I’ll never hear that name again and be able to think of a cute little white-haired woman sipping tea.
HURRICANE IRMA was a beast.
A Category 5 monster.
A force to be reckoned with.
One of the largest, most powerful hurricanes in history…
And she was headed straight for us in Florida.
There wasn’t any “good” option with Irma there was only bad, worse and “catastrophic.” The media loved to use the word catastrophic when they were talking about Hurricane Irma… And in fact the name of my city, Satellite Beach, was used in the same sentence as above mentioned word, more than once. Cue the panic.
The projections were ALL OVER THE PLACE. People made lots of spaghetti model jokes. And if you look at the image below, you can see why… They had no idea where this wild woman was going… But they were pretty confident in saying, she was going to slam right into my little Sunshine State and raise some hell.
We had experienced the pre-storm craziness of Hurricane Matthew last October which was also a projected Category 5 hurricane and I honestly ran around town like a certified crazy person trying to prep for this storm. I mean full-on freak-out mode happened. For those of you not familiar with the underwhelming events of Hurricane Matthew – he was a total dud. We got some rain. A little wind. Nothing serious. May have blown over a couple of lawn chairs. SO – when the talk of Irma started I was definitely a little hesitant to feed into the hype… I told my husband “we aren’t evacuating, this is going to be another media attempt to generate hype about a storm and nothing is going to happen.”
BUT… as the days progressed and the storm got nearer and the wild woman wasn’t changing course… I knew I had to get serious and start prepping for this storm. Unfortunately me for… The rest of my fellow Floridians were taking the media warnings and alerts more seriously than I was and they had been prepping for days… So by the time I got my act together EVERYTHING WAS SOLD OUT. Yeah – I’m talking water, batteries, flash lights, lanterns, wood boards, sandbags, etc. Luckily I was able to fill up my gas tank but the standard storm supplies… #theygone. We got creative though and that’s what brings me to your first tip…
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Do not, I repeat, do not wait until the last minute to buy supplies. You will 100% run around like a chicken with your head cut off and you likely won’t be able to purchase all of the things you want to purchase because they’ve sold out.
However, if you, like me, ignore people’s warnings and alerts and do indeed wait until the last minute to decide you need to get your act together to prepare for the storm and secure your home start thinking outside the box on places to pick up supplies from.
+ Dollar Store – you’d be surprised that people completely overlook the Dollar Store. We hit up the “5 & Below” store and there was plenty of flashlights, batteries, lanterns and water still there.
+ Smaller Gas Stations – if you’re going to large-chain gas stations chances are they’re going to sell out quickest. Look for the smaller ones, go inside and scout for water and batteries and gas tanks to fill up.
+ Sand Bags – don’t stress if they sell out. You can grab bags of potting soil, playground sand instead OR you can make your own with trash bags and filling them up with water.
+ Amazon Prime – don’t underestimate the power of the Internet. Jump on Amazon and see if items you need are available for Prime and have them shipped to your doorstep. Granted – you’ll have needed to at least start prepping 2 days before the storm for this option… Ha!
+ SNACKS – whatever you do, make sure you have SNACKS. Good ones. Ones that you don’t mind having for a week. Just make sure you don’t start eating them until the hurricane starts. 😉 Or… make sure you buy extra. I went into the hurricane craving Cheezits and thinking there was no way humanely possible that I could get bored of them? I was wrong. No more Cheezits. Just no.
+ WATER – in addition to buying bottled water you should also fill up any water bottles at your house with your filtered water and stick those in the fridge to have as well for when you lose power. Most of us have tons of water bottles lying around our house that we don’t even think to re-use to fill up with water.
PREPARE TO LOSE POWER
The likelihood of you losing power is pretty much a definite. The first thing everyone wants to do is take out all the awesome food in your fridge and make the most random Thanksgiving-spread of food you’ve ever seen. Eat all the foods. Don’t let that goodness go bad, y’all. And please don’t forget the freezer – because I did, and it was sad. HA!
