Hurricane Guide

A Practical Floridian’s Guide (manifesto?) To Hurricanes

I am starting this guide in the middle of hurricane Irma one of the strongest storms to have happened in recent history.  I am a native Floridian and have hunkered through and run from plenty of hurricanes and tropical storms.  A lot of my friends and co-workers have come from out of state and aren’t sure exactly what to do or how worried to be.  It doesn’t help that the news can be in full panic mode while local Floridians can range from similar panic to excitement over surfing conditions.

I wanted to go over the basics of how a storm will play out, with a large focus on what you can do days weeks and months ahead of time to prepare yourself, and how to have the right mindset to make it through un-scarred physically and mentally.  This is intended for new transplants to the sunshine state and greater southeast, but even a 3rd generation Floridians might pick up a good point or two.  I want this to be a free and open document that accepts good advice and informs as many as possible.

If you live in Florida or coastal areas of the south east you will eventually deal with a hurricane.  Not IF, but WHEN.  Just assume it will happen eventually.

Each chapter is organized by when you should be taking action.  Read through all of them so you know what to expect when.

Disclaimer: This is just a rough guide.  Use your head.  Some storms pop up fast and give little warning, some are seen coming for weeks.  Some people have special needs and family situations.  I can only convey what I have been through.  Doing everything in this guide will not save you from a tornado ripping through your house.  Be smart and heed official warnings.

6 Months Before The Storm

1-2 Weeks Before The Storm

<1 Week Before The Storm

1-3 Days Before The Storm

During and After The Storm

Lessons Learned

Key Takeaways

  • Buy collapsible water containers and fill them yourself, don’t rush out to buy water at the last minute
  • Make ice and fill your freezer as the storm approaches
  • Buy emergency food.  It is cheap and can last decades
  • Determine your family’s physical priorities months ahead of time and secure them so you don’t have to worry later.  Consider what you will need for days with out power or easy store access.
  • Start planning for where to go a week out, and revise as reality changes.  Pack a go bag just in case.
  • Keep an eye on the storm updates, but don’t focus on it for hours.  Not too much TV, it will drive you crazy!
  • Don’t trim your trees right before the storm hits.  That makes guaranteed missiles.
  • Treat all dead traffic lights as a 4 way stop, most others won’t know this
  • Don’t get hurt!  Hospitals are busy and probably hard to get to.
  • Get yourself in good shape and help others
  • Take care of your generator so it can take care of you

Special thanks to my parents for teaching me a lot about how to get through life in one piece, and for reviewing this document specifically.  To my friends and coworkers that have reviewed this and added to it, and to the redditers at r/TropicalStorm.