12 Ways to Prepare for a Hurricane
If you or a loved one go to college somewhere where they have a storm, a flood or a hurricane come through, take it very seriously.
It is no joke and no laughing matter.
At best, it is scrambling to prepare for the potential loss of power, disruptions of work, school or weekly schedules and visiting stores where the mountain stockpile of water cases for purchase is limited to one or two cases per household.
Tree limbs fall on roads, debris gets pushed in all kinds of places and people can be a bit fussier or more stressed in person when you meet them.
At worst, it is power outages for days or even weeks, fuel shortages (due to excessive travelers evacuating all at once), soggy freezers and refrigerators, flooding, shut down businesses, looters or even utter devastation to property by natural causes (storms).
(Thankfully, loss of life is not usually the case overall.)
As someone who has weathered several storms, even in the middle of research paper due dates and exams, I know that a little preparation can go a long way.
Here are 12 ways to help you prepare for a hurricane, whether you are in the dorm, with family, taking face to face classes or taking classes online.
1) Send a message to your professors.
Some colleges will close their doors and cancel classes well in advance.
Some like to keep their doors open as long as possible (it costs money to close a business on a day that is usually open and quite frankly some wait for their competition to close first to see how it goes) so you may have to make this decision on your own.
Either way, send a message to your professors and let them know if you are expecting to evacuate or if you are expecting your internet connection to be interrupted.
I did this once to a professor who was teaching online from a sunshine-filled sky over 800 miles away from the storm and they were kind enough to extend my research paper deadline for a few extra days.
2) Turn in homework early.
This is not the time to procrastinate.
Getting behind doesn’t change the assignment.
It just means you have to work hard to catch up later.
As you prepare for a storm, prepare your assignments in advance whenever possible.
You will be glad you did.
3) Pay attention to local authorities, the State Governor and the incredibly charismatic meteorologist.
If they declare a state of emergency for your region, you’d much rather find out when it happens and not from your very talkative and pessimistic next door neighbor two days later.
Local authorities can recommend evacuation, places to seek shelter and often gear up emergency responders to help weather a storm’s impact.
If the weather gets too bad, they may enforce a mandatory curfew or tell everyone to stay indoors for a while.
During this time, it can be tempting to see a break in the storm elements, to stare up into the grey rainless sky and say, “I’m going for a drive!” but if the local authorities have encouraged the public otherwise, LISTEN TO THEM.
Getting yourself in a situation where someone else has to rescue you, find you, or scrape your body out of a ditch, off the road or pull you from a tree – after they have told everyone to stay safe and off the roads - is not cool.
It’s just plain selfish (AKA inconsiderate of others).
Few exceptions apply to this and are right around the successfully rescuing someone else mark.
Speaking of weather, let’s not forget the super smiley meteorologist who can pop up on your newsfeed more often than your best friend during this weather concern.
Storms are the kinds of situations that make their blood dance through their veins with excitement, so cut them some slack.
They studied hard for their job and they don’t get to take center stage in front of a riveted audience that often.
It is true that they will have no definitive information for a while.
They know “It is coming” but the trajectory they calculate is not iron clad.
It is totally normal for them to not be able to pinpoint the exact scenario you will face in the days leading up to the storm making landfall.
Since the meteorologist cannot control the weather, they will do their best to tell you what they know as soon as they know it.
4) If you leave, leave ahead of time.
You may have seen news footage of previous storms that involved bumper to bumper, inching-per-hour traffic and evacuations from one state or region to another.
If you plan to evacuate, do so well before a storm hits.
Airlines will experience delays or cancel flights altogether.
Cars will hardly be able to move on the interstate when traffic gets heavy.
Time will run out.
If your work allows, your school shuts down, or you just want to be safer than sorry, leave with enough time to get somewhere safe.
In other words, leave with plenty of time to spare.
As the storm approaches, here are 8 more tips you can use to prepare.
5) Wash everything.
I’m talking bedding, clothes, and pet blankets or towels (if you have pets).
Grab a shower too.
If you have to go a week or more without power (worst case scenario), the better state you start in the better your adventure will be.
6) Clean your counters and living space.
Pick up any clutter, wipe off the countertops and mop or vacuum the floor space.
Basically, clean your place up inside and out.
Your kitchen counter should not already be inviting bugs and your bathroom should not be crusty and unkempt as you head into the storm.
If you lose electricity, power or running water for any length of time, gross just gets grosser.
7) If you have a yard, secure all potential projectiles.
With dorms, this is less of an issue but if you rent off campus or have your own place you may have a yard that needs cleaning up.
Secure all things that could be picked up and sent through the sky like a hailstorm or a javelin.
Umbrellas, lawn chairs, grills, pillows from sitting areas, unsecured pet houses, old fence panels, cut lumber and wobbly fence posts need attention.
Don’t just leave them to chance, do something to make cleanup afterwards no big deal.
8) Charge all devices.
All your electronics need to be charged just in case you need them.
You can ration off your tech time and put them in low energy power saving modes to make them last several days (if such devices are used sparingly).
If you have no internet or power you still need to be able to get an emergency call out.
9) Stock or restock the essentials.
Paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, water bottles and nonperishable food items work great in heavy storm situations.
So do first aid kits.
If you go to the store right before a storm you will notice that some of the first things to go are bread and cases of water.
Even the 7 dollars a bottle sewage tasting fizzy water disappears.
Try not to wait until the last minute to get what you need because if you do it is hard to ignore the stressed out, panicked looks on people’s faces as they race down empty aisles.
Besides, you don’t want to get testy with a random stranger just because they found one squished, sorry looking loaf of bread in the ramen aisle.
10) Fill up.
Top off your fuel tank and your bathtub (just not with the same stuff).
Fill up pitchers, empty bottles and even your sinks if it makes you feel better.
If you had to live a couple of days without power you will want easy access to cleaning and drinking water.
11) Use technology sparingly.
Now is not the time to take a quiz on who would be your perfect soulmate.
It is not the time to be glued to social media.
You need to stay alert, stay present in the moment and - if the power goes out - you need to be able to use your technology sparingly over time to make it last.
12) Do not panic.
Even if your power goes out, even if you lose internet connection, even no one texts you back for an hour, even if the wind howls so loud outside that it shakes the walls…do not panic.
If you lose your head, you lose your opportunity to think clearly and to weather the storm.
Be smart about it, stay safe and you will come through it.
If it turns out to be nothing, you don’t lose power and you use your bathtub filled with water to bob for apples…look on the bright side.
At least you and all your stuff will be clean and organized.
And you won’t have to do housework for a month.
How do you prepare for a hurricane or storm?
Let me know in the comments below.
You can do this.