How Much Water Do I Need To Secure Before A Hurricane?

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey

If you live in an area where there is a real risk of hurricanes, then you have likely experienced grocery stores mobbed with people filling grocery carts with bottled water. Water is one of the most important items to stock up on before a hurricane. We all need water to survive, and powerful storms can render local water supplies inoperable or contaminated. Bottled, or pre-poured drinking water is essential if a hurricane is headed towards your home. But exactly how much water should you secure before a hurricane?

In anticipation of a hurricane, you should secure a minimum of one gallon of drinkable water per person. You should have at least a three-day supply of water, and upwards of one week if you live in a more rural area. Don’t forget to budget water for your pets as well. Remember to have additional water to flush the toilet, bathe, and brush your teeth.

Water is an essential item on any hurricane preparedness checklist. Making sure you have enough water is one of the best ways you can ensure your family’s safety in case of a natural disaster. Knowing how much water is enough, as well as learning easy ways to store lots of water cheaply and safely, will help make preparing for a potential major storm less stressful.

How Much Water Should You Secure Before A Hurricane?

As you begin gathering materials for your pantry in anticipation of a hurricane, you will inevitably realize you need drinking water. After all, water is even more essential than food. But when you look at the giant jugs of water and the cases of individual bottled water, you may wonder how much water you should buy in case of a hurricane.

As a general rule of thumb, you should secure one gallon of drinking water per person, for each day during and after a hurricane. When stocking up for a major storm, you should have at least a three-day supply. Therefore, you need at least 3 gallons of water per person when you are stocking up on drinking water for a hurricane. If you live in a rural, hard-to-reach location (like an island), it is best to have upwards of a seven-day supply. This, however, is just the general rule. Several factors impact how much water you should have during a hurricane.

Factors Impacting How Much Water You Need For A Hurricane

The Number Of People In The Home

The biggest factor that impacts how much water you need to secure before a hurricane is the number of people in your home. The average standard is one gallon of water per person. This means you need to increase the amount of water by a gallon every time there is another person other than yourself in the home. The more people in the home, the more water you need - it’s that simple.

How Remote Your Home Is

You also need to think about rescue logistics. In general, it is wise to have at least a three-day supply of water. But you should gather more supplies if you live in a very rural area, on an island, or anywhere else with limited access. Having a seven-day water supply is a great way to be proactive when you live in an area that might take days for others to reach after a catastrophic event.

Drinking Water Versus Usable Water

It is also important to factor in how much water you need for drinking, and how much water you should have on hand for other purposes. Drinking water is essential, but drinking is certainly not the only use for water. Think about how much water you might need for cooking, cleaning, and bathing. This water should be potable. Remember that after a storm, the water pumps might not function properly and you may need water on hand to flush toilets and clean yourself.

Pets Need Clean Water Too

Remember that pets require clean water too. Sure, you may see them drinking from puddles and lakes from time to time, but this is not healthy. Secure enough drinking water for them so they are not at an increased risk of illness after a hurricane.

Four Tips To Help Easily Store Water Before A Major Storm

1. Sterilize Large Food-Grade Containers

Purchasing water at a grocery store is an easy, but expensive way to gather drinking water before a hurricane. A much more cost-effective route is to use large containers you already have to store filtered tap water.

This is an easy process. The biggest thing to remember is to sterilize the containers before you add water. Wash them with water and dish soap, and then rinse them with boiling water. This should remove and kill any bacteria, and make it a safe environment for your home’s tap water.

2. Label Your Drinking Water

In addition to sterilizing your water containers, you should also label them. This makes it clear and easy for you and your family to identify which containers contain drinking water. This is particularly important when you have containers filled with filtered drinking water, and others filled with unfiltered water that you collected for dishwashing and cleaning.

3. Fill Jugs With Filtered Tap Water, And Then Freeze Them

If you have some empty gallon or 2-liter bottles, wash them out and fill them with water. Then you can put these extra bottles in the freezer. This will give you extra ice to keep perishable food cold and safe after a hurricane-induced power outage. Once it melts, you can enjoy this ice-cold water. Leave a little space in the container, at least one-fifth of the bottle, as water expands when it freezes.

4. Fill Bath Tub With Water

Another quick and easy way to easily add to your stockpile of water is to fill up your bathtub with water. This might sound strange, but you need to remember not all water is for consumption. Filling your bathtub with water allows you ample water to flush the toilet after a storm. This water can also be used to take several sponge baths.

Why You Need To Secure Water Before A Storm

Drinking Water Might Be Contaminated

Severe weather events are likely to destroy power lines, overflow sewers, and even contaminate water supplies. Whether it’s dangerous toxic overflow reaching a water source, salt water in the pipes, or busted water lines, there are lots of potential water issues that can occur after a major storm.

You Need Water So Your Plumbing Functions

In case water stops pumping into your home, you will need water to ensure your plumbing continues functioning. A lack of water can result in a very smelly situation. Don’t be left without a functioning toilet. Always have more than enough water.

Power Outages Make It Hard To Boil Water

If you lose power, it becomes more difficult to boil water. Often, areas are under boil water notices after storms due to contaminated water. If you can’t boil water, then you are out of luck. This is why having at least one gallon of water per person, per day, is the minimum amount you should stock as a storm approaches.

Dishwashing And Cleaning Needs

If your pipes are broken, then you might not have access to any water at all. This can make even the most basic cleaning almost impossible. Make sure you have a supply of water to wash dishes, clean floors, and do other cleaning. The odds are you will have lots of cleaning to do after a storm.

Bathing And Dental Care

Just because you can’t use your shower sometimes after a hurricane doesn’t mean you can’t still be clean. You can take a sponge bath with minimal water, and you can easily brush your teeth. This, however, will require that you fill up more containers, as this water should not come from your one gallon of water per person. That gallon of water should only be for hydration.

Wrapping Up How Much Water You Need To Secure Before A Hurricane

There is a lot to gather and prepare when you are expecting a hurricane in your community. One of the most important products you need to secure is ample drinking water. Make sure you have at least one gallon of water per person, per day. You should have water to last three to seven days. Fill up large jugs and the bathtubs, so you have extra water. Remember, you might need water in addition to drinking water in order to bathe yourself, flush the toilet, and clean the house.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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