Tropical Cyclones (Tropical Depressions, Tropical Storms, Hurricanes) are a real threat to Puerto Rico, so come June 1st of every year, which marks the beginning of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, you should be preparing for a possible tropical cyclone. There are certain things you should know and expect when preparing for a tropical cyclone in Puerto Rico.
There are many things associated with tropical cyclones that can have an impact on your life or property. Generally speaking, the main threats of tropical cyclones are flooding, strong winds, storm surge, and tornadoes. In Puerto Rico however, unless it is a strong hurricane, the main threat tends to be flooding. This is because most huses are made out of concrete, so although winds can take down trees and power lines, most people are generally safe from wind inside their concrete houses. I however have seen large trees taken down and fallen on top of houses, but these cases are not as common as flooding is.
If you are preparing for a tropical cyclone in Puerto Rico, what should you be preparing for? This is an interesting thing to think about because you are not only preparing for the possible strong winds, heavy rains, tornadoes, and storm surge; you are also preparing for what comes AFTER the tropical cyclone.
YOU WILL LOSE ELECTRICAL POWER, and you may lose water service.
Even with the weakest of tropical cyclones, you should expect to lose power for 2 to 3 days on the best of cases to about a month if it was an intense hurricane. Back in 2011, tropical storm Irene made landfall in Puerto Rico, nothing impressive, a few tree branches down and some flooding on the days following the storm, but I lost power for 3 days. However in 1998, Hurricane Georges completely swept the island, and I was left without electrical power for a full 30 days! Yep, 30 days.
So having a small generator to run the fridge and other essentials will not hurt.
There is vast information about how you should be preparing for a tropical cyclone in the National Hurricane Center’s website.
If you are preparing for a tropical cyclone and need to talk to someone regarding the current forecast track or other related information, you may also contact the local National Weather Service office in San Juan.