Hurricane Preparedness

I live on the east coast of North Carolina. We get hurricanes here. I don't think you ever get used to hurricanes but we do know how to prepare for them and we know when to leave the area if we need to.

For some reason when my kids were growing up (1970's) I always fried chicken when we were under a hurricane threat. Not sure why but I guess it was easy to eat and everyone liked it. IDK...  Anyway the habit stuck and to this day I still have an urge to fry chicken during hurricane season.

I remember my Dad tracking hurricanes on one of those paper Tracking Charts that could be picked up most anywhere. We would have to be very quite when the news was giving the coordinates so he could put a little pencil dot on the map marking the current location. Now we watch the tracking on computers and phones and the weather updates are continuous. We have a lot more information available to us now about the possible strength of the storm and when it might make landfall. Thankfully they almost always loose strength just before coming ashore.

Where I lived in 1954

That's the ocean in front of us and sand dunes behind us.
There are things that make a lot of difference... like how the hurricane comes in. My Dad always told me it mattered if she comes in under us or over us. Under us, or to the south of us is worse. Hurricanes spin in a counter clockwise motion so if it comes in under us we get more chance of flooding.  Also we watch the tides. A hurricane hitting at high tide also means more chance of flooding. In 1954 we were hit by Hurricane Hazel. She was a cat 4 that came in under us and at high tide. The National Weather Service said, "It was one of the greatest natural disasters to ever affect the state, and one of the most destructive hurricanes to strike the United States."

Hurricanes have a habit of going where you don't think they will. One that comes to mind is Ivan in 2004. The thing actually did a loop-de-loop.  And danged if I know why, but it seems they always hit a night.

Officially, the Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, but as the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) notes:
    "There is nothing magical in these dates, and hurricanes have occurred outside of these six months, but these dates were selected to encompass over 97% of tropical activity."

When Is the Hurricane Season Most Active?
Again according to the AOML, there's a "very peaked season from August to October," which means this period includes:
  • 78% of the tropical storm days
  • 87% of the "minor" hurricane days, and
  • 96% of the "major" hurricane days
And within this peak hurricane season, early to mid-September is the pinnacle.

These are just some of the things I do when we are under a hurricane watch or warning.
  • Make sure we have bread and canned foods in the house. AND a non-electric can opener!
  • Fill the car with gas. Just in case we have to leave.
  • Make arrangements for pets. Some places now have shelters where pets can be taken. We keep ours with us but we have to make sure we have food, water, crates, blankets, bowls, leads, and first aid kits ready for our critters.
  • Fill containers with water. This isn't just for drinking, its to cook with, to brush your teeth with and most flush the toilet with. That's the main reason to fill a clean bathtub with water.
  • Fill old milk jugs with water and freeze. Put these in refrigerators and freezers so if the electricity goes off they will keep them cool for much longer. Never open refrigerator or freezer doors when current is out unless really necessary.
  • Clean and fill kerosene lanterns and trim the wicks. These provide so much more light than a flashlight.
  • Check batteries and flashlights.
  • Hang a raincoat by the door. This will come in handy if you HAVE to go out quickly for an emergency.
  • Get the cell phone chargers out that are used in the car. That is the only way to keep them charged if the electricity is off.
  • Keep a few tools where they are easy to get to. A hammer and a few nails for example.
  • Take out the battery powered radio and check the batteries.
  • We avoid boarding up or taping windows until the last day. By then we can get a pretty good idea if we are really going to get the full force of the storm or not. If you ever have to get masking tape off your windows you will know why we wait. We save necessary plywood that is already cut to the correct size from year to year just for this. You do not want to have to buy plywood just before a hurricane. Plan ahead.
  • Try to avoid going shopping just before the storm hits. You are sure to get caught up in the madness and buy stuff you don't need.

I would love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite tips for hurricane preparedness?
I am sure others would love to hear your comments as well.

BTW, here are some pics my parents took of our neighborhood after Hurricane Hazel hit us in 1954.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe this hurricane season!

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