Advice for the Hurricane Noobs


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



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    22 Discussions

    I am not remotely religious, I hate most organized religions for being non religious , but now I need to take this off the list of good things to read for my scout troop. you may be pertty good at suggestions, but have darn little common sense. It is a very cool animation i WILL ADMIT, JUST TASTELESS, and quite stupid

     Couple of comments:

    Cat5--RUN LIKE HELL!  The only people that will be left after a Cat5 are dead ones.  When you leave, take your valuables, important papers, and photos.  We forgot the photos, and lost our honeymoon pics. :~(

    Long before storm season, measure your windows, and buy plywood.  Make your shields for your windows.  Then, when the Big Bad comes huffing and puffing, all you have to do is bolt them in place.  Nails are okay, but a ROYAL PITA to get out afterwards.

    Sign me,

    A Katrina survivor, now FAR away from Hurricane Alley!

    Oh, and 2 days before the storm is NOT a good idea. .there is no F'in way that the trash guy is coming today... the day before Wilma You are implying in both cases that trimmed branches and stuff ought not be left out on the lawn for the winds to throw about, right?

    5 replies

    Yes... I mentioned something about the storm impaling your car with the provided ammunition :P But even with these precautions... its still possible to blow out a window... They say to crack a few windows open to equalize the pressure (I'll add that :P)... We did so, but we still had a window blow out and it had storm shutters in front of it :P Yeah, we're saving out pennies for hurricane/impact resistant windows :P

    Since shutters don't shut anymore, I'd say that for everyone living in a high risk area need to keep a pre-cut stack of plywood handy and a supply of 3" deck screws. A power screw gun couldn't hurt either. That being said, part of the reason Andrew was so bad was the dang building codes were weakened to the point where they were gluing on the shingles instead of nailing them. The stripped shingles became missiles.

    Some commercial was talking about how the "chemically bonded shingles" were so much better than, well, something else. I figured they were glued together.

    When I said storm shutters.... I meant those corrugated panels that are set in a track -- and the track is anchored into concrete :P If you're going to buy a power drill just for this job... Spend the extra $20 and get a hammer drill (one that can be turn the hammer off). It will help drill your anchor holes and drive screws into concrete much faster/easier than a regular drill. And remember... screws... not nails.... screws.

    don't "crack" the windows it gives a place to catch the wind don't worry about the pressure it will equalize just fine

    yeah, hurricanes. my old school had the roof peeled off. Cant wait for the next one. I find it helpful to get someone to go outside and hook up a generator to hook up the fridge and the xbox.

    good job! they should print this as an insert into those standard brochures they give away during hurricane season! and like a bunch of other people... i think you should put something about food and charcoal in there..... like.... NOTE TO THE NOOBS: excessive opening and closing of fridges and freezers WILL make your food spoil faster!!!!!! open them as little as possible and only for a few seconds at a time! *seriously*. i also went without running water for two weeks after each of the three hurricanes. i loved it when the school opened back up!!!! FREE AC!!!!!! i live in Brevard county.

    Hello I live in Cancun, hurricanes ALL the time, and the best thing I have seen are the new (to me) storm-catcher screens, they go up easily, are not thaaat expensive and let light and some air inside (95% wind blocking power) And yes, do not forget the coal as you´ll get to throw parties with all the unfreezing food... The good part about hurricanes is that neighbors get more... well "neighborly" Oh, a machete comes in very handy.. easier to wield tahn a chainsaw, not as sacary and useful for other things as opening coconuts and looking fierce as a pirate ;)

    I have got to add to this: A: You totally forgot charcoal. That way, you can bust out the grill and party hardy with your neighbors after the power is gone and the food in your fridge is spoiling. Trust me on this, I'm a Central Floridian (born and raised) and I was definitely there in 2004 when we got slammed 3 times in one summer. B: For the love of god, rednecks, don't get into a fist fight over the last bag of ice at Wal-Mart! It makes us all look bad. :) C: Just because your parent's house is much safer than your dorm, keep in mind that if go home to seek shelter, you will swiftly be reminded why you moved out in the first place. Also, your grandma probably has the same idea as you do, so be prepared to get your butt handed to you in 25 consecutive games of Rummy. I love Florida, I miss it good. FYI, Japan gets hurricanes AND earthquakes! Guess where the military sent my husband and me. :)

    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 ROFLZ!

    thanks, I submitted a bug report... I can see just fine, but if I am logged out -- its not so pretty...

    don't forget food water and light don't expect to see the government to come bail you for 2 or 3 days minimum (plan for 4 or 5 or more a little more can help others dont scrimp on calories you'll burn them off soon enough) storms are far less scary with a little light plant trees that grow in the envionment (they have servived previous hurricanes)prepare from year to year not season to season or worst yet storm to storm after the storm do NOT go driveing around to sightsee let the emergency crews start the work downed powerlines killed more people then the storm it self from willma don't become a statistic wait till full daylight and don't step in puddles look for downed lines loose trash in trees and such signed a soul that lives in the middle of broward county FL and had NO electricity for 2 weeks after wilma

    2 replies

    I hear ya :P I'm currently in Coral Springs (and no, I don't care that you know what city I'm in...). We never had to boil our water (stayed on the whole time)... What was really nice... our has has a solar assist heater... driven by a solar powered pump (a lot of designs use an electric pump). We NEVER had to take cold showers :D I'm going to add some stuff in a few minutes.. the driving thing is a good one (my neighbor got three flats in one trip - ucky).

    by week 2 i woulda killed (well maybe brused) for a hot shower i now carry a tire patch and plug kit with a pump in my van i got 2 flats in a week