June 1 through November 30 is Hurricane Season, and for those of us along the east coast and the Gulf of Mexico, those six months are crazy. The storms are unpredictable at times. They wobble, some stay true to forecast tracks. Others have minds of their own.
At the moment, Florida and the those living on the Gulf of Mexico are staring down Tropical Storm, Isaac, which some forecasters are saying has the potential of turning into a Category 2 or 3 hurricane before it makes landfall somewhere in the northern Gulf. I’m not sure about that, but I’ve seen hurricanes do some really weird stuff and I don’t trust them. If anyone lived on the west coast of Florida in 2005, we all know about the unpredictability of Hurricane Charley. Tampa (my neck of the woods) was supposed to get that storm. Instead, it made a sharp right hand turn, elevated to a Cat 4 in the snap of a finger, and slammed into the Captiva/Sanibel/Ft. Myers area, giving no one time to leave.
I don’t know what level of storm Isaac will be when it passes near the Tampa Bay area, but I do know we will be on the east side of the storm, which is the bad side. The NHC (National Hurricane Center) has given my area sustained tropical force wind probabilities. That, combined with the rain bands feeding on the east side can cause flooding, beach erosion, uprooted trees and possible tornadic activity. That’s why I think it’s important that people in the area from Alabama to Florida start preparing for the possibility of being without power, water, etc. once Isaac decides to do his thing. If you are planning on riding out the tropical storm/maybe hurricane, the following lists are items you MUST have in your possession before the storm hits. It’s always best to be prepared than not. As Floridians are also coming into the most active part of hurricane season, the supplies will not go to waste if you don’t use them this time around.
Remember, if you lose power and water, you are going to be miserable, hot and in a very bad mood. Take inventory of what you already have on your shelves, and then shop. If you live anywhere from Ft. Myers north, today is the day to get your food and other supplies.
What you’ll need:
- 3 gallons BOTTLED water per person for at least 3 days, preferably 5
- 1 gallon bottled water per pet per day
- enough prescription medication to get you through 10 DAYS if you take any
- canned meat
- canned chili
- beenie weenies
- canned soups that don’t require water
- mustard/ketchup (no mayo unless you have some way to keep it cold or if you have handy packs from fast food restaurants)
- canned vegetables and fruit
- dry cereal
- peanut butter and jelly
- crackers and snacks
- instant coffee or tea
- instant creamer
- sugar, salt, pepper
- fresh fruit
- butter or margarine
- pet food for your pets
- baby food
- antiseptic hand soap
- paper towels, napkins and utensils
- paper plates
- plastic trash bags
- toilet paper
- Ziploc baggies
- DUCK tape
- wooden matches
- manual can opener
- lanterns/flashlights/non-burning candles (don’t want a fire)
- bug spray
- battery operated/hand crank radio
- batteries for radios, lanterns, etc.
- propane/charcoal/wood for grills
- charcoal fluid for the charcoal
- coolers for ice and food from fridge
- fill up bathtub with water for flushing the toilet
- first aid kit
- generator and gas to fill it
- Camping equipment/stoves/etc.
- board games, playing cards
- real books
- fill up cars with gas/check oil/tire pressure, etc.
As always, stay tuned to your local forecasts and follow instructions issued by your local authorities. If you’re told to evacuate, go. It’s better to take the precaution than endanger your and your family’s lives.
I would also like to make one more heart-felt request. If you find yourself in a bad, bad storm, whether it is a tropical storm, hurricane, whatever…do not leave your four-legged friends behind to fend for themselves. They rely on you to take care of them. You made that promise when you took them into your home. You would no more abandon your child to fend for itself, so don’t do it to your pets. If you say they’re just animals, imagine yourself as a helpless child in the midst of a disaster, and your family abandoned you. It breaks my heart thinking about it. If you have to go to a shelter and can’t take your pets, please find a friend who will take them for you until you can come back for them. Prepare. Have a plan in place in case the worse happens. Just please, don’t leave them alone.
So I guess that’s it for now. The weather is sunny here in the Clearwater/Tampa area but it’s getting quite breezy. I will update our status on my Facebook page. Unfortunately, we have no money to go anywhere, so whatever Isaac does, we’ll be riding out the storm, whatever comes this way. Everyone, keep those of us on the Gulf coast in your prayers that Isaac fizzles and becomes a fish storm. That would be perfect.