Preparing for Hurricane Season

N.C. State Extension Forestry offers the following recommendations on things you can do before storms arrive to protect your woods and your timber investment.

Things to do Now:

  • Know what you have. If you haven’t had a forest inventory on your property within the past five years, contact your consulting forester to conduct one. An inventory will provide an estimate of the number, types and size of your trees, and the value of your standing timber. Knowing what you have is important when it comes to determining a casualty loss for tax purposes or requesting financial assistance after a hurricane or other natural disaster.
  • Inspect your roads. Survey and inspect your roads with your forester or a grading contractor to ensure that they are properly graded, crowned and surfaced for storm season. Extreme rainfall events can wash out roads and culverts that are improperly designed or undersized. Culverts that are blocked by debris can cause flooding or result in road damage, so make sure all culverts are cleaned out. Also make sure you have good access to all areas of your property before the storm. It could mean the difference between getting a salvage operation done or not. Your consulting forester can help determine whether your road network is properly designed.
  • Know who to contact. Get to know your County Extension Agent and County Forest Ranger and contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency offices before a disaster strikes to learn about storm assistance programs.

Things to do When a Storm is Imminent:

  • Thinning: Shut down thinning operations or hold off if a storm is predicted to make landfall. Recently thinned stands are more vulnerable to wind damage.
  • Pruning: Prune dead and broken limbs over structures or fences to minimize the risk of damage.
  • Fuel: Having adequate fuel for machinery after the storm is critical. Be sure that fuel, herbicides, fertilizer and other tanks are filled and secured before the storm.
  • Hazardous Materials: Secure hazardous materials and shut down gas and fuel pumps prior to the storm.
  • Emergency Equipment: Inspect, maintain and fuel up emergency equipment such as generators, chain saws, air compressors and water pumps.
  • Communications Equipment: If you have portable radios, walkie talkies or other communications equipment, make sure they are charged or you have extra batteries so your family and workers can communicate during cleanup operations.
  • Gates: Keep gates locked to reduce liability and prevent unauthorized individuals from damaging wet roads.
  • Emergency Contacts: Have a list of phone numbers you may need in an emergency, including phone and internet service, utilities, fire department, police and medical facilities.
  • Photographs: Take pictures of stands, roads, bridges, creek crossings, pond dams and structures before the storm to help with insurance claims and/or government assistance programs.
  • Harvest: Consider harvesting mature stands if that aligns with your management plan so that you can capture the full market value before a storm. Salvage operations often yield only 10 to 15 percent of the normal market value.