I’m not a novice when it comes to tropical storms. I survived Tropical Storm Dennis when I lived in Miami in 1981. I’ve also survived several hurricanes that hit New York City, while living in Brooklyn, including Super Storm Sandy. And I’ve learned to take all storms very seriously.
I now live in Jacksonville and we’re hunkering down and waiting for Tropical Storm Hermine to hit tonight. It will be the first large, hurricane-type storm to hit Jacksonville in 11 years. I’ve learned that even if I’m not in an area sure to be flooded (and I’m not), a water main can break and I’ll need to have a supply of water in the house. Everything runs on electricity in JAX. If the power goes out, the stove goes out, the refrigerator. Everything. I filled my Brita filtered pitcher with water to drink, filled an ordinary pitcher with filtered water, and made a container of fresh brewed iced tea for drinking. These I’m keeping in the refrigerator. I put all my thermal freezer bags in the freezer compartment of my refrigerator.I filled my container for ice cubes to the top with cubes and made two additional trays of ice. I didn’t shop for meat this week and I’m hoping what I have will keep if power fails.
I will fill my large blue plastic salad bowl and keep it filled in the sink for washing dishes. I filled plastic containers with water for washing dishes, and if (God forbid) a water main breaks and I need water to flush a toilet. I’ll also fill all my pots and containers in case they’re need for bathroom use. (Uugh) In addition I have new batteries for my emergency lantern and I have candles, if needed. I have easy access to my cat carriers in my outdoor storage ares should an evacuation be needed, but they’re not predicting anything as bad as that. I will keep my eye on the weather reports and if predictions worsen, I’ll bring my cat carriers into the house. I have cat and dog food and pet dishes I can easily transport, but I don’t think that will be necessary this time. Cans of tuna and a manual can opener are sitting on my kitchen counter, in case. These are easily transportable, if I have to leave, but I don’t expect that. I have a briefcase style purse near the door with my wallet (drivers license, bank cards, medical insurance cards). I know where my Social Security Card, birth certificate, will, and other important papers are if the storm gets bad in the wee hours, and I need to take them. I know where my rain poncho is.
Last week, during a heavy rain, not a major storm, large tree limbs in the neighborhood were severed and fell. So, when the rain gets heavier (probably around 5 or 6 o’clock this evening) I’ll move my SUV to the center of the church parking lot across the street from my house. It should be safe from branches falling on it there. I always keep a blanket spread out in the cargo area of my vehicle. So, if needed, I’ll have a blanket. Just by happenstance, I have a few beach towels in the back seat of the SUV and I’ll leave them there for the duration.
Super Storm Sandy was grossly underestimated and under prepared for. The results were devastating and some NYC residents have not recovered from their losses yet. Equally, many in New Orleans have not recovered from Katrina and Rita.