Local Weather
MarshBunny Notes
The St. Johns River The Intracoastal and Beyond

Storm Preparation

The keys to coming through a hurricane with minimal mental stress and physical damage are Planning Ahead and Preparation. Here is some information and links to help.

First of all you must decide whether you are going to evacuate or ride it out.

Even if you are planning to ride it out, it's still a good idea to be prepared to evacuate if you need to. It's quite all right to let your survival instincts take over if you feel the desire to run. Nobody is going to know or care how bravely you died if you decide to ride out a Category 5 hurricane in your mobile home.

The timing of your decision to evacuate is very important - when the roof blows off the house and the walls start to cave in it's a bit late to get on the road.

<<< SideNote: Lesson Learned - gas up the car early. Whether you go or stay you will need gas eventually. Lines will be long and then gas will not be available at all for days before, during and after the storm. Even if your area isn't hit, trucking can be disrupted, cutting off the supply lines. >>>


I'm not really big on evacuating ... I was a young child when we evacuated for hurricane Donna in 1960. The storm chased us right up the center of the state and overtook us. My parents ended up pushing our stalled car through waist deep water in a strange town in the middle of a hurricane (in the middle of the night) to get us to an already overcrowded public shelter.

During the storms of '04 & '05 we saw the nightmare of heavy traffic, no gas, and price gouging as people tried to escape the danger area.

I'd rather stay home, thank you very much, but I still keep an evacuation kit ready in case I change my mind.

EvacuatingIf you are going to evacuate don't wait until the last minute. You will find the shelters full, traffic heavy and drivers tense, hotels fully booked, and bad weather making everything worse. Planning ahead will really help make your experience less traumatic.

If you live in a mobile home, evacuate immediately. Mobile home parks are magnets for hurricanes and tornadoes. Those anchors you have tying your mobile home to the ground are not going to help you in a real storm. Get out. Get out immediately!

Where will you go? Where you plan to go will determine what you put into your evacuation kit. You have several options:

Visit friends or relatives in another state. Even if you are not evacuating, have an out-of-state contact for family members to call to check on each other. It may be easier to phone out of state than locally once the storm has passed.
Have a hurricane party with local friends or family who have a more secure building. NOT ON THE BEACH, you moron! Excuse me. There are quite a few Darwin Award candidates out there and sometimes they need things explained a little more clearly than the average person.
Drive inland and stay at a hotel - Make sure you have reservations and get there ahead of the bad traffic and rough weather.
Go to a public shelter - You will need to get there before they are full up, and take only the necessities.

If you are going to a shelter you need to pack the smallest amount you can get by with. You cannot take pets, weapons, or alcohol into a public shelter.

Often the local animal shelter will act as an emergency refuge for your pet. Many people refuse to leave their pets to evacuate, and after the storms of '04 and '05 the need for more shelters for pets became apparent. A very few shelters will allow pets, but you need to make sure of the rules before you go.

  Special medical needs? Some shelters are set up specifically to handle people with special medical needs. Check with your local Red Cross office to find where these shelters are and when to check in. You will want to do this promptly to ensure available space and the stocking of necessary medical supplies.
Before you leave secure your house and yard. Check the preparation lists to help you decide what to take and what to leave.
Riding it out
Riding it out in the closetRiding it out in the closet.

Riding out the storm or evacuating to a safer place, you will want to ensure the safety and comfort of your family and secure your property.

Stay aware of the progress and strength of the storm. Even a Category 1 hurricane can cause damage from flying debris, heavy rain, and falling trees. Falling trees can knock out power lines leaving you in the dark and without refrigeration or cooking facilities. Hurricanes can change course and intensity very quickly, and the higher the category of the storm, the greater the potential for damage.

There will be NO emergency services available until after the storm. If you make the decision to ride out a hurricane, be aware that there will be no ambulances, fire trucks or police riding into the storm to your assistance.

For any hurricane that looks like it will strike my area, I prepare as if for a minimum of 100 mph winds and a 1-2 week power outage.

Preparation Lists

Additional Info:

Federal Emergency Management Agency

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