Hurricane Michael proves that we need to be prepared all the time if we live in hurricane areas. Here are some observations I have thought about as the storm has played out and some tips on being more prepared for next time and grocery shopping in the aftermath.
The importance of evacuating in time
Being ready to evacuate is essential even if you ultimately do not. Sure Micheal came up suddenly but when it was realized that a hurricane of any magnitude was going to make landfall, bags with enough supplies to last a week should have been packed. Not having to pack at the last minute means you can get in your vehicle or be ready to travel however you need to. It takes just a few minutes to throw 2-4 bags in a car plus pets and go if you are already packed.
Make checklists of what needs to be in each person’s bag. You can use this list every hurricane season so you can have your bag mostly packed ahead of time. This doesn’t have to be a bag that is intended for living in the bush for a week or more so it is a bit different than a bug out bag, however, some people may just want to grab their bug out bag if they have a major one put together already. I just think you may want to throw in a few items to take with you that you may not normally take if you were bugging out into the woods. The Prepperu2019s Blue... Best Price: $11.98 Buy New $18.98 (as of 02:20 EST - Details)
The poor don’t have as many resources when it comes to getting out ASAP
If you can afford accommodation elsewhere, then you are going to be more likely to leave. Some people may also fear they will be looted and lose even more so they stay.
Category 1 or 2 can turn into 3 or 4 very fast
I have heard those that live in hurricane areas talk about how they will not leave for a category 1 or 2. At the same time as we saw with Michael, a prediction of a low category hurricane can quickly go from 2 to 4 or 5, and by then it may be too late to pack and get out promptly. The last thing you want to happen is to be trapped near water or on a bridge because you waited too long. Debris and water can cause real issues!
Before and after Michael hit Mexico Beach, Florida.
People tend to trust care facilities a little too much.
Sorry but I don’t trust it when a nursing home or other place says they have two weeks of food on hand and back up power. Even if they think they do when was the last time the supply inventory and back up generator was checked? This is tough because a lot of people have loved ones in facilities.
Seeing what Michael has done makes me think that if you have someone in a retirement community or rest home if may be a good idea to have a bag ready for them and stored where they live. I did an article a while back about prepping with disabilities. Prepperu2019s Long-Ter... Best Price: $7.99 Buy New $8.95 (as of 05:50 EST - Details)
Some ideas may be helpful depending on the individual’s exact situation and needs. I realize that some of those that require a lot of care may not be able to benefit from the ideas or methods I talk about but it may help you think about alternatives that could help them.
A category 4-5 hurricane should always have mandatory evacuations.
There were very few mandatory evacuations ordered in time because no one thought it would get so bad and the hurricane moved fast. Florence took some time to make landfall and allowed for more preparation and a longer time frame for convincing people to evacuate.
Emergency personnel was distraught how many people decided to ride out this storm and not listen to warnings.
A lot of areas will see the more massive damage because they have not had time to recover or dry out from Hurricane Florence. Some rivers have still not returned to their previous water levels.
Don’t Forget Your Pets
You need to be able to get your pets evacuated quickly too. Have a bag of pet food on hand that you can grab. I recommend putting it in a plastic bin with lid and a small scoop so you can avoid messes while traveling or if you have to keep it in your car awhile because of where you are staying.
Make a list for your pet. An extra leash and collar in a bag with some treats and a toy is a good idea. I recommend Kong toys because they can be filled with treats and chewed on and are a better deal overall then rawhide.
Make sure to have a spare key for each vehicle you will be using. There is no good time to lose your keys but when you are forced to be a bit nomadic because you can’t go home, it can be a lot worse.
You do not want to get in a lost or missing key situation in the middle of a disaster when locksmiths are likely not available. What if you pull in at a gas station for something and lock yourself out or you lock the door with the keys in it or a pet inside. Always carry a spare. My husband and I each carry spares just in case.
People did not have time to clean up after Florence and resume their lives in any way. The financial impact of a hurricane can be significant.
Not everyone has sick leave or vacation time. That means a lot of hardworking people didn’t make any money for days or even weeks and many of those that did had extra childcare expenses because there were no schools in session or after school daycare programs. When The Grid Goes Dow... Best Price: $8.73 Buy New $13.80 (as of 08:15 EST - Details)
Less income also means some were not likely to have replenished their preps before dealing with Michael. This is tough and a hard lesson but it goes to show that if possible, you need to replenish ASAP or have supplies stashed in a safe place that can last through a very long emergency. The hard thing is what if your preps get destroyed in a hurricane, or you have nowhere that is very safe from damage?
Lack of electricity will be a longer lasting and more widespread issue than with Florence
Power outages and downed trees will be more of an issue because the ground is already very saturated and the winds will be high across a big area. Soggy ground and 40 mph winds can cause a lot of trouble and Michael has already proven it can pack 140 mph winds. Even winds have this speed are going to devastating.
Outages may last for weeks or months in the areas that are hardest hit and have true Category 4 wind damage. So that you know there have only been 24 landfalls of a category four hurricane on the mainland USA since 1851.
Michael is equal in intensity to Hurricane Maria which also made landfall with 155 mph winds and a very similar pressure.