Here’s Why You Need Bottled Water During a Hurricane or Tropical Storm

Powerful storms such as Hurricane Ida can cause power outages or damage public water systems.

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Here’s why you need bottled water during a hurricane or tropical storm.

Emergency preparedness officials recommend storing a gallon of water per person per day in case an intense storm damages the water system.Credit…Cristobal Herrera-Ulashkevich/EPA, via Shutterstock

Aug. 29, 2021, 1:17 p.m. ET

Having an ample supply of clean water is a top priority during extreme weather like Hurricane Ida, which can disrupt normal water systems in several ways.

“You don’t know what is necessarily going to happen due to the storm’s impact,” said Stefanie Arcangelo, an American Red Cross spokeswoman. “The storm could impact the public water system.”

Often during or immediately after a storm, a boil-water advisory will be issued, meaning there may be contaminants in the water that could make it unsafe to drink, she said.

That’s why the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency recommend that people store a gallon of water per person per day, just in case a storm damages the local water system or knocks out electricity, making pumps inoperable and keeping people with electric stoves from being able to boil water readily.

The average person drinks about a half-gallon of water a day, and needs additional water for food preparation and hygiene, FEMA noted.

“To prepare the safest and most reliable emergency supply of water, it is recommended that you purchase commercially bottled water,” FEMA said. “Keep bottled water in its original container, and do not open it until you need to use it.”

If people don’t want to buy water that way, they can put regular tap water in clean, tightly sealed containers or bottles, FEMA said.

If water supplies run low, drink the amount needed that day and then try to find more the next day, the agency advises, adding that reducing activity and staying cool can minimize the amount of water the body needs.

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