Lessons Learned

Since writing the original guide, time has passed and hurricanes have happened.  Here is a summary of lessons learned from those events.

Dorian 2019

Ultimately we got away untouched, especially compared to the Bahamas. Keeping an eye on the storm was agonizing. It kept slowing down, or outright stopping. That kept the 3-5 day track swinging all over the place. In short, storms are inherently unpredictable. Even if you aren’t in the cone today, you might be tomorrow. A few miles per hour change can make a world of difference in outcome.

Our new (new to us) house came with a hurricane screen for the back porch. It had some issues and needed work and improvisation to work right. I eventually got it all figured out, but I had plenty of days of warning to do so. If this storm had been steaming for us with little warning I might not have been able to get it all up properly. I will be adding to the guide that any new (to you) house should have all its hurricane hardware 100% checked and installed before a storm comes.

Michael 2018

My parents were in Panama City through this hurricane. This counts as one of the worst to hit America in recorded history.  Here are some notes about their experience.

It took over a day to get back in touch with them after the storm.  Land lines were spotty and one of the major cell services was out for over a week.  Try to get in touch with loved ones, but realize if someone you know is in that kind of hurricane they might not be able to contact you for days.

Roads took 2-3 days to clear well enough for most people to become mobile.  A day or two after that regular hand outs of food, water, and ice were available at limited locations.  Some grocery stores were starting to open about then with limited selections and cash only.  Having 4-5 days of food and water for everyone with you is highly advisable.  If the roads are impassible it may take that long to get a square meal that you don’t provide yourself.  Many vehicles were destroyed making people immobile.

Water was out for 4-5 days, and was under boil water when it came back.  Having extra water bags for an especially bad storm would be helpful.

Radio stations mostly survived pretty well.  They were able to coordinate broadcasts and give out important information.  Having a radio was really helpful for them to know what was going on and know where things like food and gas could be located.