A lot of people moving into the Wilmington, NC area from out of state have questions about hurricane preparation here on the coast. This time of year really brings those questions to the forefront of people’s minds, since we are in the thick of hurricane season. We’re here to answer those questions and put your minds at ease about hurricane preparation.
I was born and raised in Wilmington, and I have never evacuated for a hurricane. If it snows here, or if there is even a threat of a flurry, we start to panic a bit. We are not prepared for winter storms at all, but we’ve got hurricane preparation down to an art.
Hurricanes have a way of bringing people together. You’ll get to know your neighbors better than you did before because everyone comes together, both before and after the storm. Before the storm hits, everyone gets out their hurricane preparation list and starts checking things off and sharing their plans and supplies with one another. Afterwards, we break out the chainsaws and chop up the downed trees and clean up the debris and get everything cleaned up together. It can be a valuable bonding experience.
If you’re in the process of buying a home and you’re under contract, the most important step you can take for hurricane preparation is making sure you get your insurance locked in. Before a hurricane is named, it is a tropical storm. If a tropical storm is projected to hit our area, and you’re under contract on a home, that is when you need to make sure that you’ve gotten your insurance policy set in stone. Once a tropical storm gains enough strength to become a named hurricane and it is projected to hit anywhere within a 100 mile radius of the home you’re under contract on, you will not be able to obtain a policy. That could delay closing, so that is definitely something that you want to have taken care of before you do anything else.
Having grown up here, I can’t remember exactly how many storms have come through over the years, but I would say maybe 5 or 6 have been truly memorable. I think that’s partially because our mindset toward hurricanes is relatively calm, especially compared to how we handle winter weather. Hurricane preparation is second nature to us, so it's much more daunting for most of us on the NC coast to prepare for snow and ice. Usually a hurricane will only set us back a few days at most, unlike several years back when we had an ice storm that literally set the entire area back 3 weeks to a month.
Some other things to consider when it comes to hurricane preparation are what you need to have on hand for the actual storm. People generally think of non-perishables in case the electricity goes out. Peanut butter and canned goods are good to stock up on at the beginning of the season. Bottled water is essential too. One thing I’ve learned is that if the power does go out, the water supply is likely to be contaminated for a couple of weeks so you will definitely be thankful for that bottled water. A couple of other things that I’ve learned to get before a storm are cash and gas. Fill up your tanks and get enough cash to keep you afloat in the event that electricity is out for several days. Credit card machines and ATMs will not work without power so you’ll want to have a form of currency that is usable.
Flashlights, batteries and candles are certainly items at the top of the hurricane preparation checklist, in case you wind up without electricity. A lot of people invest in generators too. You can get a whole house generator that costs between $3K - $5K. That will keep your household nice and comfortable as they keep your AC and your refrigerator running. You can also buy a portable generator that will keep a few things running like a window AC unit and fans, and at the very least you can keep your phone charged. The portable generators are roughly $600 - $1300, but the pro tip for those is to get one at the beginning of hurricane season so you’re not scrambling to find one once a storm gets named and everyone else in town is trying to find one too. Lowe’s and Home Depot can’t keep them on the shelves once a storm gets mentioned on the news.
If you’re from an area that rarely experiences these types of storms, don’t let that deter you from moving to our beautiful area! For the most part, tropical storms and hurricanes aren’t that big of a threat. Having a Hurricane Preparation Checklist that you keep up with is a good way to stay on top of things, so when a storm does roll through you can relax and start planning a party with the neighbors.
For More Information on Hurricane Preparation and How that Affects Buying A Home In Wilmington Contact Jennifer Bullock or Trevor Urban (910) 622-6267