When Hurricanes Go Inland

· Reading Time: 4 minutes

Map Inland Hurricanes

Take a look at this map from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It shows how often U.S. counties have experienced a hurricane or tropical storm. Colored areas represent hurricane impacts. Notice how far inland the map goes: counties in Utah and Nebraska have experienced the remnants of tropical storms and hurricanes.

Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was a great example of the broad reach of a hurricane. It affected 24 states – half the continental U.S. It was the second-most devastating hurricane in U.S. history, killing 157 people and causing $71.4 billion in damage.

Even if you live inland, it’s useful to find out if you might be susceptible to a hurricane’s reach.

Your risk from hurricanes is based on where you live, the structure of your home, and your personal circumstances,” said FEMA’s How to Prepare for a Hurricane.

Flooding is the greatest problem when hurricanes head inland.

To prepare, check your flood risk with FEMA’s flood mapping tool. Buy flood insurance in addition to regular insurance. Regular insurance will usually cover water damage from precipitation and wind. It won’t usually cover flooding. Buy it early. Flood insurance doesn’t take effect until 30 days after its purchase.

If you live in an area that can be flooded, have an evacuation plan with a place to go and alternate routes to get there. Make sure animals are provided for. Many shelters won’t take pets. FEMA recommends you plan to evacuate the “5 P’s”: People (and pets), Prescriptions, Papers, Personal items and Priceless items.

Hurricanes can create snowstorms. Hurricane Sandy combined with polar air to dump at least a foot of snow in more than half of West Virginia’s counties. The heavy snow collapsed buildings and toppled trees.

tropical storm - Inland Hurricanes

Hurricanes can create thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes thousands of miles from landfall. Hurricane Patricia, the largest tropical cyclone in the western hemisphere, hit western Mexico in October 2015. Although it dissipated quickly, storm remnants crossed Mexico and whacked Texas. Houston got 9.4 inches of rain in 24 hours, and a tornado touched down near the city.

Hurricanes can bring wind far inland. Wind gusts from Hurricane Sandy measured 60-70 miles per hour around the Great Lakes. Flying debris hit killed a Toronto, Canada woman.

It’s possible to prepare a home for all these weather events. Clean gutters and drains and waterproof a basement. Prepare for wind by removing diseased and damaged tree limbs.

When hurricane remnants are in the forecast, store or tie down outdoor furniture, decorations, trash cans and anything else that wind can turn into a projectile. Also, close curtains or blinds. If windows do get broken, this will prevent shattered glass from scattering in the home.

Finally, be prepared for power outages. Hurricane Sandy left more than 9 million utility customers without power. Two weeks later, more than 6 million in 15 states and the District of Columbia were still without electricity.

“Depending on the strength of the hurricane and its impact on your community, you could be in your home with no power or other basic services for several weeks,” FEMA wrote.

Ready.gov suggests ways to prepare for power outages.

Have a fully stocked emergency kit including food and water, a flashlight, batteries, cash in small bills and first aid supplies. Keep a cell phone and other battery-powered devices charged and have an alternative charging method. Those who use a power-dependent or battery-operated medical device should have a backup power plan and tell their local utility so it can prioritize their home.

Keep the car’s gas tank full and know how to manually release an electric garage door opener. A vehicle can be a power source, but not in an enclosed space.

Before a major storm, buy dry ice. Fifty pounds will keep a fully stocked fridge cold for two days. Without it, an unopened fridge will keep food cold for only about four hours.

Finally, prepare for price increases. Hurricane Ike, the third-most costly storm in U.S. history, brought an “Ike Spike” in gas prices all the way into Canada.

In July 2015, former Hurricane Dolores caused record rainfall and flooding in southern California and Arizona. Yet the closest the center of the storm got to California was 300 miles west of Baja. At the time, it too weak to even be considered a tropical storm. What was left of Dolores caused flash flood watches in Nevada and farther inland.

It just goes to show that coastal areas aren’t the only places that should prepare for hurricanes.


