Nothing left now but to sit and wait. Break out the snacks, and start watching those big shows you have been missing. The noise generated during even a mild tropical storm is pretty loud and fierce. This adds a lot to the stress and fatigue. Turn up some music, watch tv a little louder than you would otherwise, or find some other distracting noises.
Light is a requirement. Get those lights out that you purchased earlier and have them ready. At least one per person, and keep them in your pocket. You could be in the bathroom when the power goes out.
Dealing With Panic
I mentioned that hurricanes are a stressful time, and during the storm can be the worst. Someone showing signs of anxiety can be talked down, or pushed over the edge with a few words. “Calm Down” are the two dumbest words in the english language. Everyone says them, and they have never worked. Acknowledge openly to the person that this is a stressful time, that you see they are becoming anxious, and make suggestions on how to overcome those feelings. Reassuring can help, but don’t be condescending. Come up with a positive activity the person can do to help them through the situation. Something constructive to mitigate what they are worried about, or something distracting to help them move on.
It is entirely possible that you will have some water come in. You aren’t flooding until it is up past your ankles, so don’t panic. High winds will push water into every crack and crevice. We talked in the 6 month segment about sealing up cracks in the walls. Even if you did a perfect job there, windows and doors have seams that can let in water. If water starts to come in around a door or window do your best to sop it up and minimize the damage.
Another issue can be water from above. If you see drips coming from a light fixture, then turn off the power to that segment of the house via the circuit breaker. I know many people with even brand new houses that had water come in from above through various roof vents. Don’t panic, it doesn’t mean your roof is gone. Use buckets to catch as much as possible. Take note and pictures of where it has occurred for insurance and mold mitigation.
After The Storm Has Passed
Venture out and see how things are. This of course needs to be done with a great deal of caution. Downed trees, power lines, and other hazards can be deadly. Check on your neighbors, and make sure everyone is ok. If there is no immediate danger, try to do something nice for everyone like make coffee on your stove/grill.
Cleanup can take a million different forms. Roof damage, yard debris, car damage. Don’t tackle something you aren’t capable of doing.
Don’t Get Hurt!
This kind of goes without saying but now is not the time to get hurt. It is never fun going to the ER, but now is the worst. It could take a long time to get there, and they might be overworked and understaffed. Work slowly through debris and cleanup with great caution. You probably don’t have AC and will get hot. Take lots of shade breaks. Just don’t get hurt.
Start by eating the leftovers in your fridge, then freezer, then on to any pantry and canned goods you might have, then if it comes to it, the emergency rations. It is highly unlikely you will ever have to get there. Keep an eye on the fridge temperature and don’t risk eating spoiled food. Now is not the time to have an upset stomach! Remember, don’t get hurt.
If possible, touch base with friends and family. If your situation is safe, they might need help. Traveling after a storm can be pretty hazardous. Many traffic lights will be out. Treat them as 4 way stops, and assume the other drivers don’t know what on earth to do. Lots of accidents happen in this stage. Make life easier for a cop, and stay home unless you need to go out.
This can be a hard time too. You have the basics, but are bored and hot. Depending on the severity, a number of people will need help with yard cleanup and repairs. If you are in good shape, volunteer to help others. It makes the time go by faster.
Things will eventually return back to order. Don’t be surprised if shops are closed, if stores are missing items, or if restaurants have a limited menu. They went through what you did and are doing the best they can. Be thankful they are open, and tip well.
Till Next Time
Congratulations, you survived. Hopefully you did well and thrived despite adverse conditions. Don’t get too full of yourself, the next one could be a lot worse. Share your experiences with others. You have a lot to learn, and maybe teach. Discuss with your family how things went and find places for improvement for next time. There will be a next time. If you come up with anything particularly good, pass it on to me!