The ending days of summer mean our outdoor lives are still in full swing so a weather event like Irene—at the time of this post, a category 2 hurricane expected to make landfall in North Carolina sometime tomorrow and chug up the coastline to New England by Sunday, affecting more than 65 million people living in its path—is truly an unwelcome visitor. It’s been a long time since we were hammered by hurricane Bob here in coastal Massachusetts, but I remember it well. If you are anywhere in the path of this powerful storm, devote today to some basic, but important, hurricane preparedness measures.
We did our shopping early yesterday, stocking up on drinking water and non-perishable foods, readying flashlights, a first-aid kit, a battery-operated radio, and making sure we were stocked up on batteries, candles and lamp oil. Growing up in Florida, one of the things I remember is that the bathtub was filled to the brim at the first signs of an impending storm. Our house had well water, and if the power went out, you had to rig up a hand pump to supply the water needed to flush the toilet.
Today I plan to put away garden chairs and other lightweight stuff that could blow away or crash into something. My house has shutters on all the windows, so those will be closed at the last minute—no use living in a darkened house longer than you need to. There are so many little things to keep in mind, like making sure your cell phone battery is fully charged. Then there are the details like walking around the garden and pruning any small trees or shrubs that are overgrown (trimming now can help them survive high winds). If your cars or trucks have to stay out in the storm, make sure you have them in a sheltered spot, near a building if you can (but avoid proximity to trees). And if you have a boat in the water, you know the drill—either haul it or get it on a mooring!
Be prepared and stay tuned to your local weather channel. If officials are recommending evacuation in your area—heed their warnings and stay safe.
To learn more about preparedness, common house failures during hurricanes, and how to improve your home’s storm resistance, consider: