assess any damages and make sure there aren’t any medical emergencies to deal with. If the home had to be evacuated and there was any flooding, then it is imperative to have a specialist come out and look for any structural damage.

They should also check to see if any water that got into the home has caused any mold to form. Standing water combined with hot humid temperatures are a perfect recipe for mold to begin to grow and it can lead to serious respiratory issues.

If a home is damaged to where it isn’t possible to reside there then the best options are trying to find a hotel if possible or to go to a shelter that will have been set up. When the worst storms strike, FEMA will become involved and they can offer vouchers to help offset the cost of hotels and sometimes they can put families up in portable trailers until they can go home.

Dealing with Financial Obligations
There can also be issues with keeping up with making mortgage payments if going back to work is an issue. If payments aren’t possible to be made, then homeowners can apply for a forbearance from their mortgage servicer. This is an agreement that allows a homeowner to not pay the mortgage for a set length of time and then it can be extended for the same amount of time. While interest will accrue while the payments aren’t being made there won’t be any late fees and the credit bureaus will not be notified.

Other options that are available include applying for a loan from the Small Business Administration to cover repairs and replacing some of the personal property that was lost, getting in touch with the Federal Housing Authority to see about getting a loan to replace the home. FEMA also has grants available that can make up the difference between any loans received and whatever a homeowner’s insurance policy may pay.

Hurricanes present a challenging experience for everyone. By following some simple guidelines, homeowners will be able to be repair their home and minimize flood damage while keeping on top of mortgage payments. Following these basic rules can help a homeowner turn a tragedy into a manageable crisis.