As you may know, there is a hurricane causing quite a stir and boy, she is MAD!
She goes by the name Irma and she is a mean, quick-winded force of nature threatening to take down anything and anyone in her path.
I don’t know about you, but I am not trying to get in her way.
She can do some serious damage and it is broadcasted all over the news to be prepared for her arrivals backlash.
This 2017 hurricane has already set her sights toward Florida and is making her way through the Caribbean’s, sadly, already killing three people.
The people in the Florida Keys have been mandated to evacuate by all mean necessary. And if I were them, I wouldn’t second-guess that mandate. The tip of Florida is almost guaranteed to greet Irma whether she cools down a bit or veers East or West.
Where and who am I in this equation?
For those of you who have been following my blog, YouTube Channel or social media, you know that I am a stay at home mom and writer who currently lives in Orlando, Florida.
I have been preparing for Hurricane Irma’s possible arrival for the last two days with my two toddler girls in tow, while my husband is at work at the hospital all day.
It has been an exhausting and overwhelming two days, to say the least.
Sprinkle in crying, whining toddlers, demands and tantrums, poop diapers in the middle of the grocery store, a couple doctor appointments for the kids, scouring everywhere for canned goods and towing two toddler girls in and out of the car/store multiple times each day under the blazing heat and pouring rain, this mama is BEAT!
What’s for dinner tonight?
I’m not sure but daddy’s cooking because I need to recover.
I decided to share not only my experience but also my tips for preparing for Hurricane Irma’s arrival. So if you are a Florida resident and are looking to see what another resident is going through, I am here with you.
Or if you are somewhere far from the hurricanes path, and just want to know more about it from a Florida residents personal experience, well, here I am, sharing my story.
I will be sharing my mommy tips for preparing for Hurricane Irma (and all future hurricanes), what to pack, a little bit of hurricane info, and my experiences.
So hang on tight, and let’s go through this together!
I also compiled these tips in a video on my YouTube channel incase you aren’t much of a reader. You are more than welcome to check it out if you would rather see me talk than read my words.
Whatever works for you =).
Hurricane History in Orlando, Florida
Large amounts of people in Central Florida do not take hurricane watches and warnings seriously most of the time because of our location. Since we are inland and do not reside on the coasts by the water, if any hurricanes do hit land they usually die down to a tropical storm by the time they hit Central Florida. That means we just get a ton of rain and maybe a little wind. Nothing much to sneeze at since this is what most Floridians are used to.
The biggest and most forceful hurricane to have left a mark on Central Florida dates back to 1992, which went by the name of Hurricane Andrew. Hurricane Andrew blew through Miami and apparently left some severe damage within the Kissimmee area of Orlando.
The next large hurricane that left significant damage to Central Florida would be in 2004 by the name of Hurricane Charley.
2004 was also the year that Florida got beat up with four large hurricanes in just 44 days (Hurricane Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne).
My family was impacted greatly by Hurricane
Ivan but I will share that story in a bit.
What is a Hurricane?
A hurricane is a tropical storm with high speeds that meet the criteria for a hurricane. There are 5 categories of a hurricane, with category 5 being the highest and most detrimental.
When is Hurricane Season?
Hurricane season begins from June 1st to November 30th.
The peak of hurricane season hits in the early part of August through the end of October.
September tends to produce the most hurricanes. It should also help to know that although there are multiple hurricanes and tropical storms occurring during the hurricane season, most hurricanes don’t make landfall on the U.S.
Tips for Preparing for Hurricane Season and Arrival:
It is always a good idea to be prepared for a hurricanes arrival if you live in an area that is prone to getting threatened to be hit by a hurricane from time to time. I know it is never a guarantee that the hurricane will hit your area, or that it will cause any significant damage, but being well prepared is better than being under prepared.
We, as a human race, have invented many great things and can control numerous matters, but we cannot control the weather.
We cannot control nature and it’s plans.
1. Buy 3-5 Days Worth of Food and Water
You to focus on non-perishable food items incase the electricity goes out.
-Bottled water, water gallons, and a couple cheap gallons of water to bath/ wash with just in case water is out.
