“You know you’re a real Floridian when you get annoyed that a storm has gone over Category 3 and now you have to care.”
Summer in Florida means beaches, sun, and sand. Don’t get too excited though because summer fun in the sunshine state also means it’s hurricane season. Unless you’re a native, the thought of a hurricane season can be absolutely terrifying and there’s good reason for it. With global warming, hurricane season has become more perilous for southern states with hurricanes causing states of emergencies. In 2017, hurricane Irma reached a size where it covered nearly the entire state of Florida! That’s 400+ miles! How do you get out of the way of that?
Now, the intent of this post is not to scare you but prepare you. Unfortunately, hurricane season extends well into fall, only ending in November. Even Florida natives can be blindsided with hormonal changes of weather during this season, but we are more familiar with the turbulent turns our summer days might take. Our days may start out all sun and shine only to be interrupted with afternoon thunderstorms for a few hours. Sometimes they come like clockwork or they abruptly strike like a lightning bolt in the sand. Basically, we must plan for half a year in one half of the year. Prepare for tracked storms and prepare for unexpected. This is what you need to survive hurricane season like a Florida native.
Lights, lights, and more lights
Make sure to have plenty of external lighting sources. These are lamps, flashlights, candles and the like. When the power goes out—because more than likely it will—you don’t want to be stuck in the dark. Prepare special places where you can remember and be able to reach flashlights quickly. It also helps to set out candles as the weather worsens with a supplied lighter.
External power and batteries
It may sound surprising, but it doesn’t take a lot to cause the power to go out. Be it Category 1 or 5, all it takes is a strong gust of wind, a stray lightning strike, or a weak fallen tree across power lines for the power to go bye-bye. In these cases, it’s the power outage that creates more damage than the actual storm. So be sure to have a generator and plenty of batteries. There are plenty of options for generators such as small and electric or large gas guzzlers. For batteries, it is important to have batteries for flashlights, but also battery back ups for computers, phones, tablets and the like.
Water from floor to ceiling
I cannot stress the importance of this essential enough. In the event of hurricanes hitting, water is a necessity. During and after hurricanes, water supply can become inaccessible or become contaminated from flooded drains and sewer systems. Water is needed for fluids, food, flushing toilets, washing... the list can go on. You can survive a few days without food—not water. Be sure to have plenty of bottled water, or store water in zip-loc bags in the freezer and in sanitized tubs. If you’d like, you can also have a water filtering system to work with the rainwater which can also be collected if the storm isn’t too treacherous.
You will need to have a good stock of disposable goods since refrigerated items are bound to spoil if the power goes out for an extended period of time. So, this is not only your canned goods, but dry or dehydrated food items. Be sure to store items like canned vegetables, rice or even powdered milk if you’re a dairy fiend.
Perhaps you have a few items that you want to try and keep cool during a hurricane. In this case, gather ice for your chest right before the hurricane strikes. Stores will be open for a li