August 8, 2000 at 6:11 PM CDT - Updated June 18 at 10:20 AM
Here are some things to do outside as the storm approaches:
Close shutters, lash down awnings or, if you don't have any other protection, mount plywood across your windows and sliding glass doors, including the garage door.
Identify the points to shut off the water, gas and electricity. You should shut them off if you have to evacuate.
Bring in anything that could blow around: toys, bicycles, garbage cans, patio furniture, gas grills, etc.
If you have a TV antenna, now is the time to take it down. Unplug your set first, and be careful not to touch power lines with the antenna.
Remove turbine vents on the roof and replace with metal caps. Secure or remove loose tiles or shingles.
Don't drain the swimming pool. The lack of water increases chances of the pool popping out of the ground. Add extra chlorine to the pool to reduce contamination. Do not sink lawn furniture into the pool; you could ruin the pool's surfacing.
Turn off power to the swimming pool pump, pool lights and chlorinator. If the pool pump is exposed, wrap with a waterproof cover and tie it securely. If you're handy, remove the pump and store it inside.
Clean out gutters and downspouts.
Lash trash containers together and then to a pole, or take them indoors.
Take down trellises.
Forget about trimming the trees; no one will come to pick up the debris at this point, and the storm could turn your trimmings into airborne missiles.