Lessons from a (Nearly) Native Florida Gal for Dealing with Hurricane Season

If it’s your first hurricane season in Florida, or even if you have been here several years, please read this.

Tampa Bay has not had a hurricane scare in a while, so everyone has been a little more dramatic than usual. Normally a Category 1-2 warrants no precautions since we normally have a Category 4-5 at least once a season.

From someone who has been here, done that, and made aid runs to affected areas while the storm was still surging, here are some suggestions for dealing with hurricane season:

  • If you are the type to board windows with plywood, spare yourself the insanity and buy pre-cut pieces to fit your windows before the hurricane season is upon us. If you are concerned but not that concerned, stock up on duct tape to tape your windows. If you are a nearly or true native, you probably have already eyeballed the pieces of furniture that, in case the weather people aren’t kidding, you can move in front of the windows in under 5 minutes.
  • Water. Even though it is coming down and you have natural water all around you, potable water is important. If you are not on a well, it’s really important. Fill up bathtubs, empty jugs, sinks – anything basically. If you are not on a well, chances are you will have a water contamination alert. If you have the ability to boil water, even if the power is turned off, then you can catch rain water in a barrel.
  • Don’t worry about stocking up on canned goods. Chances are, if it gets to the point where the power goes out, you have too much in the fridge and freezer to know what to do with before it goes bad. You can use a huge chest cooler to keep things cool and a manual can opener to open food. You can also invest in a camp grill. Oh, and before worrying about plywood, make sure your propane tanks are full and/or you have plenty of charcoal. You never know when you will be the only one with a grill and find yourself hosting the “let’s cook up everything in the freezer before it goes bad” party.
  • Ask for help from friends who don’t live next door. Your power is out; your neighbors’ power is out. Have friends in different areas and at least one rural friend. The rural friend has probably been there, done that, and is ready for power outages. The rural friend probably has the house prepared to hook up the generator they already own, and has full tanks of propane, diesel and a grill. The rural friend also has enough room for you, and all of your animals, and is thinking “the more the merrier”.
  • Hurricane parties are a thing. Not so much for the alcohol, but for the camaraderie. What’s better than suffering alone? Suffering with friends! Maybe you forgot batteries and they forgot a manual can opener. Banding together is one of the up sides to hurricanes.

What lessons have you learned for dealing with hurricane season? Do you feel more prepared as a Florida native (or nearly native)?

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