There are two ways to look at Tropical Depression Beryl. A storm system moving through the area so early in the year could provide a reminder to residents to prepare for the season. On the other hand, it's "that storm" that came through and "didn't damage much of anything."
Every storm is different and evacuations need to be taken seriously. During landfall, it's too late to get out. And, while you might have a nice safe spot in your home, it's no protection for the roads and utilities surrounding your home. The power could go out, roads could be blocked, the water could be unusable and help could be days away.
Those who remain in their home, need to be in a safe, first-floor room away from windows or doors during the storm. After a storm, check on your family and neighbors for any injuries. Check gas, power and water lines for damage. Again, understanding that assistance may be hours or days away.
Drive only when necessary and do not drive through a flooded road following a storm. The road may have been damaged and you cannot determine how deep the water actually is until its too late.
For those who evacuated, wait for official word from local emergency management officials and your municipality before returning to your home.
They're weighing several factors before allowing re-entry, including what areas are accessible, whether emergency crews are available, what utilities are functioning and the coordination of assistance like food and water supplies in case they're needed.
When allowed to return, carefully check for electric, gas and water damages. If you smell gas or find the line damaged, open a window and leave the home immediately. Turn the line off outside and call a professional. Otherwise, open windows and doors to air out any water damage, and take pictures of your home and property for insurance claims.
When it's time to clean-up, debris should be separated into different piles for trees, building materials, appliances, household garbage and hazardous materials like paint. Contact your local sanitation department about disposal.