-Canned foods: Vienna sausages, corned beef, spam, canned clams, tuna fish, and canned chicken breasts
-Canned veggies: corn, green beans, and spinach
-Jam and peanut butter
-Coconut milk or whatever non perishable milk you choose
-Instant coffee or tea bags
-Fruits that do not perish fast like apples and oranges
-Pet food (if you have a pet)
-Sun dried tomatoes
-Instant rice (if you have a camper stove)
-Boxed macaroni (if you have a camper stove)
-Ramen noodles (if you have a camper stove)
-Chicken thighs (if you have a camper stove)
2. Build An Emergency Hurricane Kit
Find an empty large plastic box with a lid that you can place all of the materials you may need easy access to incase a hurricane hits.
When the lights are out or some one is injured you won’t want to shuffle in panic wrecking your mind over where is what.
-Batteries (Search for the type that you will need for your flashlights Double A, Triple A, and D)
-Fans that run on batteries
-Multiple chargers for your electronics
-First aid essentials: band aides, Neosporin, alcohol pads, hydrogen peroxide, Tylenol
-Children’s activity bag: crayons, coloring books, paper, books, card games, download movies for kids on iPad, tablet, find DVD’s you can play on laptop.
3. Larger Cost Items To Invest In
-A generator to generate electricity if the power goes out.
-A camper stove that runs off of gas
-A grill (propane or charcoal)
-A car charger with a USB port and AC outlet adaptable for laptops, cell phones, tablets or whatever requires a regular power outlet.
This is great because if my laptop runs out of energy, I can bring it down to the car and plug it into the car charger and keep the car running until it is fully charged.
4. Gather Your Household items:
-Toilet paper bulk
-Paper towel bulk
-Large plastic bags (to cover what you don’t want to get wet if the storm is expected to worsen, to collect your belongings, or to collect trash)
-Medium plastic bags (for waste purposes)
-Clorox cleaning wipes
-Fuel for camper stoves, charcoal, gas for generator
-Diapers and wipes bulk
-Baby formula/food bulk
5. Protect and Gather Your Important Documents
Find a plastic box with a lid that you can place your important documents and sentimental photos/belongings in.
Things like your passport, marriage license, checks, birth certificates, and memory cards, etc, should be placed here.
6. Pack An Emergency Travel Bag
-Three days worth of change of clothes
-One pair of tennis shoes that you know you will travel in
-Ipad, tablet, phones
-Chargers for your phones/electronics
-A book for you and the kids
-Crayons, papers and small toys for the kids
-Snacks for the kids
-Hygiene essentials (contact solution, tooth brush, reading glasses, bar soap, lotion, etc)
-A couple towels
-A couple blankets
7. Fill Your Car Tanks Up With Gas
You can also fill up an extra fuel tank to be prepared for possible gas shortages after the storm
Don’t take more than you need, but it is good to fill up your gas tanks incase you decide to evacuate your home last minute and relocate.
8. Take Out Cash
I believe anywhere from $200-$500 cash is good enough.
I placed mine in an envelope that I sealed and marked “Emergency Hurricane Funds”.
9. Prepare Your Home
-Board up windows, seal garage openings with sand bags.
– Fill your bathtubs up with water to flush the toilet, if needed
-I, personally, do a light clean of my home (scrubbing toilets, washing dishes etc) so that if the electricity goes out and the home starts to get warm it won’t start to smell and feel uncomfortable.
-Make a video recording of your car, the outside and inside of your home and your valuables with you narrating the condition of your belongings, when you got it and describing the item.
This is great for insurance purposes and for comparing the damage after the storm.
10. Come up with a plan
Where will you evacuate to if the storm gets bad?
Be sure to relay your plans to your family and friends.
How will you ration the food portions, power from the generator, or keep the kids entertained when their electronics run out of power?
Converse with your spouse and go over a plan for everything just so you have an idea of what to expect when the unexpected occurs.
I Can’t Afford to Buy Everything On This List:
This list is what I consider a generally compatible list for most families and homes.
