The store was crammed packed with panicked people. As a lady ran past me pushing a shopping cart filled to the brim with gallons of water and canned foods it dawned on me that people in the area are on high dungeon because of the coming hurricane Sandy. Which really made me laugh hard in the middle of the damn store.
I've kept one eye on Sandy, scanning the weather report too, but not to the point where I think THIS IS THE APOCALYPSE!! Granted, no one in NYC and other Eastern Seaboard Mid Atlantic states are used to hurricanes but... the media is driving some extreme panic on this one. As I was driving to the store I heard my local radio, right here in the Virginia Piedmont, many miles from the coast, advising people all sorts of extreme measures that just aren't needed for a category one hurricane. They urged everyone to stock up on canned foods and water. Get all your medicines refilled! Pack a bag just in case you have to evacuate. A bit extreme for this area but completely appropriate if you're somewhere south near the Gulf and a category three is coming. Complete overkill.
We are not facing this
New Orleans house from the Lakefront area after Katrina
So how does a New Orleanian or a Cajun prepare for a big hurricane? My hurricane safety list is for those bad ones. Even for these small ones it's not a bad idea to fill a clean bathtub with enough water to force flush the toilet and have fresh batteries in your radios and flashlights just in case you lose power but not most of the stuff I'm going to list below.
1. Make sure your car is filled with gas.
2. Board up your windows with plywood. Tape is useless.
3. Drag a mattress, pillows, blankets into the most protected part of the house. Somewhere with no windows that you and your family can hunker down during the worst parts of the storm. Make sure you have things with you to keep you occupied, a pile of games, a book, that sweater you're knitting. This place should be on the ground floor just in case a tree crashes through the roof. If you have little kids and they are whining try your best to make it a fun adventure, have sing alongs, play games.
4. Make sure you have canned foods and bottled drinks. A little liquor is recommended as we Cajuns tend to use alcohol for everything. Freaking out over the winds and water, have a nice little nip of Bourbon and you'll feel much calmer.
5. Fill the bathtub with water to flush your toilet just in case the water cuts off. You'll need to put a bucket next to the tub to fill the toilet tank.
6. Make sure you have an old fashioned transistor radio and flashlights as well as extra batteries. Better still is a NWS weather radio with battery capacity to keep up with the watches, warnings and essential information.
7. Each person should have a packed bag with a few changes of clothes and all essential medicines. If you have a pet this is a good time to crate them and pack a plastic storage bin with their food, medicines and anything else they might require if you evacuate. Good to pack a shot record because if you have to evacuate many places will not allow you to bring your animal if they have no vaccination record.
8. Use comment sense, if they say over the radio to evacuate, then do it.
9. Make sure you have a bit of extra cash just in case.
Just don't do like these New Yorkers did last hurricane.