Introduction: Advice for the Hurricane Noobs

About: Engineer making renewable energy products for African entrepreneurs.

I've been through a few storms.. and I think now is a good time to share some advice that you never really hear about... I was caught up in Andrew, Wilma, Katrina, school was bashed by Charlie (a day before I went up there) etc. etc. etc. others that I don't recall their names.

I still live here because 1) I have way less Earthquakes than those in the west 2)I have way less tornados than those in the midwest 3)I have way less blizzards and other nasty weather than those in the north and north east 4)some of the worlds best scuba diving is down the street from me and/or a short boat/plane ride away 5)I ate a flamingo.

I know these are not instructions per say.... its more of advice which will hopefully influence the instructions you should have already gotten by moving into a hurricane zone :/

Step 1: Trees

You may of heard of this one...

Now is a good time to thin out your tree branches. Or the storm will do it for you and it will probably impale your car in spite of it (hey, hurricane's hate the work just as much as you do). Oh, and 2 days before the storm is NOT a good idea. That's like giving a bag full of water balloons to evil 10 year olds and telling them not to throw them at that group of elderly people getting off the bus.

Step 2: Patio Furniture

If you run out of space to store things... like patio furniture... AND you have a pool... just throw it in there if it won't get damaged. This set is made from fiberglass. My only regret is not putting my scuba diving gear on and playing solitare down there while my friends take pictures :P

May I also recommend annoying siblings and other people you'd rather not live without power with for more than 3 days....

Step 3: Cars

Photograph your car before the storm. For this storm, I was on campus and stayed at the shelter (ironically a big glass building). I parked my car in a garage and found my car was pressure washed when I got back :P I guess 24 hours of warm slim fast and cold pizza was worth it :P

Step 4: More on Cars

Don't Park Under That Tree

Step 5: Mailboxes

Should your mailbox fall over or in some way shap or fashion have the need to join the special olympics, there's nothing wrong with attaching your mailbox to a street post that somehow did not get crushed by the same tree that feel from across the street knocking down that person's mailbox (that's not really the street address :P)....

I personally favor the magical lizard and hibiscus technique. It also doesn't help that your post is an old RAIL ROAD TIE....

Step 6: More on Trees

Don't be an arse.... There is no F'in way that the trash guy is coming today... the day before Wilma....

Step 7: Again With Trees and Cars

After the storm, your car will be covered branches, debris and whatever poor animal that could not find shelter elsewhere... Its a good idea to clean that up before the next storm rolls around...

Step 8: Shelters

Need to fill your air mattress and forgot the air inflator pump?

Build one yourself :D

Step 9: Cars - After the Storm

Really, don't drive your car arround. I know its tempting - human nature. But don't. My neighbor got three flat tires from debris, roofing nails, etc. that were on the road after wilma. Luckily, the patch kit had four patches :P

Also, should a curfew be put into place... DO NOT DRIVE... After Charlie, four students that went to my university died instantly when their motorcycles hit a tree that had fallen into the road. Everyone died instantly....

Saving images like this are kinda interesting :P

Step 10: Transportation - After the Storm

Should the power go out... and it looks like it will be out for awhile... don't drive your car all around... let it be.

It pisses me off to hear that a colleague of mine was riding his bike to work (they had backup power and a/c -- its an engineering firm) and he saw a person in a Hummer2 just driving around... 1 Person!

So ride your bike when the roads are clear, get to know your neighbors....

Step 11: No Glove No Love....

Yeah, there is a little spike of births that occured nine months after Andrew...

I kinda wished the animation worked... but you get the idea... be 'safe' :D Unless of course you're looking for an addition :P

Step 12: Alcohol

Okay... this one is up to you....

Once you have made all of your preparations... its time to party... but here is what I follow...

Cat 1 & 2 -- drink like normal... mudslides are traditional in my family for a hurricane.
Cat 3 -- drink a little less... just in case
Cat 4 -- Maybe just one Blue Moon (One of my favorites -- a Citrus based beer :P)
Cat 5 -- you're an idiot to even buy beer... put the money towards pop tarts because that's what you're eating for the next week

The idea is not to panic... If you're given lemons... Make a lemon Grenade launcher. But don't be stupid. 911 response will not work should you decide to do some electrical work with a BAC of .12 :P

Step 13: Parking

If possible, park away from tall trees and such... kinda like this :P

But, cars make good blast shields for your house... iono about you, my home is more valuble than my car... And considering that I have two rooms built into my garage (so there's not too much protecting that)... my cars are parked in front of the garage door to provide a wind/debris barrier...

Step 14: Shutters

If you need to use plywood... get it early if possible...

I also recommend that you buy your concrete anchor screws and drill bits now.

In addition to that, I highly recommend a hammer drill for setting your anchor holes. It goes much faster than a regular drill and tyically it has a setting for hammer or no hammer. The cost is a little bit more, but well worth it IMO.

I personally have metal shutters... I guess they are some sort of steel alloy, I don't know because I left my X-ray spectrometer in my other pants. They are corrugated (gives them higher shear strength) and they are bolted (using wing nuts) into a track that has been anchored into concrete (the track or anchor hole stays there year round).

Oh yeah... when plywood sells out... they move on to particle board/chip board... It's not as strong and you're likely to only get 1 use out of it... so buy early ;)

I don't have a suitable picture... but here's one from the Bravehart (sp?) party :P

Step 15: What to Do

Now, if you're a good well prepared person... you can goof off while everyone else waits in three hour long lines for particle board....

I personally just go for a stroll in my $2 thrift store stilts.... held together with electrical tape and a spare bolt pin that's not qutie long enough :P

Step 16: Lastly, Why I Don't Move Elsewhere

Our trees have bigger nuts than your trees :P