Get Ahead of the 2024 Hurricane Season

Batten down the hatches: an explosive 2024 hurricane season looms. “As the climate changes, hurricane risks in Canada continue to increase,” says John Stoker, President, Paul Davis Restoration Central Nova Scotia, NS. “People in eastern Canada found out that the hazards were real when Hurricane Lee struck last September. This year is particularly worrisome because the Atlantic Ocean is very warm and the La Niña weather pattern – which supercharges storms - may develop.”

To prepare for the stormy forecast, Stoker advises, focus on 15 property action items (each bolded below) across four areas: location, exterior, interior and partnerships. 

Location: Assess your risk. If your property is toward the Atlantic coast, it may be impacted. You could be at risk of high winds, torrential rains and, on the coast itself, even storm surges. Your preparation steps will be much more involved than those inland. Sign up for local alerts and warnings for your area. 

Property Exterior: Clean eavestrough and downspouts. Blockages in eavestroughs, downspouts and underground drain pipes will quickly back up and cause water to cascade down the side of your home or pond on your roof. Clear street storm drains of debris. It’s a good idea – and a neighbourly gesture - to remove debris blocking stormwater drains in the streets around your house. Clean ground-level window wells. Most window wells have a drain for accumulated water; leaves and debris can cause water to instead accumulate and press against a basement window. Facilitate natural drainage through your property. Clear blockages that will cause excessive pooling and ponding that might flood your home. Contour landscaping to drain away from structures.

Property Interior: Test your sump pump to ensure it operates correctly and funnels water away so that it does not flow back into the basement. Consider emergency battery backup in case of electricity failure. Relocate valuable possessions to safe areas. Think twice about storing important items in the basement. Get paperwork in order: locate insurance policies, deeds, titles and the like. Document possessions by recording a narrated walk-through of your property and its contents. This record will be very handy to prove ownership if storms decimate your belongings. Finally, prepare an evacuation and emergency plan, then share it with family and other stakeholders.

Partnerships: Contact your insurance carrier to review coverage in case of storm damage. Create and post contact information that may be needed in an emergency: local emergency response organizations, medical contacts, local government, family members, neighbours and the like. Choose a restoration partner in case your property sustains damage. Municipalities and insurance companies often compile lists of reputable mitigation/restoration firms.

“Finally, if a hurricane threatens, obey evacuation orders and don’t ride out a major storm at home,” Stoker says. “Last year, Halifax appeared in more hurricane forecasts than Miami did! Take advice from Floridians: evacuate promptly if officials ask you to do so.”