Hurricane advice from those who have already lived through a hurricane

ABC7 Sarasota 2019 Hurricane Special: Surviving A Hurricane

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Though the tropical development in the Gulf won’t be heading towards the Suncoast, it forces you to think about the possibility of another hurricane heading for our shores.

We wanted to know: What is one piece of advice you would have for someone who is new to hurricane season?

We put that question on the ABC7 Facebook page and received more than 400 suggestions from people who wanted to share something they know NOW that they WISH they knew when they first came to Florida.

If you’re planning to leave, commenters gave this advice:

1.) Prepare early - Get the things you’ll need on the road, like snacks, food, pet food, prescription medications, water and gas, early. Do NOT wait until you have no choice but to leave. Get your supplies in order before there’s even a mention of a hurricane.

  • Paul Harris: "Keep plenty of gas in your car."
  • Enrique Hernandez: “If you don’t evacuate early you may never get out of FL.”
  • Jane Thurston Harris: “Leave early... Make it a vacation! As soon as season hits always pick up extra water at Publix on your shopping trips. Keep a full tank of gas! And back up in the garage.”
  • Michael L Streeter: “Keep all important papers in one box, and have a plan for pictures that can’t be replaced. Everything else can be replaced. And put shutters on and get out early.”

2.) If you're told to evacuate, DO IT.

  • Pam Story Fitzgerald: "Heed the warnings."
  • Enrique Hernandez: "If you stay when they tell you to evacuate you may die."
  • Jennifer Crowe Smith: “Get your supplies... pet food, gas in cars, grills and do, not panic. You hide from the wind but run from the water. Know your flood zones.”
  • Lorie Poho: “Take photos of your property and contents, (serial/model numbers) before a storm arrives. Get a dry bag for your important documents and back up all your devices and keep the zip drive in the dry bag also.”

If you’re planning to stay, commenters gave this advice:

1.) Start getting your supplies now and remember that you may be without power for several days. You'll need water, food that can be prepared without a heat source, gas for a grill, ice to keep food cold, pet food and water for your animals, flashlights, batteries, candles, a generator, cash for making purchases, prescription medications, and at least one commenter recommended battery-powered fans to try to beat the heat.

  • Tisha Bridges: "Don’t wait til the last minute to stock up on water!! Just buy a case or 2 every time you go to the store."
  • Gay Rosnett: "Battery operated fans are lifesavers. #7daysnopowerthxIrma"
  • Cynthia Wolking Norberto: “Get a generator rather you use it or not. you will be thankful if you have it and you loss power for days at a time and there isn’t any food water or gas to be found. Prepare thru the year. Take advantage of the tax free hurricane supplies. Never wait til last minute. there will be nothing left on the store shelves. lots of bottled water and supplies. I live in hurricane country. I have learned al ot since living here. Get a weather radio also.”
  • Linda Breest Fox: "If you think ordering flashlights and batteries via Amazon Prime five days in advance will get you what you need in time...WRONG!"
  • Stacy Huffman Fletcher: “Thoroughly wash and fill up old milk jugs with water and freeze leaving a bit of room for expansion. The jugs help keep your freezer cold during power outages. If a severe storm with water issues you can drink the water or give to your pets.”
  • Todd Rasmussen: “Do your best to protect your windows and home. Don’t believe what people about the wind. The wind won’t hurt you. It is everything that is being blow around by the wind that hurts.”

2.) When you're in the hurricane, keep calm. The aftermath of being without power (or cell service) for days is almost always worse than the actual storm. But still be prepared!

  • Kimberly Burnside: "Don’t freak out, it’s going to seem way scary than it’s actually going to get...... at least 90% of the time!"
  • Nhoj Lediek: "Keep a lot of beer on hand."
  • Bjørn Stornes: "If you decide to ride the storm out, throw a pry bar/axe/saw in the bathtub and a mattress in the bathroom, if the house comes down jump in the tub and pull the mattress on top of you, use the tools to get yourself out once the storm passes."
  • Leann Aldridge Moszkiewicz: "You will survive the hurricane, it's the long recovery of the aftermath that is the worst. You need to gauge your supplies by the strength of the Hurricane. Tropical Storm, CAT 1 and 2 no electricity for a week or so, CAT 3 and 4+, total devastation, need supplies up to a month or more. You do not want to go out there for food and water, money and gas, be self-sufficient until things get back to normal. Many flat tires from running over debris. Bees and wasps homes are destroyed and are very aggressive. Get large tarps in case you lose part of your roof. Stay with your house if you can, looters will be coming out of the wood work."
  • Jeanne-Marie Hakim Story: “Fill the bathtub with water if you have a well. No power = no flushing”
  • Maureen Herrick: “Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a good source of protein. Our power was out for 9 l-o-n-g days after Irma. It’s hot, you cant sleep, cant cook. Food is just not appealing in that environment.”

3.) Don't hesitate to go to a shelter, especially if you're near where the hurricane will make landfall or if you're in a flood zone.

  • Lora Stackpole Erclauz: "Get your pets microchipped. Get them up to date on their vacinations. Find out what shelters will accept them and what the shelters rules are."
  • Sarah Mae Maravilla: “Plan ahead, know the flood zones and where are the the nearest safe place/evacuation center in your area.”
  • Levi Barlow: “Relax and don’t freak out. You have plenty of warning ahead to make smart decisions. Waiting till the last minute is what causes the most problems.”
  • Shawenokwe Paige: “Even if they wave you down a different street because the one you are is flooded...find a place to pull over and don’t drive through standing water. It can total your car.”

What advice would you give? Join the conversation.

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