Since moving here 3 summers ago we have had it easy with only one tropical storm that I can remember. There were a few times when I thought the rain would never end, but when the Gulf is due south of you and summer brings a lot of moisture up from the south, it is hard to escape summer rain. Additionally, this area is usually the wettest in the country in average annual rainfall.
Even living 2 years on the west coast of Florida, my family has had it easy with just a few major storms skirting past, leaving us with a few waves and great beachcombing.
Today the Weather Channel is watching a low pressure just north of the Yucatan Penninsula and expecting it to head north … or east, or west. They’re not sure yet although our 10-day forecast is calling for rain all next week, which is great news for gardeners but not when a possible hurricane is attached to the rain.
So, what do we need to do to prepare?
By June 1st I usually have a good handle on what we have and what we need. My basic supplies include: a 3-day supply of food and water (Red Cross recommends one gallon per person per day), extra water for the dog, dog food, batteries, flash lights and solar garden lights we can bring indoors, weather radio, camera, candles, lighters/matches and a supply of food for a few days in case we are here but lose power, full tanks of gas in the cars and extra cash.
In case we need to evacuate, I keep an evacuation box that is filled with these items: an external hard drive, my family emergency notebook filled with important papers. A camera/batteries to take pictures of damage when we return. We’ll throw in our phones, laptops and chargers (use in the car). I also keep pet supplies.
So what should you have on hand? If you are not evacuating consider keeping the following on hand:
- food for at least 3 days per person
- water for at least 3 days per person. Each person needs a minimum of one gallon for each day. Don’t forget water for pets.
- radio: battery operated or hand cranked
- first aid kit. You should also have extra prescription medicine on hand to eliminate the risk of running out should the pharmacy close due to damage. Don’t forget your pets first aid.
- Candles, lighters, solar lamps
- cell phones, solar chargers
- extra cash because ATMs might be down if the electricity goes out
Be sure to contact out of town family members so they’ll know what your plans are.
If you evacuate:
- pack extra clothes in case you need to stay away for up to a week.
- extra cash in case electricity goes out and ATMs don’t work
- water and food so you don’t have to eat out the entire time you are gone.
- first aid/medications
- copies of personal documents especially your insurance information in case you need to report damage. We carry a binder and an external hard drive with us. Scan your important documents onto an external hard drive and keep them with you or in your car’s glove box.
- a road map
- extra car and house keys
- camera to document damage when you return
- baby and pet supplies if applicable
The Red Cross has a comprehensive check list you can print out by clicking here. For information on Pet Preparedness and Pet First Aid Kits click here. Stay safe this hurricane season. Don’t drive through flooded roads, evacuate if your city instructs you to and make sure relatives know your plans.