June 1st marked the beginning of the 2020 hurricane season, and we’ve already had three named hurricanes! That seems in line with what the forecasters from Colorado State University predicted, as they proclaimed this would be another above-normal, active storm season.
“We anticipate that the 2020 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have above-normal activity,” the forecast said. In addition, there is an “above-average probability for major hurricanes making landfall along the continental United States.”
Arthur, Bertha and Cristobal had little impact on the United States, but who knows where, when, or how Hurricane Dolly will say “hello?”
In the event the Tampa Bay area becomes the target of a severe storm, here are 6 ways to prepare your car for hurricane season, because they could save your life and the lives of your family members.
Regular maintenance of your automobile is crucial to its longevity and safe operation. Follow your auto manufacturer’s recommendations for oil changes, especially during the summer months, and be sure to check the coolant, transmission, brakes and windshield washer fluid levels, too. Holiday Shell keeps all of these automotive fluids in stock, if you are DIY mechanically-inclined.
The tires are another consideration, especially if flash flooding becomes a concern. Of course, keeping the proper amount of air pressure is critical to even tire wear, but if your tires are aging, it may be a good idea to buy new ones with a thicker tread. In the summer heat, older tires can lose air from sitting on hot pavement or from worn tire walls.
Whether or not you need new tires, always make sure you keep them properly balanced and aligned for even wear and improved longevity.
Moreover, now’s a great time to check that you have a good spare tire, and it’s properly inflated and ready to go, in case you experience a flat. While you’re at it, make sure you have – and know how to operate – your car’s jack.
The battery, hoses, belts and air conditioning also deserve attention. If you’ve not checked the condition of these for awhile, schedule a time with a reputable mechanic to avoid unexpected breakdowns during an evacuation.
Gas usually becomes a hot commodity when a storm is approaching, so you can prevent waiting in long lines by always keeping your tank half-full or above, and by properly storing extra petro for your vehicle or gas-powered generator.
Approved containers are the only way to safely store gas outside of your home or in a garage or shed; and always keep away from children and sources of ignition.
Gas does have a shelf-life, and it does go bad. Wisebread suggests you “don’t store gas indefinitely…(but) periodically use what’s in the cans to fill your car, then refill the cans.”
Keep Insurance Current
The last thing you need is a lapse in insurance coverage when trouble strikes. Make sure you pay your premiums on time and have a current policy and the coverage you need for your vehicle. Make copies of your auto policy – or policies, if you have more than one vehicle – and keep in the car’s glove compartment. This can be very handy in case of an evacuation and in the event of an accident, so you can get a claim process started immediately.
In the event of an emergency evacuation, it’s important to keep your car stocked, like you would your home, in case you can’t physically get to your house for awhile.
You should always have a prepared emergency kit that includes first aid items and medications you or your family might need.
- Solar-powered lights
- Portable water filter or water purification tablets
- Powerful flashlight
- Extra batteries in a variety of sizes
- Power inverter
- Battery-powered fan
- Extra battery packs for mobile devices
- Ponchos for each family member
- Portable toys and games for children
- Extra oil and windshield washer fluid
- Jumper cables
Add Food, Cash and Clothes
It’s always a good idea to have extra bottled water and non-perishable food items that can sustain the intense Florida heat, like dried fruit, nuts, crackers, and jerky.
Store a suitcase or canvas duffle bag with at least one change of clothes and shoes for each member of the family. Include personal hygiene items, copies of identification and important phone numbers.
When the power goes out, ATM’s become useless, so always keep some cash stashed safely in your car, just in case. The Wisebread article indicates a minimum of $200/person, should be more than sufficient.
Seek Shelter for your Car
Whether you are riding out the tropical storm or hurricane at home or you’re headed inland, protect your vehicle in a covered garage, if possible. If you do not have access to a garage, try parking your car near your dwelling or shelter, but not under balconies or signs that are prone to fall in high winds. A building may serve to protect the automobile, but it may be a good idea to use a tarp to prevent damage to the car’s exterior from flying debris.
Holiday Shell is conveniently located at the corner of Sunray Dr and US Hwy 19, and serves as your one-stop shop in West Pasco County for air, gas, oil, windshield washer and other engine fluids, or a car wash and vacuum. In addition, we offer a wide selection of popular everyday items like fresh coffee, ice cold beverages, CBD oils and edibles, vaping products, household goods, office services and more, to help you stay prepared in the event of a tropical storm or hurricane.
Holiday Shell is open 24/7/365, and is available to provide basic automotive products and office services needed by US Hwy 19 commuters, North and South from Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson, Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, and all surrounding areas.