Living and working in Southeastern North Carolina, there is a good chance you’ve already experienced impacts from a hurricane. Hurricanes can cause damage and very often cause grid outages. National Hurricane Preparedness week is May 1st through 7th—so the time to prepare is now.
Hurricanes have wind speeds of 74 mph and greater. Typically, the upper right quadrant of the storm (the center of the storm, known as the “eye”) is the most intense portion of the storm. The greatest threats Hurricanes bring are damaging winds, storm surge and flooding.
When should I evacuate for a hurricane?
If an official government source advises you to evacuate, there's a serious threat to public safety. Although a mandatory evacuation can be ordered for any storm, it is most often a category 4 hurricane or greater. If you are planning to stay in place or unable to evacuate, be sure to prepare in advance for the best possible outcome.
Here’s a quick list of recommended essential items to have on hand during hurricane season:
What can you do to prepare your home or business for a hurricane?
- Non-perishable food (enough to last at least 3 days)
- Water (enough to last at least 3 days)
- First-aid kit (including prescription medications)
- Personal hygiene items
- Cash and important documents in a waterproof container
- Manual can opener
- Lighter or matches
- Entertainment such as books and games
- Pet supplies and baby supplies (if applicable)
- Cooler and ice packs (unless you have a backup power source for your refrigerator)
- Flashlights (have extra batteries on hand)
- Battery operated radio (again, have extra batteries on hand)
- A full tank of gasoline in your car (unless you have an electric vehicle)
- A plan for evacuation and meetup locations if family members are separated
While not every storm will cause devastating damage, there are a few things you can do to protect your property.
How to prepare for power outages:
- Ensure your homeowners insurance is up-to-date and includes appropriate coverage
- If high winds are expected, board up windows
- Trim trees, remove yard debris, and secure loose outdoor items such as furniture
- Move vehicles to safe locations (garage or area away from trees and flood zones)
- Keep doors deadbolted and locked during high winds (so they do not fly open)
- For waterfront homes and businesses, sand bagging is recommended
- Consider a backup power source for the essentials or your whole home or business
If you don’t have a backup power source and a storm leaves you without power, there are a few things to consider to help you be ready and stay safe outside of your normal hurricane preparedness.
- Keep your cell phone charged and limit use
- Limit the use of battery-operated fans to rooms you are presently in. Fans do not regulate the temperature in a room but do offer a cooling effect when sitting in front of one
- Fill a bathtub and/or large containers with water to use for washing and flushing
- Freeze any food or drinking water that can be frozen in advance of expected power outages. Here’s a helpful resource for food safety during a power outage: https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/food-safety-during-power-outage
- Read the CDC guide on how to stay safe during a power outage
If you have solar paired with a battery, some of this may not apply to you. If you have solar paired with a whole home battery backup system, you may not even notice the power has gone out. If you have a partial home battery backup, it will power the essential items you’ve selected (such as a refrigerator, a fan, lights, and a few outlets). Solar paired with an energy storage system does not require any maintenance—so the power supply transition is seamless. If you have a whole home generator, regular maintenance is required to ensure it starts up properly. Additionally, you’ll want to have plenty of fuel on hand (enough for 3 days). Smaller generators will need to be setup outdoors and will only power a small number of items (depending on the generators power output).
Why is solar paired with a battery backup the best solution for power outages?
Coastal living is awesome, except during a hurricane. However, with solar paired with battery backup, you don’t have to worry about extended power outages.
- Solar panels installed by Cape Fear Solar Systems are engineered to withstand wind speeds of 154 mph, that’s a category 4 hurricane
- Cape Fear Solar Systems has been installing solar locally for 15 years and has never had a panel damaged by wind. We’ve had less than a handful of customers with trees falling directly onto their homes—where the panels acted as a shield to the roof (homeowners insurance covered the roof and panels)
- Battery backup systems seamlessly turn on when power from the grid is interrupted and recharge using solar panels powered by the sun
- There is no maintenance for solar panels
- No worry about fuel or long lines trying to obtain fuel—even on cloudy days, energy is still being produced by solar panels (just not as optimally)
- Electric vehicle owners can charge their cars using the sun
- If you do evacuate, you’ll know if your roof is intact by checking your solar production
Cape Fear Solar Systems has been installing energy solutions locally since 2007. We do everything in-house from design to installation, so we can be confident every system we install will work as designed. Consultations are always free, no pressure, and informative. To learn more about solar energy and battery backup options, visit www.CapeFearSolarSystems.com
or call (910) 409-5533.