Two weeks after deadly wildfires tore through Lahaina, officials in Maui continue to try to identify thousands who remained unaccounted for. The death toll stands at 115.

Meanwhile, residents in Southern California are dealing with once-in-a-century rain and the flooding left behind.

MidSoutherners have had their fair share of weather problems this summer, including back-to-back storms that left thousands without power for days.

While weather disasters like the aforementioned or the water crisis in Germantown are out of our control, experts say we can control how we prepare.

Experts say creating a financial plan before disaster strikes can help save time, money, and stress if an emergency happens. That starts with creating an emergency savings fund.

Dr. Rita Green, an Associate Professor of Accountancy at the University of Memphis, says the key to getting started is to commit to paying yourself first.

“I encourage people, particularly if you earn the same amount every month or every two weeks, to commit to a certain amount. If your salary varies, commit to a certain percentage. The general rule of thumb is to save 10%. But if that is not in your budget, then save as much as you can because it’s absolutely it’s one of the best safety nets you can ever create for your household,” explained Green.

Dr. Green says having money stashed away provides the ability to pay for things such as insurance deductibles or other out-of-pocket costs during a disaster, like food, water and hotel stays.

“There are even catastrophe savings accounts in some states. Mississippi is one of them where you can save up to a certain amount of money in a special savings account designed for that particular purpose. There are some tax benefits for that. So I always encourage consumers to look into all of their options to be prepared in case of unexpected issues,” Green said.

Experts say it’s also important to take time to document financial information and contact numbers before a situation occurs so you know where to turn if and when it happens.