Thursday, August 25, 2011

Irene is Coming ... Get Ready

This is the possible forecast for the East coast for the next couple of days.  If you are not a little worried then I will tell you to get worried. Having lived in the South forever I can tell you Hurricanes are not to be ignored.  I have been through Hugo, Fran, Floyd, Isabel, and all sorts of minor players - category 1's and 2's. For all ya'll up the east coast near New York City and Boston please do not take this mildly. If this hits your area and it is around high tide you are going to be in big trouble.

Start today to get your Hurricane kit together. You are going to need some essential items. Don't go hog wild and buy too much - just follow my list and you will be okay.

1. Batteries for a few flashlights. Everyone in your house should have a flashlight. Get batteries to refill them twice. I also have some battery powered lanterns. They are good at night. Candles are okay, but you run the risk of starting a fire, and even the firemen will have trouble getting there in time to put it out. Keep candles out of reach of  small children for obvious reasons.

2. A radio that takes batteries - batteries for several refills. This is your lifeline when the power goes out, and it will go out.

3. Water - you need three gallons per person and a couple extra for cooking. Fill every container you can get your hands on with water starting now. It comes in handy to flush your toilet. When the storm is a couple hours away - the rain starts - fill your bathtubs with water. Take a hot shower and wash your hair. It might be a while before you get that pleasure again.

4. Make sure you wash and dry all your clothes before the storm hits. You will be going through alot of them during clean up.

5. Food - do not rush out and buy everything you can. You will be eating that freezer up the first couple of days. You want things like bread, peanut butter, tuna fish, soup, etc. Canned food that you can heat up on the grill. Get some bananas, fruit that does not need to be refrigerated. If you have pets make sure you buy them extra food also.

5. Speaking of the grill - you need to go today and get your propane tank filled up, buy an extra. This might be the only way you have to cook for a few days.

6. While at the store get two cheap sauce pans that you can put on the grill. Boiling water for your coffee or tea, spaghetti noodles etc. The bottoms get a bit grungy on the pans.

7. Figure out where in your house will be the safest. Basement, or a room away from the wind and large trees. Go outside and look at your house and see where the trees are. Your neighbors trees. The storm will come in one way. Then several hours later the wind will shift the opposite way - that is when alot of tree damage occurs. They are weakened by the first few hours of wind then picked off after the eye passes and the wind starts again.
Once you have figured out the safest room in your house, move your radio, blankets, and some mattresses in there for people to sleep. Do not leave baby's in cribs or children in their rooms. Have a little sleepover party together.

8. Get all of your prescription medicines, insurance papers, a camera, phone chargers, any thing you think is important. Put in plastic ziplock bags. Have a box to put it all in - if you have to leave it is all in one place - and put in your safe room with radio and sleeping stuff. Pack a change of clothes for each person in your house in one suitcase. Also, an extra pair of tennis shoes. Keep in safe room. If a tree goes through your house, or the roof is torn off, you can get out quick, every thing is right there.

9. I take pictures or video of my home outside and inside, before the storm gets there so I can show my insurance agent. Just in case.

10. Hurricanes take a long time to go through an area. We are talking hours - 6 to 10 hours. They start with rain bands and get more and more intense. When the eye passes over it is relatively still - although the air will be green with all the churned up vegetation. It is a smell you will never forget. Then the rain will start again.
Stay inside.
During a small category 1 storm the wind blew the screen off my son's window. I went down to recover it and as I opened the door the wind picked up the screen, blew it across the yard where it went through a 7 or 8 inch round tree and the corner of the screen was embedded in the side of my neighbor's garage. I realized then that could have been my head or neck or other body part.
Things you do not really think about become dangerous missiles. Think about that scene in twister where the hubcap cut the guys head open in the garage.
So take down your plants, bring in all your outdoor furniture. If you can not bring it in put it as close to the house as you can. Park your cars in the garage after you have filled them up with gas.

11. Get some cash. When the stores open most of them will not have power. They will be doing the purchases by hand. It will be a cash only situation.

Mass transit - like the subways are likely to flood if there is a storm surge. You do not want to get caught underground. Also, power outages in buildings with elevators is a problem. Keep that in mind if you have someone who is ill. Stairs might be a problem.
One of the traditions of these hurricanes is to help your neighbor. Then bring out the grills and share a few meals.  Pull out some board games and cards. Maybe that book you have been meaning to read. Make some new friends! The power companies are scrambling to get everything back to normal.
It should be interesting to see what this storm does. It is early in the season. I have a feeling this is not the last storm of the season.

Early damage on one of the islands


ACreativeDreamer said...

I've never had to go through a hurricane, we get tornadoes and ice storms here, but your advice is wonderful... thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Incredibly well done list, Elizabeth! Let's see, last week Carolina Beach had a waterspout hit land exactly where we stay every year. This week was the earthquake. Now, there's the hurricane. Just be safe!

Chris said...

Great list of things to do, hope none of us need to use it though! Thank you.

Penny Wessenauer (d0npen) said...

Thank you Elizabeth for writing this. I will send a link to this page to my sister in law in Maryland a bit later today. You've helped many...Blessings to you!~~~

Diane said...

That is a very impressive list, Elizabeth. What a great help to people. I can follow a lot of this advice also for eathquakes....which is mostly what we deal with in California. BE SAFE! Hugs, Diane

Ann said...

such a wonderful post for those in dangers way. so often we don't always think of all these things!!..these are the same things we have on hand in Calif. for the earthquakes!..although..there is no safe room!!

Susan said...

Keep safe and let us know when it's all over. Let us know how you are!
My thoughts are with you.


Jeanne Rhea said...

Great list!

Tammy Freiborg said...

You should work for FEMA. May all take heed and be safe.

Sharon said...

Take care and be safe. Let us know when it has passed that you are OK. Thinking of you. Sharon

Terri Kahrs said...

Thank you for taking the time to write this important post. You have just saved a lot of people a lot of grief. Hugs, Terri xoxo

Dianne said...

an amazing and wise list...could definitely apply to tornado and blizzard types of storms too!