You also want to make sure, outside of your lighting situation we talked about earlier, that you have things to DO when the power goes out. With Irma we lost power around 6pm… So it was too early to go to bed and we only had about an hour of daylight left before it got real dark, real fast. So I knew #1) I had to keep the kids busy, happy and not scared #2) I had to keep myself from losing my mind. BOARD GAMES. PLAYING CARDS. CHARGED iPADS (for the kids, especially – lol).
Also, it’s the perfect opportunity to do all the girlie things done that you don’t have time for on a regular day. Like that charcoal mask you’ve been dying to do and paint your nails a fresh new color. Let’s think of the positives here, right?
You also may lose water, so be prepared for that as well. Fill up your bathtubs or buckets with water in case you need it to be able to flush your toilet if water is lost. We always fill up the bath tub half way to have plenty of water for flushing. Sounds weird, but it’s helpful!
TAKE LOTS OF BEFORE PICTURES
From an “insurance” perspective in case there is damage you need to have pictures of how your house looked before in order to file any claims… But I just like to document everything, maybe I’m weird? We always drive around town before the storm, after everyone has boarded up… It’s this eerie feeling when your town is so quiet and the roads are clear and there are shutters and boards on businesses and homes. It’s this surreal feeling of THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GET CRAZY and IT’S TIME TO HUNKER DOWN (love that term.)
We always head to the beach too. It’s pretty incredible watching how MASSIVE the waves get and how the wind and everything just SHIFTS as the storm is about to arrive. The color of the ocean changes, the wind whips around the branches on the trees. It’s pretty intense.
DEEP BREATHS / STAY CALM
It’s seriously so easy to completely lose your mind before a hurricane, or a big storm. There is so much UNKNOWN and it’s our inherent nature as human beings to try to control situations… Well, acts of nature – we can’t control. We have to just sit back and do the best we can to PREPARE. Whether that means evacuating, or securing your home and riding it out, you need to make that choice based on the information given to you and how you feel in your gut. Regardless of your decision, you have to stay calm. Especially when the kiddos are involved. There’s absolutely nothing we can do when we worry – so we have to ask ourselves, what’s the point? Right?
We opted to stay in our house for Irma and not evacuate. She made a western turn and appeared to be headed towards the West Coast of Florida vs the East Coast that we’re on. However, because of her size the hurricane would literally cover the entire state. There was no “safe zone” here. However, we felt like based on the severity of what was projected for us, we would “hunker down” and ride it out. I’m so glad we did. During the storm water started flooding in through our front door and some of our windows. My husband acted fast grabbing some duct tape and securing the window frame inside as well as the door frame. I feel pretty lucky we were home so that we could secure the leaking and prevent water damage inside the house.
A lot of people ask what a hurricane sounds like… I’ve been through many since I’ve lived in Florida my entire life and they vary depending on how severe it is BUT I would say at the worst of it the winds sound like a train is trying to run into your house. It gets pretty crazy! We were able to get the kids to sleep before the worst of Hurricane Irma came upon us which was good, because it can definitely be a little intense. I popped in my ear buds and listened to some 80’s pop hits to calm my nerves. Works every time!
You’re going to be grumpy. I was. Losing power is ALWAYS a bummer. I have no idea how people made it in the years before electricity was invented. But you’ve got to go back to the “deep breaths, stay calm” mentality about it because stressing won’t get the electricity back on any quicker. Easier said than done when you’re literally sweating your tush off. 😉 Also be prepared for grocery stores and other stores to not be opened right away. Their inventory was probably compromised due to lack of power and it takes time for trucks to deliver new supplies.
It was crazy looking at the empty shelves at the grocery store with absolutely no produce. The vegetables section was completely cleared out an empty and as of the last time I was at the grocery store, still was!
Are you sitting there thinking….
AND YOU STILL LIKE LIVING IN FLORIDA?
You bet. Wouldn’t live anywhere else. 😉