With a busy Atlantic hurricane season predicted for 2020, we considered it important to remind you of the things you should do before a storm hits to prepare your pool and yard. Here is a curated list of tips to implement before a hurricane.
1. Do NOT empty the pool, do not remove more than a foot of water. An empty pool can suffer structural damage.
2. Do NOT put anything into the pool, especially furniture. Patio furniture can ruin the pool finish as many items are made of metal and they can corrode with water. Rust stains are very hard to get rid of. Skimmer covers, umbrellas, furniture, toys, and accessories, everything must go inside the house or garage or be secured with ropes.
3. Turn OFF your pool equipment by switch off the circuit breakers on the main electrical box. Do not turn them on after the storm especially if it is flooded. Wait for your pool guy to turn them on. The pump must be completely dry before turning it on.
4. IF you live in a coastal area or your patio is susceptible to a lot of flooding, you can disconnect the pump and store it in the garage.
5. Do NOT put the pool cover on. It can be damaged by branches falling on it or blown away by the wind, and you will need to remove it from inside the pool after the storm.
6. You CAN lower the pH to 7.2 and add extra chlorine or shock.
7. SECURE the screen enclosure. An option to avoid damage to the structure can be to ventilate them, that is, to remove screen panels on opposite sides of the structure so that air flows.
8. CHECK drainage areas and remove debris from storm drains to prevent flooding.
9. CLEAN the gutters from leaves and twigs. They must be well attached to the structure. Check the area where the water runs to make sure it has somewhere to go.
10. INSPECT the roof, make sure there are no loose tiles.
11. Remove ALL the tools, decorations, and furniture that are in your patio, any loose object can become a projectile. Close the shed very well.
12. Turn OFF the irrigation system, you don’t want more water to fall into your yard.
13. CHECK that your trees do not have rotten branches or roots, cut dead branches. If you have a dead tree you should remove it. Do not cut large, healthy branches as wounds can become infected, and if the tree is weak it may fall.
14. When cutting trees, LEAVE the horizontal branches, they are better secured to the tree than the ones that grow upwards.
15. Do NOT “top” or “hatrack” your trees. Topping is when you whack off the top of a tree’s canopy. This practice kills trees and does not make them safer in storms.
16. Do NOT “lion tail” your trees. This is when you remove small branches from the larger branches and all of the foliage is left at the very end of the branch. This will make your trees top-heavy and unhealthy
17. DO the pruning early in the hurricane season to avoid having a pile of branches that have not been collected by trash during the storm.
18. SECURE the stakes of newly planted trees.
19. You do NOT need to cut palm trees. Cutting palm trees weakens them, the leaves should only be removed when they are completely dried.
20. REMOVE any coconut or large seeds from palms.
21. BRING potted plants inside. If you have a very large pot, lay it sideways and put it in a place protected from the wind, such as under a hedge. You can collect several pots and tie them into groups.
22. If you have trellises for vines, REMOVE them.
23. If you have vegetables or fruit trees PICK the crop, even when they are not fully ripe, what you don’t pick will probably be lost.