Inclement weather like severe storms, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and bitter cold temperatures may not give you much warning. That’s why taking steps now to prepare for them will help you and your home survive whatever event strikes in the future.

Fallen Tree on House

Preparing Your Family

Take care of your family first, and then deal with readying your home. Before you experience extreme bad weather or a disaster, you should do certain things to make sure your family remains safe during the event. Consider people’s lives first before your home or any of your possessions. Formulate a communications plan. Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes, so you need to have a way to find out everyone’s whereabouts.

Then, pack an emergency kit with:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Change of clothing
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Eating utensils
  • First-aid kit
  • Essential medicines

Preparing Your Home

Different regions of the United States are prone to various types of horrific weather and the preparation for each varies. has broken it down for you according to types of severe weather events commonly experienced.


Floods can develop gradually and give you time to get ready for them, or they can be flash floods that mature in a matter of minutes with virtually no warning. Even though you haven’t experienced a flood yet, if your home is in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam, chances are you will. You’re always better off when you’re prepared.

  1. Buy flood insurance if you’re in a flood-prone area.
  2. Take an inventory of your possessions and keep it off site, like in a safety deposit box, in case you need to replace any water-damaged items. Keep a copy of your insurance policy and other critical documents with your inventory. (You should do this anyway, whether or not your land is prone to flooding.)
  3. Clean out your gutters and downspouts.
  4. Elevate your water heater, furnace, washer and dryer on cement blocks 12 inches or more above the expected flood elevation.
  5. Consider installing “check valves” that prevent water from backing up into your drains.

Storm Flood House

Hurricanes and Tornadoes

Hurricanes and tornadoes differ, but they both spawn extreme winds. A hurricane comes from a weather system that generates heat that powers the storm and causes the velocity of the wind to increase. Tornadoes create a funnel of spiraling air from the clouds to the earth.

  1. Make sure your insurance coverage is current.
  2. Find out what your community’s warning system is.
  3. Install hurricane shutters or have plywood boards at-the-ready that can be anchored to each window.
  4. Place head and foot bolts on your doors.
  5. Buy hurricane straps or clips to help hold the roof to the walls of your house.
  6. Think about having your “safe room” reinforced.
  7. Fasten lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants and anything that can be picked up by the wind.
  8. Remove diseased or dead limbs from trees.

Tornado Over House

Winter Storms

Radical climate conditions usually appear in winter. These winter storms can bring heavy snow, freezing rain and high winds, which all have the power to totally disrupt our daily movements. The power outages they cause can be substantial and lengthy.

  1. Designate a safe room for your family.
  2. Fix any broken fence posts or panels.
  3. Trim loose tree limbs and discard them.
  4. Install surge protectors for specialized electronics because a lightning strike can demolish them.
  5. Keep a stash of flashlights, fresh batteries and a battery-operated or crank-style radio at the ready.
  6. Buy rock salt or cat litter to melt ice on walkways and driveways.
  7. Purchase a snow shovel if you don’t already have one.
  8. Wrap pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic. Let faucets run during very cold weather so your pipes won’t freeze.

Winter Storm House


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About the Author: is a full-service home remodeling and construction general contractor serving the greater Seattle, Denver, Phoenix, San Francisco, and San Jose area. Home improvement is hard, and we make it easier for you every step of the way. That starts by understanding your goals, whether it’s making a space more livable, expanding your home, repairing damage, adding room for relatives, or something completely different. We’ll work with you to ensure you’re happy with the project from start to finish.