One of my most vivid memories as a child was when Hurricane Elena (1985) FINALLY made landfall. It was a very indecisive system. Very fun to track but what I remember most was flying a kite (which met an unfortunate end that day) before the bad weather started… or should I say, didn’t start. That was during the first evacuation. Yep, there were two because of the storm’s erratic path.
Truth be told, you just never know what these storms are going to do or where they are going to go. So, you must be prepared.
Now, when the hurricane finally pushes ashore it will be very squally. Strong winds with bursts of stronger winds in the mix and tons of rain. You will find me trying to sleep if Bill and my mother will let me. (They like to fret.) Those are pretty much your choices for what to do also: fret or sleep. I recommend sleeping because the weather following the storm will be hot and without air conditioning, sleep will be hard to find.
When the power goes out, there is no need to call and report it. They will already know. Hey, it’s a hurricane. The power will fail. the only question is, “When will it come back on?” So, sit back and try to relax.
When the weather calms, do not go outside and check things out. If the eye of the hurricane passes over you, the back side of the wall will come on you suddenly with great force. Stay indoors! Keep your radio tuned to the news and they will let you know when the storm has finally passed over the area. Even at that point, stay inside! If you do venture out, be extremely careful!
What to watch out for:
- Downed power lines, sometimes hidden in puddles. Call the power company.
- Dangling power lines. (We almost drove right into one of those when we were coming home to check for damage after Katrina.) Again, call the power company.
- Broken tree branches. A small gust could send one crushing down on you.
- Water covering the roadways. Never try to drive through flooded streets since you cannot determine how deep the water is.
Phone lines may be out and cell service will be difficult if available at all. Lines will be very busy so keep your calls to a minimum to allow space at the tower for emergency calls. Also, this might be a no brainer but, remember that your cordless phones will not work if the power is out. We keep an old push-pad phone available in our hurricane supply box.
Check with your neighbors and see if anyone needs help. Be willing to help and do not expect any help from government agencies for three days… if at all. Neighbors helping one another is the best way to recover from a storm.
Before calling your local insurance agent, remember that they were a victim of the storm too. Call the 800-number instead but do not expect an immediate response.
There is really not a lot more I can say except that each storm is so different and you cannot really know what to expect until you have been through several. Even then, you just never know. (I guess that is why I like storm season so much. I know… I need help. Ha, ha.)
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