For all of my Florida friends, especially those of us that it looks like will be impacted directly by the storm:
Looks like this storm is tracking towards us, so we have a few days to prepare. Don't take this thing lightly. Better to be prepared than get your butt kicked because you're lazy. Having lived here in Florida and and in the Caribbean for as many years and storms as I have, here's a few things to know.
- Don't go crazy buying groceries that need to be cold. The power WILL go out. Last storm it was out for four days and more here on our side. Buy canned goods and other food stuffs that you can be cooked or heated up on a grille. Make sure you have a full back-up tank of gas for your grille, even if you have to buy one. If the power does go out, go ahead and cook off all of the stuff you have in your freezer. Cooked food lasts a lot longer than thawed/raw food and a lot of it doesn't even need refrigeration.
- If you have a generator for yourself, test run it right now, and make sure you have extra gas in safe-storage containers. If you do use your generator, only use it to run your refrigerator, and only then for no more than four hours a day. That's more than sufficient to keep stuff relatively fresh.
- Before the storm gets here, be sure to top off all of your vehicles, even if they're close to full now. Don't wait for the last minute, either - you know how crazy it can get.
- If you have a bathtub, clean it very well and fill it up before the storm gets here. If for some reason we lose mains water, you'll have a stash for cleaning and such.
- Use paper plates whenever you can. The less you have to clean, the better
- Movie indoors anything that may blow around or get damaged in high winds. Even if the storm doesn't hit us directly, wind gusts from the storm can get pretty wicked.
- Be safe. Worry about you and yours first. Let the storm blow over before going out of doors and checking on loved ones or neighbors, unless there is a genuine emergency like a lost roof or a fire.
- Get a battery back-up charger for your cell phone. Phone service may be sketchy after the storm but you know already that phones are worthless when the batteries are dead.
- If you have an ice-maker on your fridge, make as much ice as you can before the storm gets here. I storm the cubes in one-gallon zip-locks and keep them flat in my freezer. On the day of the storm, I'm fill any empty space in the bags with additional water to freeze so I have solid blocks of ice - they last longer than cubes because they have less surface area.
- Do NOT take your pets out in to the storm. Let the dog shit in your lanai if you have one. No sense putting yourself in harms way so Fifi can take a dump.
- If you have any other suggestion, add them here as comments. Don't bother asking questions in this post. If they're good, sensible questions, ask them in a new post.
- Last but not least, don't wait for the last minute to head some of this advice. You may regret that decision. Best of luck to all of us.