These things apply for a storm that you know is coming and that you have advance warning that you can prepare for.
1. Get caught up on all your chores like washing dishes, laundry, and that toilet or bathtub you've been putting off for a couple weeks! There is nothing so stressful as facing a power outage with a sinkful of dishes. Believe me! I know!
2. Have some cash handy. ATMs aren't solar powered!
3. Have a good supply of paper plates, paper towels, and plastic utensils. Who wants to do a ton of dishes in the face of an emergency? Not me!
4. Have a toilet back-up plan just in case. You never know!
5. Clean up your yard of anything lying around. The last thing you want is the rake flying at your window.
6. If you're able to - have a generator. They go for as little as $650 for a house electricity-wise and the price goes up from there. It's something good to save for! If there is a power outage, it can save the food in your fridge, keep your water running if you're on a well like me, (or keep your sump pump running - an essential in heavy rains!) and keep you warm as we head deeper into autumn.
7. Be prepared with alternative cooking methods. Even having some meals that just need boiled water or are heat and serve can drastically reduce your stress!
Just keep in mind that where you live can drastically change how you need to prepare for a major storm or hurricane. Are you in a flood zone? Which one? (Different numbers mean different levels of risk.) Is evacuation something you could face? Do you have a lot of trees around? Would they threaten your home if they should fall? (The biggest cause of power outages is fallen trees/tree branches!) The weather guys are saying because a lot of trees haven't lost their leaves, there is a lot more surface area for the wind to blow around and increases the likelihood of downed branches.
How to Survive a Hurricane - scroll through the pictures. The information is to the right of each picture. It's a really great list!
72-Hour Kit ideas - The text is a bit funky, but the information looks helpful.
FEMA has a lot of great info and resources:
FEMA - Hurricanes
FEMA - Heavy Rains
FEMA - Basic Disaster Supplies Kit
FEMA - Blackouts
FEMA - Protecting Your Home from Hurricane and Wind Damage (downloadable document)
Red Cross Disaster Safety Library
If you're on the east coast - good luck and be prepared early!