Hurricane_prep_03 - Inland Hurricanes

49 Responses

  • We have batteries stocked up, I have totes with flashlights and lanterns, a “portable” kitchen, hardware (with saws & gloves and other items for tree cutting and tarps) and food and water. We are ready for whatever Mother Nature might throw at us!! I hope!

  • Although I don’t live in a hurricane area now, I once lived in Florida. I worked at a convenience store/gas station during one hurricane evacuation. What I learned most from the experience of helping so many people who were trying to get out of Florida was, make sure that you have plenty of cash! Small bills if possible. The credit card line were jammed and our machine was taking so long to run a card that we eventually had to [put up a Cash Only sign.

  • I haven’t been in a hurricane since 1964, when my family lived in Florida. But I can remember watching my parents prepare for it. My Dad bought dry ice, and made other preparations. My Mom filled the bathtub with water, and also did other things to prepare.
    Having those memories along with the extreme weather in the other parts of the country that I have lived in has taught me the importance of preparing.
    We try to have a little bit of extra food and water put away. As well as several alternative forms of lighting; such as flashlights, candles, and solar lights.

  • I live alone in a mobile home and stayed there for Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. After Hurricane Irene, we were without power for nearly two weeks. The weather was warm and I had a way to heat up food and make hot water for coffee, so it wasn’t too bad. Entertained myself by reading (had solar lights and plenty of candles). But after Sandy we were without power for three weeks and it was cold and the furnace didn’t work without electricity. So after a couple of days my son came and picked me up. Power was restored much earlier where he lives. In the future, if extreme weather is forecast I will probably go visit my son. It’s better to help each other through an emergency than to attempt it alone.

  • used to live in a hurricane area. Lots of oil lamps, coolers for the food, charcoal grill to cook on, jugs of water and buckets for flushing.

  • In the past it has always been ice storms because of where we live, and its making sure there is enough non disposable food, stuff for the pets, ice scrapers, salt for the walkway, blankets, candles and flashlights. we are moving to florida though, so i guess its time to think about hurricanes

  • We are constantly keeping an eye out and preparing since we are in prime hurricane region (Houston, TX). We keep gas cans and car tanks full during hurricane season. We have flood insurance, did, water, batteries, flashlights, a generator, a window ac unit, etc. All ready to go, if needed.

  • We don’t get hurricanes but we do have extra food, supplies, and a natural gas generator. Only thing I’m worried about is damage to the gas lines, and lack of water. I know how to filter and clean water but it won’t be super easy to get. I need to store more…

  • I guess I can’t relate to not being ready for what’s real. Though preparing for the unknown is certainly important, vital and mandatory for me….I can’t understand why “everybody” doesn’t see the need to have the what-ifs…. Nobody on this planet is immune from the unexpected. We always have enough of everything (from TP to food to cars filled at least half way to extra gasoline for a generator to stored water). That’s not meant to be a superior statement….it’s just pure logic to me. We DO get hurricanes in our region….and some nasty ones here and there (Virginia).

  • Power outages are my biggest concerns where I live. We are prepared to be without power indefinitely if need be. We do what we call Weekends Without, we pick a modern convenience and live without it for the weekend.

  • We have precut boards for the windows and doors on hand. If even a tropical storm pops up on the radar we make sure the yard is clear of loose objects and things are put up or tied down. All the basics are stocked up on at the beginning of hurricane season… batteries,water, medicines, toilet paper etc… After Hurrican Hugo we were without water for almost 3 weeks so water is a priority with us. Also lighting and defense. After Hugo ,power was out for close to a month in my area and there were a lot of ne’er-do-wells roaming at night. Only had cheap flashlight and a small pistol back then and it was not a very good feeling at all.

  • I am in Southern California, not a hurricane zone.

    We have wildfires, and earthquakes.

    I prepare by having a set of clothes and shoes next to my bed, a firearm with plenty of ammo, a backup supply of food and water, first aid kit including more in depth medical treatments and care, small bills. I keep my vehicle fueled up. My family has a plan to meet up. And have taken many others steps to be prepared.

