Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Named Storm is coming my way!

When the official NHC forecast or several models show a storm coming within 50 miles of your home, it's good to start preparing for the storm. Some people will tell you you're silly, why do anything now because it could hit somewhere else. It's true the track could change, but when the storm is two days out and definitely coming your way, wouldn't you feel better having some of the prep work done?

Five to seven days out, I pick up extra bottled water. We drink bottled water anyway, so it will go to good use. I make sure I have batteries for my radio and flashlights. I check my pantry and pick up a few extra food items that don't require refrigeration or cooking.

Three or four days out, I might fill one 5-gallon gas can (The gas will go in the lawnmower or in the car if we don't need it for the generator). Make sure you have phone numbers at home for the people you work with. Look around your yard and consider what could become a projectile. Pick up toys, trim back those loose tree limbs if you can. If flashing is loose along the edge of your roof, try to do a quick fix so that the wind can't get a grip and use that to damage your home.

Also, wash all your dirty laundry and dishes while you have electricity and running water. If the power is out for three weeks, you'll be glad you did. If you're like me, there's usually something in the back of the fridge that has taken on a life of its own. Throw that stuff out while you have regular garbage pick-up. Unless you have a generator, you'll be clearing out everything else in the refrigerator and freezer about three days after the storm.

Have you ever experienced high water in your neighborhood? I don't live in a flood zone, but drainage issues after Hurricane Ivan (2004) allowed water to reach my porch. Ahead of a storm, we'll fill sandbags to keep water out of the house. Our County Road Department provides free sand and bags ahead of a hurricane. If money is an issue, call around and see what assistance you can get.

A couple of days out, make sure you have important papers together, especially if you are going to evacuate. Your mortgage and property insurance information, car title, copies of recent bills, medical records, and identification are important to take with you. If you come back to nothing, you will know what your insurance covers and what percentage you'll have to pay. You'll have phone numbers to call and change mailing addresses, to cancel services, and report damage.

Consider what you'll have room for in your car. If you have to evacuate, take your most precious photo album along. That super-rare baseball card. Any small items of value -- whether monetary or sentimental.

Please DO NOT leave your pets to fend for themselves. If it's too dangerous for you to stay in your home, it's too dangerous for an animal.

The final days before the storm will be filled with covering your windows, unplugging electric appliances and computers, and picking up anything that you left outdoors (lawn furniture, potted plants). If you are leaving the area, don't wait until the last minute. Roads can get clogged with traffic and some people have ended up riding out the storm in their car on the interstate.
Aren't you glad you started preparing early?

No comments: