The only good thing I have to say about hurricanes is that they give you plenty of warning they’re on their way. (If you’re a newcomer to hurricane territory, find out how to prep fast for hurricanes.) Otherwise, they’re jerks. They slam you with crazy winds, torrential rainfall, dozens of inches of rain, massive property damage, and even deaths — and then wander off like nothing ever happened.
You could say I’m not a fan!
After Hurricane Harvey arrived in my town last year, August 2018, I learned that the actual hurricane is only the first step to surviving it. Even now, almost 13 months later, many people are still not back in their flooded homes and dozens of businesses have yet to reopen. Some never will.
Because I know firsthand the damage a hurricane can deliver, I asked some of Harvey’s victims for advice they would pass on to those in the path of this hurricane as well as any others that come our way. Here’s what they had to say:
Geralyn: Take photos of your expensive belongings. Insurance is a pain even when you have it because they don’t want to pay out. They will depreciate everything so even small things are important.
Sharion Lee: Be kind & have compassion for one another. Check on NEIGHBORS & FAMILY.
David: Pick up and move everything that’s on the floor, particularly in closets and under beds. It’s a mess to clean up when it’s waterlogged, muddy, or molded.
Tyna: Meds, pets, water, food, pet’s food flashlight, batteries, important papers, anything you can get off the floors do so, now is the time to get ready, fill up vehicles with gas have cash in case ATMs aren’t working.
Odalys: Get all your important papers! Clothes and food and get out. If you cannot get out, a generator will be a lifesaver and gas in your car, so you can move out if you need too. God blessed and good luck.
Carolyn: Everyone in the family needs a GO BAG. Inside: change of clothes, sweatshirt, underwear, shoes; chargers, backup chargers; meds; snacks; water bottle; laptop and phone, etc. Use this printable, “Evacuation Supplies Checklist.”
Scott: Use a Sharpie Marker and write your info on your pet in case you get separated — their name, your name, phone number. Collars and tags can fall off.
Tracey: Do not wait until the last minute to evacuate! Take important papers! Take pictures of belongings on phone! Take pets! Take medication!
Nannette: Put all important papers in zip lock bags. Anything you want to preserve from mold spores in air-tight bags. Move whatever you can upstairs. And leave well beforehand if possible. There may not be power or access to grocery stores for several days. Here are instructions for making a Grab-n-Go Binder with all your important documents.
Kim: Buy extra external cell battery chargers, and keep them charged. Check on elderly, ill, disabled, and widowed neighbors. Make sure they have someone taking care of them. Pass that info on to proper authorities if needed. Take interior doors off, and lay across anything that can be made into study “table legs”, to create more countertop space to get things off the floor. (Great tip!!)
Sarah: Take everything you want to save to the second story, if you have one, otherwise try and get important stuff into an attic. Take all important papers and pets with you and leave town. Shut off your electric panel before you leave. Take photos and a movie of every cabinet and drawer before you leave, for insurance purposes. TIP: Also take pics of your home’s exterior to document wind/rain damage to your home, garage, fencing, etc.
Lauren: I would say to be cautious about moving all valuables upstairs. I would either put them as high as possible on the first floor or spread valuables between both floors. The reason is that this storm (unlike Harvey was for Houston) will be both a rain and a wind event. Storm surge will flood homes, yes, but wind and falling trees will pull roofs off and expose the upstairs to the elements. Both risks have to be considered.
Teresa: Have cars full of gas, food bought, prescription filled, extra water on hand, flashlights and batteries located, and camping stove ready for cooking. I’m praying for everyone.
Bridget: Pull cash out. If you don’t have power, you can’t use your credit cards.
Debbie: Prepare a go bag for a quick escape if you are starting to get water in your home. Put as much of your important belongings up high as u can safely. And be kind to others if you can help them when waiting for someone to rescue you.
My own additional tip, if you have to evacuate, bring along portable electric cooking devices like an electric skillet, Instant Pot, rice cooker, or crockpot. You may find yourself staying in a hotel for weeks or even months, or in other locations where you’ll want to cook meals, even occasionally.
For more Hurricane Florence survival tips, I hosted a Facebook Live loaded with even more helps:
Here is a collection of the resources on this site to see you through hurricane season.