No sooner have I returned from my holidays and already a hurricane is on our doorstep. Never are you more aware of the beauty and power of Mother Nature than when you live in a hurricane belt.
Living in the Caribbean for as long as I have, I am no stranger to hurricanes and tropical storms but, by and large, (barring TS Otto that sent mudslides into my house in 2010) Mother Nature has been pretty kind to us in the BVI for the last decade. This year though, the gloves are off and we already suffered a huge storm in early August that caused widespread flooding and extensive damage to homes and businesses across the islands. Now Hurricane Irma is headed our way and looking increasingly like she’ll be at Cat 3 or 4 strength when she lands on Wednesday/Thursday.
We only have to look at the damage done in Texas recently to know that these storms are not to be messed with and my heart goes out to all those suffering in Harvey’s wake, especially as I make my own preparations for Irma’s arrival.
Thankfully we have the weather reports to keep us updated (I’ve also downloaded a really helpful app – Hurricane Tracker for $3.99) and we watch anxiously as she creeps ever closer… Still, forewarned is forearmed and these next couple of days will be spent stocking up on all the necessities and readying the house as best we can (read: putting up the hurricane shutters, setting out the sandbags and hoping for the best…).
Obviously, we are keeping all of our fingers and toes firmly crossed that Irma causes no trouble for anyone, but the motto that I’ve always adhered to is ‘Prepare for the worst and hope for the best’.
Want to see which supplies I will be packing to see me through the storm?
:: Water – the general rule of thumb is that you should pack one gallon of drinking water per person/per day (this should include animals) so for our little family we ideally need 4 gallons of water per day and we should aim to have enough to cover 3-7 days at least (More water will be needed for cleaning and washing.)
:: Canned food, non-perishable items and pet food – tinned soup, protein/granola bars, nuts (anything you can eat right out of the packet), crackers, cans of Beefaroni (don’t judge me…) and Pringles have always featured in my hurricane supplies since they can be eaten hot or cold, if absolutely necessary. I also like to ensure that I have an adequate supply of teabags (I might live in the Caribbean but I’m still British after all!)
A tiny selection of what I have squirreled away…
:: Passport, cash and important family documents – in a ziplock bag or waterproof box you need to ensure that you have your passport or travel documents, as much cash as you’re comfortable withdrawing (ATMs could be down for a while) and any insurance policy documents or other Id and banking docs.
:: Torches, batteries, candles and matches – no two ways about it, you’re going to be without power for some period of time, the question is, just for how long? Having an adequate supply of candles and torches will make life a lot easier. Then just grab a good book and hunker down. Be sure to fully power up your phone, kindle, laptop, tablet etc to keep them going for as long as possible.
:: Portable chargers – I mentioned these in a previous post here, they are great for travel and an island essential to see you through the regular power cuts. But, never are they more useful than during hurricane season. I have two (one large and one small) and will be fully charging them both. This will hopefully mean that I can keep my phone powered – then I just have to keep my fingers crossed that the phone signal holds out.
:: Books, playing cards and board games – not withstanding the fact that you have fully charged all your electronic devices, they are still unlikely to see you all the way through the power cuts. August’s storm saw some houses without power for 3-4 days and that’s nothing in the grand scheme of potential issues post-hurricane. My new favourite game is Monopoly Deal but you should also make sure you have a good book to read and maybe use this time as an opportunity to brush up on your poker skills with friends.
:: Wine, rum, gin etc – two words… hurricane party! It’s not big and it’s certainly not clever but, having a few cocktails sure does make being cooped up inside in the dark a little easier to cope with. (Whatever gets you through… right?) Get together with some friends, it’s going to be a long night!
:: First Aid Kit and Prescription Meds – for all the obvious reasons you’ll want to make sure that you have a small first aid kit (our one (linked) is fab and reasonably priced) along with at least a 2 week supply of your usual prescription meds.
:: Wet wipes, dry shampoo, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and other personal hygiene supplies – as unpalatable as it is to think about, you may be without running water for a while… a pack of wet wipes, hand sanitizer and some dry shampoo will help you freshen up, since you’ll be wanting to save the bulk of your fresh water for drinking. I’m packing up all my mini travel supplies as we will be de-camping to a friend’s house to ride out the storm.
:: Change of clothes and spare underwear – you never know if, or when, you might have to evacuate at short notice. Have a grab-bag packed and ready to go, just in case.
:: Other useful items – battery-powered radio, paper plates/cups, cooler with ice, can-opener/bottle opener, duct tape, tool kit, fire extinguisher and car charger.
Apologies, all these supplies don’t exactly make for the prettiest pictures, but they are very useful 🙂
Anyone got any tips to see me through this storm and the rest of hurricane season??
Wish us luck!!
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