Hurricane Preparations in the Real World

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Okay, so there are about a thousand places online and hundreds more in print that offer sound, practical advice about what to do to get ready for a hurricane. These are well-researched, thorough guidelines that are designed to keep you and your loved ones safe.

This is not one of those.

Instead, this is a more realistic hurricane prep story that’s based on my experience in the days and hours ahead of our most recent storm, Isaac. You’ll notice that my actual preparation differs significantly from the recommendations you get from credible sources. And I have to say that none of what follows is advice. It’s more of a timeline/recap of the steps I took to protect my family and me when Isaac was at our doorstep.

Five days out — Complete ignorance and bliss.

Four days out — Become vaguely aware of Jim Cantore on television being rained on somewhere.

Three days out — Newspaper runs giant forecast map. Glance and see that we’re in the “cone of uncertainty.”

Two days out — Realize most models show hurricane aiming directly at my front door. Announce to family that we need to get prepared. Wind up refereeing argument about whose turn it is to do laundry.

36 hours out — Begin making preparation list. Remember there’s already one on my computer. Turn on laptop and immediately get distracted by YouTube fishing videos.

30 hours out — Fall asleep watching Duck Dynasty.

24 hours out — Remember hurricane. Decide to test generator

23 hours out — Locate generator under piles of junk in the garage.

22 hours out — Entirely rearrange garage to free generator. Unsuccessful attempt to start.

21.5 hours out — Put gas in generator. Unsuccessful attempt to start.

21 hours out — Fight crowds at Lowe’s to get new spark plug and starter fluid.

19 hours out —  Get home, replace spark plug and administer liberal dose of starter fluid. Unsuccessful attempt to start.

18.5 hours out — Curse the names of Briggs and Stratton. Put band-aid on blistered hand.

18 hours out — Remember “on/off” switch and turn to on position.

17.99 hours out — Generator starts.

16 hours out — Sleep.

12 hours out — Wake up and remember I need gasoline, propane, bottled water, flashlights, batteries and a few other items.

11 hours out — Make shopping list. Head out for supplies.

9 hours out — Find store with gasoline.

8 hours out — Have gasoline. Still need other items.

7.5 hours out — In Publix and realize I forgot list. Go from memory.

6.5 hours out — Check out with $100 in groceries, but forget flashlight batteries, bottled water and a few other items.

6 hours out — Fighting crowd at Lowe’s. Can’t remember which batteries are needed. Buy cheap flashlights and batteries. Remember other items I needed from Publix.

5 hours out — Check out with $100 of assorted items from Lowe’s.

4 hours out — Unload stuff from store. Notice Jim Cantore is in New Orleans.

3.5 hours out — Watch news and realize hurricane has turned west.

2.5 hours out — Heavy rains and strong winds. Realize I forgot coffee. Head back to store.

2 hours out — Spend another $50 on miscellaneous items at Publix. Head home feeling fully prepared.

1.5 hours out — Unload car in downpour.

1 hour out — Rain stops completely.

.5 hours out — Watch news. Realize hurricane warning for Pensacola was lifted hours ago.

Landfall — Two bands of rain. Gusty breeze.

Day 2 — Realize I now own about 20 flashlights and 200 batteries. Find second can of starter fluid in the garage. Put bottled water with the other four cases I bought last year.

Day 3 — Make a mental note to remember all this the next time a hurricane comes.

Day 4 — Forget about hurricane. Back to ignorance and bliss.


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