Hurricane Season is officially upon us. You know what that means...Let the party planning begin! In all seriousness though, hurricane season can be a little worrisome. The season begins on June 1st and runs until November 30th. It has been over 10 years since Florida has been hit, the last one being Wilma in 2005 which means we are due for a named storm.
The alarming part is that since Wilma, there are approximately 1 million new Floridians that have never experienced a hurricane! But it’s not just that. It’s been so long since we have had to go through all of the preparations, that we have become complacent. We forget what the storms are capable of, and that they do tend to throw us for a loop. So here are my very unofficial hurricane preparations.
Beverages and Snacks
First, and most important, check your stock of alcoholic beverages. People talk all the time about hurricane parties, but it’s needed for after the storm as well.
The last hurricane I experienced was in Texas on September 13, 2008. We went without power for 15 days. When the lights are out and the sun goes down, you have two choices...you can drink, or you can go to bed.
We drank and then went to bed. Just remember, if you are without power, chances are so are the stores. As the stores open back up, the first thing that goes is the beer, if they weren’t already sold out before the storm, so make sure that you have plenty stashed away. Trust me on this one...you will be very happy you have it.
And while we are on the subject of things that are bad for you. You are going to want to make sure you have a pantry filled with non-perishable food items. In particular, Little Debbie’s snack cakes. Yea, you read that right...I hate Little Debbie’s Snack cakes any other time of the year. But throw a hurricane my way, and I would advise you to not get in between me and those disgusting treats. They are like popcorn and movies...they just go together!
OK, so let’s get away from food and drink. The one thing I wish someone had told me to stock up on before my first storm as an adult, was lawn and leaf bags. This is for after the storm passes.
There will be a lot of cleanup in your future, but you won’t get very far without a place to put the trash. The front yard can be raked to the curb for trash pick up, but you do have a backyard that is in just as bad of shape.
That is the second thing stores run out of after the storm passes. For some reason, people never think to buy them beforehand. While you’re at it. Pick some up for your neighbors, too. You know...for goodwill and all.
A woman I once knew told me the best trick for dealing with a prolonged power outage. Before a storm is about to hit, take the biggest tupperware containers that you own, fill them up with water and put them in the freezer. The more containers you have, the better off you’ll be.
When the power goes out, transfer the frozen water containers to the fridge. It will keep the fridge cold for a little longer, and as the ice melts, you then have cold water to drink. I am here to tell you, that one trick saved a lot of food and really helped during clean up when we needed a cold drink during all the hard work outside.
It amazed me how long those containers kept the fridge cold, just please refrain from opening the fridge too often. Every time you open it, you are letting precious cold air out and letting hot air in. And while you're at it, remember to empty the ice bin in your freezer into a container as well. All that ice is about to melt, and removing the ice bin after it's turned into water is not fun!
Do you have a grill? If not, does your neighbor have one? If you hate your neighbor, then I suggest you either make peace with him...or go buy a grill.
Now you just need to make sure that you have plenty of fuel for your grill (gas, charcoal or wood). Let’s re-cap...you have no power. So what are you going to do with all the food that is in your freezer? It’s going to thaw quickly, and you still need to eat.
Also, how are you going to make coffee in the morning? Coffee requires hot water, so you’re going to need that grill to boil it. Oh yeah, while you are at the store picking up Little Debbie’s and beer, make sure you also pick up some instant coffee. Instant coffee is not great, but it’ll have to do until the power comes back on.
Last, but not least...make sure that you have a cell phone charger for your car. You might have a slight disruption in your service, but it shouldn’t be too long.
Your cell phone is going to quickly run out of charge and if you don’t have a way to charge it (you know, the no power thing), then how are you going to check Facebook? (Or call your Mom).
So that’s it, that’s my very unofficial hurricane preparedness list. Everything else that you will need you can learn from “official sources”, but these are the things that those sources never bothered to tell me. So good luck, and Happy Hurricane Season!