Hurricane Michael strengthens in Gulf: Tips to prepare for the storm

Hurricanes can wreak havoc for coastal areas, but there are steps you can take to get ready before a storm strikes.

In fact, there are things you can do at this very moment, Ready.gov says — like putting three days’ worth of supplies together and knowing local evacuation routes and where shelters can be found.

Read on for other steps you can follow to prepare for hurricanes.

Counting down

Ready.gov recommends taking several steps when a storm is 36 hours away.

“Restock your emergency preparedness kit,” the site says. “Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.”

It also encourages going over evacuation routes and locations — as well as how to connect with loved ones when there are power outages. Vehicles also should be ready to go.

“Keep your car in good working condition, and keep the gas tank full; stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes,” the preparedness site advises

Getting closer

There are also other tips people can follow if they have 18 to 36 hours before a hurricane.

Ready.gov advises people take in “loose, lightweight objects” like trash bins and trimming trees which could hit buildings. They also should conceal windows, like with shutters or boards.

If a hurricane is closer — six to 18 hours away — cell phones should be charged.

There are also tips for when the storm is just 6 hours away.

“If you’re not in an area that is recommended for evacuation, plan to stay at home or where you are and let friends and family know where you are,” the site says.

Other tips include putting refrigerators and freezers on the coldest-possible option, and avoiding windows.

People in both of these categories also should check for “the latest weather updates and emergency instructions” in half-hour intervals.