The Hurricane Season

Our new neighbors had us over for dinner tonight. I'll bet you are thinking, Wow, nice neighbors. So are we. The food was awesome, too, so, you know, double bonus on that one. Anyway, during dinner, their son came up and asked for more batteries for his laser gun, a toy he was sharing with J, who I swear thought he had died and gone to heaven. "Oh, yeah, I don't think we have any more batteries," the dad said. "That's definitely something we have to get soon, especially before the hurricane season gets into full swing." He said it so casually, so lightly, to his small son. DH and I exchanged looks of mild panic. "Um, hurricane season?" I asked weakly. Yeah, folks, hurricane season. We've officially moved to a place where they prepare for hurricanes. In a word, holy crap. And we are woefully unprepared. Having just moved, we are still in a state of mild chaos, and of course we depleted our food storage supply before we moved, just so we wouldn't have to move so much food. Ok, so our food storage consisted of 2 extra bottles of ketchup and some dried soup, but hey, we downed it, baby! Well, I do think there might be some soup left, but at this point, I have absolutely no idea which box it is in, or even if it got packed by our movers. But hey, they did pack some wild and crazy things that surely one would think would intuitively be garbage, so, you never know. So I am appealing to you, Mormon Mommies, at least some of whom I am sure are the epitome of preparedness, and at least some of whom I hope live in hurricane or tornado prone areas. (Wait, that sounded kind of wrong. I don't HOPE that you live in a place where wind gusts could blow you into the land of Oz, but you know what I mean, right?) What should I do? What do I need? How am I supposed to adequately prepare myself for a situation with which I have had absolutely no previous experience? (Gee, it sounds a bit like preparing for motherhood, eh?) Do I stock up on batteries, giant flashlights, lots and lots of soup, extra propane for the grill, more bottles of ketchup, what? I'm seriously freaked out here, folks. Break out your provident living manuals, ladies, and let's get readin'!


Blogger Julie M. Smith said...

I grew up in Houston and have vivid memories of Alicia: no power for a week, trees down, etc. Some thoughts:

(1) Unlike earthquakes, tornadoes, etc., you ALWAYS have warning for a hurricane, so don't panic too much. However, when one is coming, people panic buy and the shelves will be empty, so stock up ahead.

(2) You'll want to cover exterior windows with plywood or similar. Store this in your garage. Also a good idea to have a tarp or two in case windows do break. Make sure you can park your cars in your garage if necessary. You'll want to move indoors anything outside that could be moved by the wind (everything from plants to toys).

(3) You'll want everything in your house that you would need to survive without power for a week: water, food, batteries, paper goods, etc. It's usually hot during hurricane seasons, so don't buy beef stew, etc. Canned fruit, lots of water, peanut butter, that kind of thing.

Don't worry too much. Like I said, at least with hurricanes there is always a warning!

6/07/2006 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger Tigersue said...

If there is one thing I remember from "Katrina" was seeing someone that had filled every capable thing that could hold water, filled. As Julie said there are usually warnings so if you can get things ahead of time that is great. You should have extra perscriptions or other things that need to be taken frequently. You should also have a supply of cash on hand to get to easily.

6/07/2006 11:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Proud Daughter of Eve said...

The only advice I have is something you've probably already thought of but here goes anyway. Who knows, someone else may need it. :)

Pick that neighbor's brain! Not only have they already lived in the area for awhile, they've lived next to your house. They may be able to tell you where the previous owners stashed their plywood, how they used this room to best advantage and other things specific to your house. They also presumably know where to buy in bulk for good prices or what local brand is the best beef jerky. They're a valuable resource. :)

6/07/2006 11:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark IV said...

Julie's right.

Be prepared to live for a few days without power. Lots of bottled water, canned fruit, granola bars, etc. Propane for the camp stove would make you the most popular person in the neighborhood.

People really will go to stores and literally clean off the shelves. Plan ahead now and get your batteries and bottled water so you don't need to be part of the panic.

6/08/2006 12:14:00 AM  
Anonymous tiffany said...

I lived up in Richmond for several years, and it always amazed me how unprepared people were, be it hurricanes or the snow that came once or twice every winter. Cash, water, and a generator are GREAT things to have on hand. When you lose power it's generally nice and hot and humid, so be prepared for that misery. You will die laughing at how fast the toiler paper disappears from shelves at the mere mention of a possible hurricane, so keep up on that supply. Oh yeah, fill up your car before the storm! And get whatever you need for the above mentioned generator as well. Whatever stations have power to pump it after the storm will have lines two hours long.

6/08/2006 02:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Mark IV said...

Tiffany brings up a very good point about a generator. They cost about 400 bucks but are worth their weight in gold in a storm. Hurrucane season is miserable, hot, and humid, but if your generator is running, so is your fridge, and so is your icemaker. Fans, too.

A chain saw is also a wonderful thing. When trees and limbs come down, roads and even driveways can become impassable, and it may take the city days to get to your street.

In Katrina, the bishop's storehouse near New Orleans went through generators and chain saws by the hundreds.

6/08/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Laura W said...

My thoughts on being prepared:

Have a good plan for where to go if they say a hurricane is really coming to the area and a list of what you need/really want to take with you.

There is no sense in staying in an area with no power and no water if you have an alternative. Get out of the way, let the professionals get the basic necessities up and running and then go home and take care of cleaning up the rest.

I was in Williamsburg for Isabel, and if I had it to do over, I would have headed for the hills, had a pleasant visit with friends and come back when there was some semblance of order in the area (probably three or four days post storm...)

6/08/2006 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger ginger said...

My Sister in law lives in Hurricane country, and they had to evacuate last season... here is her post of helpful hints (it is the one halfway down that says Warning: Long.


6/09/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Great comments, everyone, thanks. I'm feeling a lot less stressed. I got more water at the store yesterday, some snacks and more canned food, and DH is buying an extra propane tank at Home Depot today. We have the next 3 FHEs planned (i.e, gathering our important documents, making a list of all the people we would need to contact, filling a box of stuff we would need in case of an evacuation.) That link you provided, Ginger, was extremely helpful, thanks! And I'm glad your sister-in-law made it through last season. They are predicting an equally bad season this year, so I'm a little freaked! But being prepared I'm sure will make the inevitable less scary.

6/09/2006 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

Don't store water in cloudy plastic (like milk jugs) bottles. That kind of plastic eventually wears out and you have a big, big puddle. Store water in clear, foodgrade plastic only.
Tip from Seattle disaster preparedness person who lived in my ward and actually sent her storage water to be tested and it was good. 2 liter pop bottles are a cheap way to do it. Rinse it out with water only and fill it to the top with no air. (And guess what, I bought her house 2 years ago and so I have all her water storage that she left).

Don't get overwhelmed. Pick one thing at a time to do.

6/15/2006 03:07:00 AM  

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