Well not only in advance, always be prepared! It may not hit you as hard as residents of New Orleans a couple of years ago, but any kind of severe weather might bring your live to a hold.
No matter where you are living: In the New England states with its snow storms in Winter, in the Midwest or South where Tornadoes are frequent or in California with its many fires during summer or the occasional earthquake, always have your emergency items ready (best place is in a backpack). Check and update your disaster preparedness kit.
Ten important items should be included in your disaster kit, for example as recommended by Indiana's government:
1. Food and water for three days (include one gallon of water per person, per day!)
2. Battery operated all hazards radio (airs more than 60 types of emergency alerts)
3. Flashlights for each room
4. Extra batteries for radio and flashlights
5. First aid kit 6. Extra clothing, sturdy shoes, rain gear, blankets and personal hygiene items
7. List of emergency phone numbers 8. Important documents (copies of photo ID, social security card, insurance and banking information)
9. Cash (small bills as well, as power outages can limit ability to use ATMs and credit cards)
10. Special items (baby formula, insulin, life sustaining medication, pet supplies).
After experiencing several power outages during storms I always have my laptop 100% battery-loaded and when severe weather is announced I fill several buckets with water, as the water supply in washrooms need electricity to be pumped! If you know what I mean : )
A suitable shelter is another important aspect to prepare for severe weather or an earthquake. For those living in homes or apartment buildings, residents should take shelter in the lowest level of the building, away from windows and doors.
Also store wood panels in order to nail them in front of your windows when expecting heavy weather - or even better: real shutters that protect your windows and can also be used as a sun screen. If flooding is an issue, think about getting a small boat. Park your car in the garage or far away from trees. And don't forget to update your insurance regularly.