Hurricane Tips for Newbies
You're going to experience one of the most fascinating natural weather phenomenons, and unlike tornados or earthquakes, you have the luxury of knowing it's coming. So be prepared.
1) Storm Surge. Anywhere near a river or the ocean? Where would the water be if it was 11 feet taller? If you answered "in my living room", plan on riding it out somewhere else. All that 110 mph sustained wind (constant, non-stop, not a gust) pushes all that ocean towards shore. It doesn't come in like a tsunami..it's a gradual thing. And for a Cat 2 storm, that can be 11 feet of water. Remember... New Orleans wasn't sacked by wind. It was destroyed by flooding from storm surges and rain overtaking 15 foot high levys.
2) "Cover your windows with X's of duct tape." MYTH: False. Putting "X's" in duct tape on your windows does nothing except leave "X's" of residue when you pull it off. It doesn't prevent shattering. The wind doesn't break your windows, flying debris does. And no amount of duct tape is going to prevent your neighbors lawnchair from being blown thru the glass.
3) "Cracking a window prevents your roof from blowing off because of equalizing pressure." MYTH: False. Opening a window not only allows wind, rain, debris to come flying into your house to plaster your walls, it actually makes it more likely the 110 mph wind with push up your roof from the inside.
Bottom line: Cover ALL windows with storm shutters, or plywood if you can. If you can't.. then...
4) Find an interior room on the ground floor without windows to ride out the storm. If the windows go, you'll at least have a place to hunker down. Prepare it with pillows, blankets, food, etc.
5) Prepare ALL your insurance documents and other important paperwork like birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc in ziplocks. You'll need this stuff for sure later, and trying to get an ins. payment without a copy of your policy or identification can add weeks or months to the process.
6) Prepare outside of your home NOW by bringing in plants, furniture, grills, tools, birdhouses and birdbaths.. at 110 mph, those things all become ballistic projectiles...perfect for smashing thru your neighbor's, or your windows.
Power could be out for WEEKS.
7) Fill up your car with gas. Get out cash from an ATM. Stock up on supplies. When the power is out, many gas pumps wont work. ATMs wont work. Many supermarket freezers won't work. Get that stuff now. It could be weeks before power is restored.
8) If you don't have a pool, fill up bathtubs with water. No, it's not to weigh down your house. If there's no power, the water company may not have power to pump water. You'll need this water for flushing toilets, making coffee, washing.
9) Get batteries. And a battery powered radio. It may be the only connection to news and information for weeks until power is restored.
10) Get a propane grill and gas to last for days. You're going to be reduced to camping status. That means if you want coffee, you'll need to boil the water on a grill, and pour it over the grounds in your coffee pot. If you want hot food, the grill may be your only salvation.
Hope this helps. Stay safe.