Here are some tips to help you keep safe as the storm plows through the region over the next few days:

•Dr. Rick Knabb, writing for the Weather Channel, suggests keeping at least three days' worth of water per person (a gallon each per day) on hand. Seven days' worth is preferable.


•You should also be sure to have nonperishable food and a manual can opener on hand.

•Put together a first aid kit, keep extra toiletries on hand, and be sure to have a supply of prescription and non-prescription drugs at the ready. Stock up on diapers and formula, too, if necessary.

•Invest in battery-powered cell phone chargers and, of course, plenty of flash lights. A battery-powered radio will help you stay informed.

•Buy a lot of batteries.

•Have blankets and sleeping bags ready in case you need to evacuate.

•Get cash. ATMs won't work if the power is out.

•Check evacuation routes from your home, and have several options mapped out. Fill your gas tank early, as an electricity outage would prevent the pumps from working.

•You may also want to gather important documents — driver's licenses, social security cards and passports, among others — and place them in a sealed bag to keep them dry. Be sure to have contact information for your insurance company in case you need to file a claim.

You should also be sure to secure your home as best you can. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, recommends the following steps:

•Know your surroundings. If your land is prone to flooding, have a plan and consider leaving early.

•Cover windows with marine plywood at least 5/8" thick. Tape won't prevent windows from breaking.

•Be sure trees and shrubs near your property are well-trimmed, making them more wind resistant.

•Bring outdoor furniture, trash cans and decorations inside, or secure them so they are sheltered from the wind.

•Clear any clogged getters or drains.


During the hurricane, it is important to stay away from windows and to seek shelter in a small, interior room of the house.

Be cautious after the hurricane, as well. Flood waters may continue to rise due to a storm surge and continued rain.

If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs, text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area.

Drive only if necessary and do not pass through standing water. Stay alert for downed power lines and potentially dangerous debris.

When it is safe to return to your home, take pictures of any damage it sustained. Be aware of the possibility of gas leaks, as well.