How to Prepare for Natural Disaster Season Where You Live

How to Prepare For Natural Disaster Season Where You Live
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

While millions of acres of US land are destroyed by wildfires every year, there are plenty of other natural disasters happening that homeowners need to prepare for.

Remember that some of these disasters’ “seasons” are changing due to the changing severity of the climate crisis. The traditional wildfire season used to last from May to October, but in recent years, devastating fires have broken out late in the year and even before the “official” season has started.

Use the information in this article as a general guide so you can prepare where you live and be prepared if you travel to another area of the US during a natural disaster season.

Common natural disasters

Let’s examine the most common natural disasters in the US, their typical seasons, and the locations where they happen. 

Note that, while these occurrences can occur at any time of the year, they tend to be more frequent during a particular season. 


According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, hurricanes, also known as tropical cyclones, have slightly different seasons in the US depending on the region. 

The Atlantic coast’s hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. The hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific lasts a little longer, beginning on May 15 and lasting through November. 


According to, flooding is the most common natural disaster in the US and it can occur anywhere in the nation. 

Similar to how there is no specific time of year that floods occur, rain and snow events can cause a sudden overflow of water at any time. 

According to the Insurance Information Institute, flooding is one of the most frequent reasons for property damage, and the majority of homeowner insurance claims are for water damage. 

Flooding can be disastrous, whether it’s the result of a severe storm or damaged piping in your home. So it’s best to stay on top of weather alerts and be prepared to take action right away in the event flooding is forecast for your area.

The Southeast and Midwest regions of the US are where tornadoes are most likely to strike. Although there is no specific season for tornadoes, the majority occur in the spring and summer, with May being the tornado-busiest month.


Wildfires primarily affect the western US, where the risk is higher due to the drought. However, there have already been wildfires this year in places like Arkansas and New Hampshire. 

Over 600,000 acres have been lost to wildfires in New Mexico this year, making it a particularly hard-hit state. Wildfires typically occur between May and October, but in recent years, more have occurred earlier and later in the season.

If you live in a fire-prone location, eliminate any fuel (a/k/a shrubs, overhanging tree branches, firewood, etc.) from around your home and any external structures to improve your odds of returning to a home that’s still intact.

Make sure that your address can be clearly seen by fire crews so they can find your home when visibility in the area is poor.


The western US is currently experiencing drought in large portions. Many of those areas are classified as “severe,” “extreme,” or “exceptional” by the US Drought Monitor. 

According to a UCLA study, the drought conditions in the southwest US are the worst they have been in more than 1,200 years. Lake Powell in Arizona and Utah can clearly be seen to have less water in it over time on satellite images.


According to the US Geological Survey, earthquakes can occur at any time of the year, with the “Ring of Fire” region being the primary location for most of them. 

This region encompasses the entire West Coast all the way to Alaska and goes far beyond the US. Alaska and California experience the majority of US earthquakes.


The Southeast and Midwest regions of the US are where tornadoes are most likely to strike. Although there is no specific season for tornadoes, the majority occur in the spring and summer, with May being the tornado-busiest month.

Following are four things you can do to help your family – and hopefully, your home – survive these natural disasters.

1. Create an emergency plan

Making an emergency plan for your family, including an evacuation route, is one of the most crucial aspects of being ready for the natural disaster season in your region.

For example, if your area is impacted by hurricanes, work out ahead of time how your family will communicate and how you’ll get emergency alerts. Know your shelter-in-place location as well as, if necessary, your escape route.

Any special precautions required to look after kids, pets, or family members with mobility issues should also be included in your plan. Plan ahead for any household members who need specialized medication or medical supplies.

Make sure that everyone in the family, including the kids, is familiar with the plan before hurricane season begins.

2. Secure your home

Take precautions to protect your home. 

For example, if strong winds will be an issue, whether that’s from possible tornadoes or hurricanes, you can try to minimize damage as much as possible by:

  • ⬥ Pruning weak branches from the trees and shrubs around your home.
  • ⬥ Investing in hurricane-resistant doors.
  • ⬥ Installing window storm shutters.
  • ⬥ Using tempered glass in place of the exterior glass. 
  • ⬥ Planning ahead for patio furniture, indoor plants, and toys.

3. Prepare an emergency kit

Rushing to gather everything you might need for the next few days is the last thing you want to do. Instead, keep a backup emergency kit or go bag with you at all times. 

Your emergency supply kit could contain: 

  • ⬥ Non-perishable food
  • ⬥ Bottled water
  • ⬥ Portable radio
  • ⬥ Flashlights
  • ⬥ Extra batteries 
  • ⬥ First-aid kit
  • ⬥ Medications
  • ⬥ Dog food
  • ⬥ Cash
  • ⬥ Blankets
  • ⬥ Phone and charger
  • ⬥ Important phone numbers
  • ⬥ Hygiene supplies (e.g. soap, toothbrush, etc.)

4. Check your insurance policies

Every year, it’s a good idea to review your insurance coverage to ensure that you have enough coverage in case of an accident. 

Make sure that your current insurance will pay for the cost of rebuilding your house and replacing all of your personal belongings in the event of a loss. 

Note that, in addition to the standard coverages, your policy should have additional coverage for natural disasters that occur in your area. For example, flood and windstorm insurance are required specifically for hurricanes. 

Finally, understand your deductible and make sure you have enough money in savings to cover it in the event of a loss. There’s nothing worse than thinking you have coverage only to find out that it falls short of your needs.

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