With the destruction that Hurricane Harvey, and now Irma, have brought to our neighbors to the south, it’s obvious that we are often powerless to stop the extreme forces of nature.
Thankfully, these storms are the exception, not the norm, and most us will never experience a catastrophic weather event of this magnitude in our lifetime. While Marylanders have certainly felt the effects of hurricanes, no storm has ever made landfall in Maryland at hurricane intensity.
With Hurricane Irma (the most powerful Atlantic storm ever recorded) on the move, we could see massive amounts of rain (flooding) and extreme wind gusts (tornadoes) throughout the state. Officials are warning residents to prepare for the worst. Here are a few tips from the experts on what to expect and how to prepare for Hurricane Irma:
Thunder and Lightning
Thunderstorms are a common occurrence in the state, and they bring deadly lightning along with them, one of the top three storm-related killers in the U.S. Stay inside, secure windows and doors, and unplug any electronic equipment BEFORE the storm arrives. Avoid contact with electrical equipment and cords. Power surges from a lightning strike can cause severe damage and can be fatal. Avoid contact with plumbing and anything made of metal, as they can conduct electricity. If someone in your family needs electronic medical equipment, make sure you have an alternative power supply before the storm hits. Pro Tip: leave one light on so you’ll know when power has been restored, then gradually reconnect your electrical appliances to avoid overloading circuits.
Heavy Rains and Flooding
Did you know that flash flooding is responsible for more fatalities (140+/year) than any other thunderstorm-associated hazard? In addition to drowning, floodwaters can hide downed power lines and other submerged electrical equipment. Stay out of the water! In cases of flooding, be sure to turn off the electricity to your home by throwing the main/master switch. If there is no switch, turn all breakers to the OFF position or carefully unscrew each fuse.
Strong Wind Gusts and Tornadoes
Be sure to maintain your trees; keep them trimmed and away from power lines to minimize damage. Stay away from any downed power lines and report them immediately to your utility company. Always assume a downed line is energized or “hot” and move away to safety!
We at Milton Electric hope that the storm passes with minimal damage. Please stay safe.