I guess I am now officially a Floridian. After living here for a little over a year I experienced my first hurricane. It was nerve wracking, it was stressful at times, but I prepared and eventually evacuated to avoid a potentially dangerous situation. I learned a few tips and tricks on what to do leading up to the storm.
Being from the Midwest, I have been through several tornadoes. They are scary, they are dangerous and they happen after just a few minutes notice. When you hear the siren you escape to the basement, away from windows and wait it out.
A hurricane is different. You have days to prepare and days to sit and anxiously wait. Just like all the tornadoes I’ve been through, I was lucky and nothing happened to my home or property in the hurricane. I’m extremely grateful and my thoughts and prayers are with those that were affected and those that did have damage in Jacksonville — the hardest hit area in the state.
After watching the storm path in the days leading up to it hitting the state of Florida, I decided to escape to the Tampa area to stay with friends and not take any chances. Before I made that decision to leave, I loaded up on supplies a few days before things started to get really serious. Stock up on water and food well in advance, to avoid the craziness at the stores. In addition, never let your gas tank get under 1/2 full in those days leading up to the storm and be prepared for the long lines and some gas stations being without fuel because of the high demand.
My hurricane to-do list:
- Load up on bottled water, food like bread, peanut butter, granola bars, canned goods, batteries, candles, flashlights and, of course, wine 😉
- If you have a gas grill, make sure you have a full propane tank to cook on it if you lose power.
- Put jugs full of water in your freezer to use as ice in a cooler later if you lose power.
- Fill your bath tub with water to use in your toilets and to use to wipe yourself down if you are without power and running water.
- Get cash, because the ATM’s and credit card machines will be down in a power outage.
- Charge up all of your portable cell phone chargers, so you can charge your phone and keep up with the storm news in a power outage.
- Get books, magazines, games, etc. to entertain yourself if you are stuck inside for days.
- Take photos of your house/property and belongings inside for insurance just in case.
If you do leave like I did, on your way back home after the storm make sure to stop to get gas before you get close to the affected area. I stopped 40 miles west of Jacksonville and still had troubles finding a gas station with fuel. There was also only one restaurant open in the town (Chick-fil-A, thank you!), they were only serving a few menu items and it was packed with people.
— Teryn Schaefer (@TerynS_PGATOUR) October 6, 2016
My biggest bit of advice: be patient. There will be traffic, there will be long lines and there will be power outages. Everyone is in the same boat as you and we all have to be kind to one another to get through it together.
If you’d like to help those affected by Hurricane Matthew, the Red Cross has been providing shelters and disaster relief in the area. You can donate to their efforts here: https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation
In addition to experiencing tornadoes in the Midwest, I have also seen major flooding near my hometown along the Mississippi River. I’ve seen entire towns wiped out, but turn around and rebuild. So my thoughts and prayers go out to all those that have had damage to their home or business. I know the community will come together to clean up and rebuild!
Photo cred: FoxNews.com