I have lived in Hawaii for some time now, and it seems interesting to me whenever summer comes around and we start to hear about the hurricanes coming our way. Normally, our weather is perfect. Sometimes a little windy, sometimes a little rainy, but usually I am not thinking about hurricanes! Currently, we have Iselle two days out with tropical storm Julio close behind – both headed our way at about 8 to 10 miles per hour.
Typically, storms from the West come toward us and then they hit cooler waters and fizzle. Last year, we had Flossie barreling down for certain destruction – and poof – she was gone. Hawaii has been hit by two hurricanes – Iniki in 1992, which caused tremendous damage, was a hurricane that came from the South, not the West. Hurricane Dot also came from the South, and that was in 1959.
Regardless of whether or not the two storms coming now hit us directly or not, we need to be prepared. We know we are going to get a substantial amount of rain, which can cause flooding, mudslides, and road damage. We may have high winds, which can down power lines, throw debris through windows, and down trees. So with two days to prepare, what are the most important things to do before the storm gets here?
Clean Up Your Outside
Lawn Furniture. Do you have lawn furniture, or tables that could get blown into a sliding glass door? Move them into a safer place – a garage or carport if you have one. Tie them down if you can’t put them away. That is what you see in the photo below – a bunch of lawn furniture strapped together and tied to the desk post.
Dangerous Branches. Do you have any branches that are about to go? Take a look, and if you have time, get a tree trimmer to get that dangerous branch handled before nature takes it down for you. If you don’t have time, be aware, and don’t go checking on it when the storm is upon you! Stay away from that part of the house if winds get gusty – trees can do significant damage.
Windows. Boarding and taping windows takes effort and most of us don’t do it – but if I had a strong back and a bunch of plywood – I might just do the big sliders with plywood. I don’t have special tape, but there are kinds designed to put on windows that, after the storm, comes off easily. Not likely to get that two days before the storm – definitely something to consider having for next Hurricane season.
Take Care of the Inside
The Basics. Do you have batteries for flashlights? Do you know where your flashlights are? It is hard to find them in the middle of the night when it is dark and there is no power. Do you have a first aid kit? If not – probably a good idea to get one, or check the one you have to make sure it has the basics. I know I use my bandaids, and I should check to make sure I put the antibiotic cream back last time I used it. Do you have a battery operated radio, so you can hear the news? Do have children or pets? Make sure you have your cat or dog carrier for the pets in case you have to evacuate. Definitely make sure you have packed a bag for the kids in advance, with plenty of diapers if they are young.
Have Protective Clothing. Now here is a shocker – do you have shoes? How about a rain jacket? You might need to go outside during the storm – hopefully not – but if you do, you are going to need to know where your shoes and socks are located. If you are reading this and don’t live in Hawaii, you might think this is ridiculous. But since I never wear shoes – this is actually a task I need to have on my list.
Food & Water. How about food and water? Make sure you have canned food, or dried food that does not require refrigeration. We could be without power for a few days, so it is a good idea to have these items on hand. I put filtered water into ziplock bags and fill up my freezer. That way, if we lose power – I have extra ice. When it melts I have extra water. If you have a barbecue or a camp stove – make sure you have propane or fuel, so you can cook the food in the fridge that might go bad once you lose electricity. Just be sure not to cook inside – find a well ventilated place outside after the storm has passed!
So to sum up: food, water, fuel, first aid kit, batteries for light, rain gear, and clean up outside. That should do it. Have a safe time riding out the storm!