  • Living in southwest oklahoma, we aren’t really in hurricane territory. we get the occasional rain from remnants. we do however live in the heart of tornado alley. we prepare by having our go bags ready with water, food, flashlights, radio, batteries, blankets, back-ups of important documents and some cash.

  • When we had a big flood in Colorado in 2013 the water pump station went out. I was glad that we had Emergency Essentials mylar water storage containers to meet our water needs!

  • When I was a kid, we lived on the Gulf Coast. One thing I remember my folks doing when a hurricane was approaching was to fill the bathtub with water. They also filled all our drink pitchers and big stock pots. This was in case the water supply was contaminated during flooding, I believe. One time the hurricane was headed too close to our area, so we left town and went to stay with friends, and good thing, too. Our house was flooded and destroyed by the hurricane. If you’re in the path of a hurricane, please listen to the officials. Don’t try to ride it out if they suggest you leave.

  • I’m not really in the path but we still have to worry about power outages from the strong winds from hurricanes. We usually prep by having plenty of batteries for the flashlights, phones charged, and food on hand that doesn’t have to be cooked.

  • Lots of duct tape for the windows and lashing things down. If it’s something the wind can pick up, it needs to be put up.However much water you think you need, double it.Invest in a solar powered light, you won’t regret it.

    Did have one hurricane though where there was a small plastic planter in the from yard. 2 oak tress went over but that little planter didn’t move a single inch. maybe it was the holes in the bottom redirecting to air or something but it was pretty funny seeing it there the next day.

  • I think we all need to be prepared for any act of Mother Nature. But also know that sometimes you can’t do enough preparing for what happens so knowledge of how to survive is probably the most important thing to do.

  • I’m in IL so not many hurricanes here. We just stay prepared by making sure we have lots of supplies packed and ready in our basement and closets. This can be first aid, blankets, food, batteries, flashlights, candles, matches, food, water, radio/hamm, and all sorts of other things I can’t think of right now. It’s maybe not the nest prepared of anyone, but I feel if there was an emergency, we at least wouldn’t be the worst prepared….lol

  • I live in one of Texas’ evacuation hubs. we get thousands of Gulf Coast evacuees every time there’s a hurricane. We stock up on food, water and batteries, and make sure everything at the house is battened down as best as it can be.

  • Obviously, disaster preparations are very dependent on the area in which you live. As with everything else in life, it just takes money 🙂 However, you can be smart and be 90% further along than your neighbors, even with absolute bare essentials.

  • We have scans of all our important documents and pictures. etc…… on usbs and we keep one section of the attic packed with special personal things should we ever have to evacuate for any reason. We keep the extra usual suspects around during hurricane season from batteries to water jugs to hurricane tape. A few years ago we picked up a couple of camping toilets. When there is a storm brewing out there we get extra gas for the generator as we don’t like having to much just sitting around [ wife’s family had a bad house fire when she was little and she just doesn’t like flammable things around unless there’s a immediate reason. ]

  • I make sure the weather radio is up and working right and see if the evacuation routes have changed since the previous year. Double check all supplies, candles, batteries, tools and replace any that have been used since last season. Also check the trees for any dead or weakened limbs that need to come down .

  • We plan for this just as we do for any disaster. We’re we live we just have to worry about bad storms during hurricane season. So floods, falling trees stuff like that. We have a solar energy generator for if the power goes out. Easy foods to make, water, flash lights all that good stuff.

  • I live in inland North Carolina, and we get wind and rain from hurricanes, leading to power outages and other related problems. The main thing we do to prepare is make sure we have lots of food and water stored in a cabinet, with a first aid kit and other supplies.

  • Basic preps are the same as anyones, food, water, etc. I’m not in a hurricane zone, but try to keep as much on hand as possible, including medical supplies, weapons/ammo, personal hygiene . I try to prep for anything that may happen, not a specific event.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *