Editor’s Note: Back in 2013, I ran a three-part series on what to do when a hurricane was approaching. Seven years later, with two named storms actively churning it seemed like a good time to look back, while also looking ahead, with the three phases of the storm. The three phases are before a storm arrives, the event horizon of storm arrival, and the aftermath following a storm’s departure. While this information is mostly geared to residents of coastal states in the path of storms, we encourage all of our readers to learn about the three phases of the storm. Today let us turn our attention to what to do before the storm arrives.
Although it may seem to some that the worst is over once a hurricane makes landfall and moves away or rains itself out, that is not always the case.
In a best-case scenario, one is left with some well-watered grass and a few tree limbs down. In a worst-case scenario however, one can be left with no power and in some case no home.
And as is the case with hurricanes and tornadoes alike, sometimes the line between the best-case scenario and the worst-case scenario is visible from each side.
There seems to be no rhyme or reason for why certain homes are flattened and others a few feet away in some cases are spared.
That is just the unpredictability of weather and shows why everyone needs to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Solely hoping for the best with no preparation could leave one far from high and dry.
As mentioned before, Hurricane Ike was the closest I ever came to realizing the worst-case scenario of a direct hit from a major hurricane.
Thankfully, once the storm had passed and I returned home, I found no damage and also had power and air conditioning.
A few towns up the road however my parents were not as lucky. While their home was completely structurally sound, it had a forest of fallen tree limbs in the front and no power inside.
The power was out for about a week at my parents’ house. Despite my invitations for them to come where there was power, they soldiered on in a nomadic tent fashion along with their neighbors until the lights were once again restored.
In case you are ever faced with a similar situation, let us focus on some tips for what to do in a post hurricane world with no power.
The first step for restoring order after a storm is securing the property. This could include removing tree limbs or simply mending fences or placing tarps over holes in the roof. As storms can arrive one after the other it is crucial that one is as prepared as possible to avoid further damage from additional rain. Calls to insurance adjusters will of course also need to be made during this phase.
The next phase of storm recovery, is to ensure that one has enough water and food to maintain proper hydration and caloric intake to accomplish and recover from the post storm cleanup.
Following Hurricane Ike, there were several areas set up where residents could pick up cases of water and Military grade Meals Ready-to-Eat (MRE).
Each day I would drive up from my comfortably air-conditioned residence and drive a few towns over to visit my parents in their self-imposed tent city. Upon arrival I would check the progress of the cleanup efforts and then take my mom to the park down the road where the ice, water and food was being handed out by relief workers.
It really was quite the operation to drive thru, pop open your trunk and have supplies loaded and then be sent on your way. While I do not wish a storm to come and put anyone in that position it was nice to see how calm the recovery can be.
Once back at my parents’ house it was usually time to crack open some MREs in the backyard tent. Of course, the first few days of meals consisted of neighbors grilling meat from their freezers as each level slowly defrosted. But once the meat was gone it was time for the MREs.
Now for anyone unfamiliar with a MRE, it is set up to allow troops out in the field to have a hot meal despite being far away from their base. This is accomplished through a chemical reaction that heats up the food to near boiling point without the need for open flame or anything not included in the MRE bag.
Of course, as a word of warning for anyone on a sodium restricted diet, MREs contain about 200 percent of the recommended sodium intake. These meals are purposely sodium heavy to replenish the salt lost by troops marching throughout the day.
So as a rule, if one is not doing massive amounts of physical exertion then a diet heavy in MREs would probably not be advised. It should also be noted that the chemical reaction that takes place in an MRE is banned on commercial airliners due to the potential explosive risk.
But during a post hurricane time of moving tree limbs, MREs can be and very much are a lifesaver and one tries to not think of the fact that they are basically cooking with explosives; albeit low grade ones.
Regarding the post storm cleanup, it should be noted that there are out of state contractors who will enter an area hit by a storm and offer to help areas recover. While most of these outfits are well intended, caution is certainly advised when dealing with out of state workers who do not have a brick and mortar office to bring any complaints to.
A good rule of thumb being if the price seems too good to be true, the bulk of it is required to be paid before any work is done, and the base of operations is the Motel 6, odds are it is not as good of a deal as it sounds like at first look.
Hurricane season is here and while the bulk of people will only have to deal with the before the storm phase, if at all, there will be a select few who experience all three phases of the storm this season.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a hankering for some MRE’s for some odd reason. I wonder how long they stay good for?
Copyright 2020 R. Anderson