Home Depot gets late start to hurricane season

Home Depot has plans for a major hurricane preparedness initiative this year, but the program doesn’t begin until nearly two months after residents of storm prone areas should already have plans in place.

Hurricane season officially began on June 1 and it ends on November 30, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the government agency that operates the National Weather Service. NOAA on May 23 forecast an active to extremely active season with 13 to 20 named stores, seven to 11 that could become hurricanes and three to six that could become major hurricanes. Those ranges are above the seasonal average of 12 named stores, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

NOAA followed up the forecast with a series of hurricane preparation outreach efforts that ran from May 26 through June 1.

Home Depot is taking a bit of a different approach to hurricane season preparation and taking a calculated risk that the tropics won’t produce any meaningful storms until the season is well underway. The hurricane season sweet spot, if it can be called that, is the two month period from mid-August to mid-October when ocean temperatures are at their warmest and conditions are at their best for hurricane activity. Early season storms are less common, but have been known to occur.

Home Depot has scheduled its hurricane preparedness workshops for Saturday, July 27 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at 700 stores in coastal areas. Workshop leaders will cover topics, such as storm preparation projects, generator safety, sizing generators for specific home or business needs and assembling disaster preparedness kits.

"Just as The Home Depot pre-plans and prepares for disasters of all types, we want to help our customers ready their homes and businesses for hurricanes," said Marvin Ellison, Home Depot’s EVP of U.S. Stores. "We play a critical role in the disaster response infrastructure before and after storms, and we have expanded that focus to more stores and facilities in our Northern Division."

As the nation’s largest home improvement retailer with nearly 2,000 U.S. stores, Home Depot plays a major role in helping residents in coastal areas prepare for and recover from hurricanes. However, the timing of the company’s preparation events seems to send the wrong message to coastal residents about the timing of their preparation efforts.

The workshops are free and a list of participating stores and registration information is located at workshops.homedepot.com.