Emily Vaughan Yates

After Hurricane Harvey flooded her home in 2017, this Houston mama has some sound advice to prepare your home and family for what the storm may bring.

Rebecca Angel Baer
September 12, 2018

When the floodwaters rose in Houston following Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Houston mom of three, Emily Vaughan Yates learned first hand just out ruthless Mother Nature could be. Yates and her family tried to stay in their home but as storm continued to batter the area, and the flooding increased, she knew they couldn’t stay in a home without a second story bathroom. With a half a foot of water filling her house's first floor, the Yates family fled their home and was taken in by neighbors, where they remained for several days.

Houston is easily flooded in general, but Harvey was a slow moving storm that stalled out over the city and the rate of inches of rain per hour was just too much for the Texas metropolis to take. Now, as the predictions for Hurricane Florence sound eerily similar to the ones heard before Harvey, Yates finds herself haunted by her past experience. She took to her Facebook page to offer a wealth of first-hand knowledge to her “many N.C. friends,” in hopes of helping others better prepare for this monster storm.

To my (many) NC friends - I am no hurricane expert and what I write will be flood-centric, bc well, that's our...

Posted by Emily Vaughan Yates on Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Not ordering you whether you should stay or go directly, Yates broke her tips down into two categories: If you stay and if you go.

If you are choosing to evacuate, she has several tips of how to prepare your home for what it could face once Florence arrives. First, she says to put everything up as high as you can. “Clothes on top rack - shoes in shelves. Books, puzzles, toys off the floor. Some things can be cleaned, but some things can't.”

She also had a great tip for what to do with your furniture. “Use tables and countertops for any upholstered furniture you can get high enough. We had friends get 5 feet of water - their couch floated off the kitchen island. We only got 6 inches - our couch would have been fine up on paint cans (who doesn't have old paint cans in the garage?)”

Emily Vaughan Yates

For those who think they want to stay and ride out the storm, Yates posed important questions to consider. “When you're making the decision to stay I would ask: are your power lines buried? Are you close to a creek? How's the drainage on your street? In a bad thunderstorm do you normally see street flooding, even for a short time? Do you have a second story? Do you have a bathroom upstairs?”

She also offers a tip specifically for those with little ones.
“Make sure you have LOTS of snacks and drinks ready, portable cell/iPad chargers, maybe even new books/puzzles/toys for entertainment.” You will be confined to your safe space until the water recedes and help can arrive. So having a supply of toys and books will help to give your children a small sense of normality and escape in a scary situation.

 

WATCH: One Year After Hurricane Harvey: Operation Penny

Finally, Yates cautions to not think you’re out of harm’s way just because your house isn’t in a flood zone. She says her home wasn’t either. This storm will be huge and unforgiving. Check out her post here for more helpful advice.