I'm a NC girl born & raised, a wife to my college sweetheart, mom to my sweet daughter Caroline & fur-mom to my floof, Riley. I love summer days at the beach, fall weekends in the mountains, & everyday in between exploring new corners of the world. I live for Italian food, tacos & margaritas. Currently taking life one adventure at a time.
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As Hurricane Florence approaches the Carolinas, you can bet we have been taking precautions all week to prepare for this category 4 hurricane. Initially, it was supposed to be a direct hit for Raleigh. Some reports said the eye was going to go right over us. However, over the last few days, Florence has changed course. Even though it may miss Raleigh now, it is still a great threat to our coast and to our state.
Fortunately, as of this morning Hurricane Florence has slowed down to a category 2 storm. What a lot of people don’t realize, though, is that a category 2 hurricane can still be pretty devastating. As someone who remembers the aftermath of Hurricane Fran, I’m worried about the impact this storm will have on our state. Downed trees, downed powerlines, and flooding can cause a lot of problems. Not to mention the wind gusts and potential tornadoes can be very dangerous as well.
Last year, I wrote a post about how to prepare for a hurricane as a private photo editor, but this year I want to do a more personal post. I want to share with you about some of the things we’ve been doing to prepare for Hurricane Florence, as well as some tips that you may not have thought of.
1. Stock Up on Water
A lot of people don’t realize that if the power goes out, it’s not just drinking water you’ll need. You need water to be able to brush your teeth, bathe, and even flush your toilets. If you’re able to get bottled water before the stores sell out, make sure you enough to last a few days. If you are afraid you didn’t get enough water, fill up any containers you have around the house before you lose power. This includes pitchers, vases, growlers, and buckets. The Home Depot buckets only cost about $3, and are strong enough to hold 5 gallons of liquid. If you’re desperate, grab a couple of those and fill ’em up!
You’ll also want to clean out and fill up your bathtubs. It’s better to have water and not need it than to need it and not have it! Use the water in the tubs for bathing or for flushing toilets. Don’t forget to take your pets into account when stocking up on water.
2. Buy Solar Chargers
If the power goes out, you’ll be really glad you have one of these. We use solar chargers to charge all of our electronics when we are in a pinch. This is the one we use, and it works great!
Mostly, we use these to charge our phones. However, if you are out of power for an extended period of time, this can be use used to charge an iPad or other larger electronics. This will not charge a laptop, but it is great for the smaller stuff.
3. Get Cash
If your area is hit really badly and power is out, you will not be able to use your credit or debit cards. In some cases, power could be out for a week or two (and sometimes even longer than that). Make sure you pull out some cash and stash it in a safe place in case of an emergency. You can always deposit it back into your account if you don’t use it.
4. Don’t Forget About Your Pets!
Unfortunately, animals can be an afterthought when preparing for a big storm. We are so worried about making sure we are taken care of that we forget about our furry friends. Make sure you stock up in dog food, toys, puppy pads, and treats before the storm hits. If stores are without power for a few weeks, it could be difficult to buy dog supplies if you run out.
If you are evacuating your area, please — PLEASE — DO NOT LEAVE YOUR ANIMALS BEHIND. Take them with you or make other arrangements to make sure they’re safe. Do not tie them to anything or leave them behind in a crate. I seriously can’t believe people actually do this.
5. Buy A Solar Lantern (or two)
Everyone knows to stock up on flashlights and batteries, but if the power goes out for an extended period of time, you may find yourself wishing you had something that was solar powered. Last year, I discovered inflatable solar lanterns, and I LOVE them. I bought a smaller, clear inflatable lantern, and a larger, frosted inflatable lantern. The inflatable lanterns are great because they’re really compact and very easy to store.
I admit that I didn’t realize that the clear one was so much smaller, or I would have just purchased 2 of the larger lanterns. Honestly, I prefer the larger frosted lantern. It’s not quite as bright to look at, and it still lights up the room with ease. The smaller one is still great, I just don’t like it as much (just a personal preference). You won’t regret making this purchase!
6. Buy a Couple of Tarps
If something does happen to your home during the hurricane, you want to be ready to take action. Whether the roof is leaking or a window is busted, having a few tarps handy will allow you to patch up the problem immediately. If there are no tarps in stores and you’re desperate, consider getting a few extra shower liners or a painting drop cloth.
7. Grab Charcoal or Propane Tanks for your Grill
If you’re like us and you have an electric stove, you’re going to be in trouble if the power goes out! It’ll be impossible to cook anything. If you have a grill at your home, make sure you stock up on gas or charcoal (depending on your grill) so you can still cook food if you are left without power for a while. Don’t forget to grab some matches if you need them!
8. Protect Your Valuables
If you have to evacuate, make sure you bring all of your important documents with you. Social Security cards, birth certificates, passports, cash, bank statements, hard drives, pictures and all of the other crucial documents you can think of. Whether you need a waterproof container to take with you as you evacuate, or if you want to try to protect some of the things you’re leaving behind, consider getting a waterproof kayaking bag. While these aren’t guaranteed to keep your things dry when fully submerged, it will give them a fighting chance. These bags are designed to keep valuables dry as along as they are not underwater. Try to store it up high away from any flood waters.
9. Buy an Axe (or Chainsaw)
If you’re like us and you’re in a townhome that doesn’t have a ton or storage, you may consider grabbing an inexpensive axe just in case you need it. Rain + high winds can cause tons of downed trees and branches. If a branch or tree lands across your driveway or road out of your neighborhood, it is good to be prepared! You can’t rely on a neighbor having a chainsaw to come help you.
10. Do Laundry
This is one I think we can easily forget about when preparing for a storm (especially during a busy workweek). If you have piles of dirty laundry in those baskets, make sure you do all of your laundry before the storm hits. If you find yourself without power for a week or two, you’ll be SO glad that you got everything cleaned.
11. Keep All Electronics Charged
Make sure that you keep all of your electronics on their chargers as the storm approaches. A no-brainer — I know. This includes your phones, mp3 players (if you are like me and still use one), iPads, laptops, iWatches, rechargeable batteries, solar chargers, and anything else you can think of. Honestly I’m just including this tip because I’m currently working on my laptop and it’s down to 11%…which is totally something I’d do without thinking just before we lose power.
12. Download the GasBuddy app
I recently discovered the GasBuddy app. This is a free app that will tell you who has gas in your area. You can search by the type of gas and distance from your home. This app saved us a few days ago when every gas station near us was completely out!
Other Tips to Consider:
Make sure you have enough of any prescription medications you need to take in case you’re unable to get any for a week or two.
If power does go out, keep your freezer and refrigerator closed. Try to open the doors as little as possible. This will help keep things cold longer.
Move all of your expensive electronics (computers, TV’s, etc.) and valuables away from windows. Also move to a different floor if you are expecting flooding.
Keep all of your cars full of gas before the storm hits. It could be a while before gas is available in your area!
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