Hurricane season begins June 1st and ends November 30th. Whether you live in a hurricane zone or you are traveling to an area known to have hurricanes, you must be prepared for what can happen. When it comes to hurricanes, individuals are alerted and have the opportunity to prepare before the storm arrives as opposed to tornados. Since hurricane warnings are given, it is wise to take heed and not wait until the last minute to gather things necessary to survive in the event the hurricane comes and you are unable to leave your house.
We just experienced our first “real” hurricane. When I say real, it is because Hurricane Matthew from 2016 was our first but we didn’t have any effects. This year however, we endured the effects of Hurricane Irma. Major winds, no cell service and loss of power for long periods of time. We knew the hurricane was set to make landfall days in advance but my husband and I waited until the last minute to prepare because we both were working and taking kids to afterschool activities. With us waiting so late, we were not able to get the items we would have liked and there were slim pickings at the grocery store for non-perishable items.
Earlier in the week, Hurricane Irma was predicted to be a category 5 storm, we are thanking God that the original track the storm was on changed and we didn’t endure the devastation we were expected to. Because we live in what my husband likes to call a “forest,” we chose to stay with my parents who have a new structure that is also equipped with hurricane impact windows. The first night we were there, the power went out fairly early before it seemed the storm amped up. Around 3 am, the power was restored and we were able to sleep without sweating profusely. The next day, Sunday, the power went out at 8 am just after we made coffee and the winds were kicking up.
My parents stay on a lake and the wind was blowing the water so hard it seemed as though it was raining. We were without power all day and I was without cell service the entire weekend. Sunday was the hardest day. The kids were getting restless, and my youngest kept asking when the “tornado” was coming. They were not outwardly afraid but I know their anxiety level was on a 10 because they did not know what to expect. We were tracking the storm on hurricane apps on our phones as well as a battery operated radio which was great because we at least had access to the outside world and what was going on with the storm. That evening, we were all over the power being out and were sweating as we tried to fall asleep. As soon as I had drifted off to sleep, Jordan woke me up screaming we have power! We have power! The air kicked on, we plugged up our electronic devices that were half dead and laid back down knowing the worst of the storm had passed.
The next day, we had a hot breakfast, hot lunch and enjoyed the beauty of sunny skies. Mario and I ventured out to access the damage in our area as well as to see if it was safe to return home. There were many trees down in our area at the entrance as well as throughout our complex. When we made it upstairs, we realized the big tree that hid our balcony pretty nicely had been plucked apart and had loss many of its limbs. There were several small trees down in the playground and a large tree had fallen into our pool. We were thanking God that we did not have any loss of property or damage to our home. We took a few pictures and returned to my parent’s house to begin packing our things.
We made it through the storm with minimal inconvenience compared to our friends and coworkers. As of today, Tuesday, several still have no power and actually are without water while some have boil bans in their area. I am so thankful the storm was not as bad as they originally predicted because we were not as prepared as I would have liked. This experience taught me to start prepping for hurricane season far in advance. I would like to share with you some things that could help you prep for hurricane season and be sure to have all the essentials in the event a hurricane hits your city.
Prepping for hurricane season
- Prepare a hurricane emergency kit at the beginning of hurricane season. Things you can include in the kit are…
- Batteries for radios, flashlights as well as backup batteries for cell phones and tablets.
- Store at least three gallons of water per person, enough to last three days.
- Cash if banks or ATMS are shut down due to power outages.
- Non-perishable food items for three days such as canned meats, canned fruit, peanut butter, jelly and crackers.
- Hand operated can opener.
- Air mattresses and pumps.
- Battery operated radio
- Crafts and activities to keep your children occupied.
- Paper plates, cups, disposable forks and spoons
- Paper towels
- Fill your car up with gas in the event you have to evacuate your home as well as if gas stations are closed after the storm has passed.
- Gather all important documents and store them in waterproof containers.
- Create/review your evacuation plan with your family.
- Locate the nearest shelter or pet friendly shelter if you have pets.
- Download apps on your phone that can help you communicate if you lose cell service. There are several apps that can let people know where you are located, if you need help as well as if you are safe. The Red Cross has a Hurricane App in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store as well as a shelter finder app.
- Install hurricane impact windows if you own your property. If you are unable to install hurricane impact windows, use hurricane shutters or board up your windows with plywood that is 5/8” thick.
- Turn your refrigerator to its coldest temperature in case you lose power and use a cooler to keep things in which will also help keep your refrigerator closed so items will stay cold inside of the refrigerator.
I hope this has helped you get an idea of how to properly prepare for a hurricane in the event you live in a hurricane zone or are vacationing in a region known to have hurricanes. If you need any other information, FEMA has a great list that includes a list of essentials to include in a basic emergency supply kit as well as additional items to consider putting in your supply kit.
If you have ever experienced a hurricane, I would love to hear about your experience. Are you the organized type to prepare at the beginning of hurricane season or are you the procrastinating type?