How to Prepare Your Site for Hurricane Season

The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is here so it’s time to ask yourself: Is your site prepared to weather this storm season?

Predictions for 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Forecasters predicted that this year’s hurricane season will be abnormally strong and as of right now, they’re right.

As of the last week of July, we have already had nine named storms. The latest named storm, Isaias, broke the record for ninth earliest storm. This record was previously held by Hurricane Irene from 2005.

The Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University predicts this season will bring:

  • 20 Named Storms
  • 9 Hurricanes
  • 4 Major Hurricane Strength Storms

Heed the experts’ predictions and have a plan of action. Now is the time to check (or create!) a severe storm plan for your construction site.

Prepare Now for Warnings Later

Coastal projects near North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey may seem like the most at-risk sites, however, inland construction is not exempt from tropical weather.

Take action now to make sure your team and subcontractors are ready if warnings are issued.

Discuss flood zones, evacuation zones and routes, and emergency communication.

Test back-up lighting and emergency generators.

Check your site for disturbed ground, flood prone areas, sensitive areas and vulnerable inlets. If these areas need to be stabilized, protected and reinforced put a plan in place to control erosion and flooding.

Keep reading to identify which products you need to secure your construction site this hurricane season. When the warnings are issued, you will be ready to take decisive action.

Site Preparation for Severe Weather

Severe storms can result in severe erosion. Warnings are typically issued days before landfall. If you have time to prepare, take the following steps to mitigate erosion before the storm.

Stabilize Disturbed Ground

On any given civil construction site or commercial development there a fair amount of disturbed ground.

Disturbed ground is the result of moving earth on construction sites. Clearing, grubbing, grading and excavating are all earth moving actions. Any disturbed ground that is not stabilized is subject to severe erosion during a strong storm event.

There are several ways you can temporarily stabilize disturbed earth before a hurricane.

Hydromulching

Hydromulch on disturbed ground

Stabilize disturbed ground quickly by hydromulching. This erosion control method involves hydraulically applying hydromulch and tackifier to the ground.

The tackifier is the glue that helps the mulch stick to the soil. There are a several hydromulch options to choose from.

The most popular and cost effective mulch is 100% Cellulose. 100% Cellulose is a paper based mulch. 100% Cellulose is ideal for slopes with grades less than 4:1.

If you have steep slopes, you may want to consider a high-performance mulch like ProMatrix or Flexterra. These bonded fiber hydromulches have tackifier blended into the bale and have excellent soil retention.

Install Temporary Erosion Control Blankets

Erosion control blankets on site

If you do not have access to a hydroseeding equipment, install Short-Term Erosion Control Blankets. These rolled erosion control products are cost effective and readily accessible.

Short-Term Erosion Control Blankets (ECBs) protect the disturbed ground in order to prevent soil loss. These erosion control products protect the soil from precipitation and absorb the impact of rainfall. Install ECBs on slopes, channels and ditches that are vulnerable to soil loss.

Options for Short Term ECBs include:

  • Single Net Straw
  • Double Net Straw
  • Curlex I

Typically, we would suggest you seed in conjunction with hydromulch or erosion control blankets. However, it is likely that after the storm passes you will be back to work in these disturbed zones. If you expect to continue earth moving after the storm passes, seeding would be a wasted cost during storm preparation.

Defend Flood Prone Areas

Excessive water can be extremely damaging to construction sites. Hurricanes can dump upwards of 15” or more in an area. That volume of water is difficult to manage but there are ways to mitigate flooding.

Building barriers around critical areas is one way to control flooding.

Build a Sand Bag Barrier

Sand Bags

Sand Bags are one of the most common storm proofing products. They are affordable, easy to store and readily accessible.

Sand Bags do require time and effort to fill and place strategically. Plan ahead and keep bags on hand if you’re in high-risk severe storm zone. 

Build a Sand Bag barrier around critical areas like stockpiles and trailers. While you’re at the trailer, place several bags in front of the door to seal off moisture. You should also use Sand Bags to weight signs and fence in. This is a common day-to-day practice but it is critical to check these items before a storm, especially when high winds are predicted.

Reinforce Silt Fence in Sensitive Areas

Silt Fence is subject to blowouts and failure during severe storms. You likely already know the sensitive areas on your construction site so reinforce those areas.

Install Compost Filter Sock

Compost filter sock installed alongside silt fence

For storm preparation reinforcement, we recommend adding a Compost Filter Sock.

Install Compost Filter Sock parallel to the silt fence line to add a secondary filtering device. Although Silt Fence is installed for perimeter control, its purpose is to filter runoff. During a major rain event, water is going to be flowing through that fabric faster than ever. Compost Filter Sock will filter that runoff before (if installed in front) or after (if installed behind) passing through the fabric.

Protect Inlets

Hurricanes are major rain events that threaten to overwhelm on site inlets. Take all possible precautions to protect inlets from damaging volumes of sediment laden runoff. Guard the inlets that are at risk by adding stronger products or reinforcing the devices that are in place.

Dome Inlet Protection

Round domes protect inlets on construction site

Protect drop inlets with Domes that sit on top of the structure. The Domes can be placed on inlets that have not yet had precast inlets set or when the precast concrete box with grate is already set.

These strong plastic inlet protection devices are offered in Round or Square.

The Round Dome is perfect for 48” or 60” riser pipe where the tops have not yet been set. Use the Square Domes for tops that have been set.

The Round and Square Domes are covered with a filter fabric. The fabric allows rain in and filters sediment from runoff. The filter and domes are weighted into place with rocks, stone or sand.

We like these reusable inlet protection devices for storm protection because they keep out the sediment without inhibiting flow.

It’s Time to Take Action

Whether your construction site is inland or coastal, it is important to plan for the Atlantic Hurricane season.

All of these suggestions are typical erosion and sediment control practices. Chances are your site is already using some, or all, of these products. Taking the time shore up disturbed ground, sensitive areas and inlets before a severe storm can save you tremendous time and money.

If you want to stock hurricane preparation items now, contact us to receive pricing on hydromulch, rolled erosion control products, sand bags and inlet protection devices.