I’m pretty sure it can be expanded, if you wanted to be extra prepared for the possibility of longer periods of no electicity or water.
But this hurricane preparation list can also be shortened to the bare minimums.
The important thing is food, water, shelter, preserving your important documents and coming up with a plan.
Do not go broke trying to over prepare.
You may spend close to $1,000 on emergency preparations and find that you have to leave most of it behind as you evacuate, or worst case scenario, it floods in your area.
I am not saying this will happen, I don’t want to worry you, but as you can see, anything can happen.
We can only do so much and then work off of nature’s plans.
Every hurricane that is expected to hit land should be taken seriously, even if the track record for damaging your area is little to none.
My Experience With A Hurricanes Damaging Ability
When I was 14 years old I moved from living in California with my mom to moving to Florida’s panhandle. Before I moved to the panhandle of Florida, my father told me a large hurricane recently struck the town and tore down his home.
I did not fully understand what he was describing to me until I saw it for myself.
Standing in front of my dad’s lot at the end of his neighborhood that was one street long, my eyes grazed over the rubble that he once called home.
I remember thinking to myself that I had moved to live with him at the wrong time.
His house was the only house on the block that was blown down to the ground by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
He had to build back up from nothing.
It took about three years to get the house rebuilt. In the mean while, we lived in different apartments and townhomes as I witnessed my dad spend his free time before and after work driving to the house and working on getting it rebuilt.
My father told me that the state officials were urging the residents of the town to evacuate the day of the storm.
He did not have plans to leave his home and was dead set on toughing through the storm even though his wife had already began traveling up north to be with her family.
It wasn’t until the very last minute, after the news keep urging for people to evacuate, that he decided to pack up the car and head to South Carolina.
When he came back to his home after the storm passed, the house was in shambles.
What is worse is that he later realized he could have lost his life.
I wasn’t there for the storm but I was there for the aftermath.
Just enough to teach me a lesson in life.
That hurricane warnings can not be ignored.
That you can only prepare for so much.
And that I must be open to reconsidering my plans.
Stay positive and maintain your peace.
I know it can be overwhelming at the grocery store trying to find flashlights, water, and food all while bustling through the crowds.
But worrying and panicking will not help the situation.
Energy transfers and being in a closed building with people in panic for fear of scarcity in goods or on the road amongst drivers stressed with anxiety can easily influence your mood.
Keep calm, remain faithful that God
(The Universe, or who ever you believe in)
will provide for you.
I was at one store yesterday and there was no water to be found. At the register I calmly asked the cashier if the water was all gone. She told me yes and that I should have grabbed one as soon as I got in.
I agreed and continued to make small talk.
Before I left she offered me one last gallon of water she had underneath her register drawer. Maybe she was keeping it for her family, I have no idea.
But she offered it to me.
And I graciously accepted.
Right after that, I went to Wal-Mart and headed straight to the water isle and all of the water on the shelves was gone. There were two cases left of bottled water on the floor that was just brought out by the employees. I grabbed one case and placed it in my cart with the girls. I started to grab the second case and a man reached out for it at the same time. I could have continued to grab the case of water but I stepped back and let him take it.
Why should I be so greedy to allow someone to go without water if I already have a case for my family?
I pushed the cart with my girls and whispered to myself that we will be okay. As I strolled up and down through Wal-Mart collecting the rest of the things on my list, I came across a random isle secluded from other people that had fresh water bottle cases on the shelves.
I could not believe it.
The isle was by the cards and gift-wrapping and I’m not sure why it would be placed there but there it was and I grabbed a couple more cases for the house.
As I was checking out, the cashier said, “How in the world were you lucky enough to find three cases of water?”
“ God is good. He always provides.”
Stay tuned as I continue to write about my experiences during Hurricane Irma as a stay at home mom and wife.
Are you preparing for Hurricane Irma’s arrival?
What have you done to prepare?
If you are not in the state of Florida, how would you feel if you were in my shoes?
Comment below and let me know your thoughts!
And remember, you can find me on YouTube describing the tips in this blog in my video
10 Critical Tips For Preparing For Hurricane Irma 2017