Hurricane season begins on June 1 and runs through November 30.
Living in Louisiana, preparing for hurricane season every year is a way of life.
And, for those of us that got lax, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita got us back on our toes.
So, where do you begin preparing for hurricane season?
The most important thing you can do is this: get ready NOW.
Don't wait until a hurricane is bearing down on you before you try to get your supplies together!
Stores run out of things fast when a hurricane is approaching.
If you live in a coastal area, you should definitely have your evacuation route planned and a checklist for evacuation supplies that you will take with you.
Make sure your pets have their vaccinations up to date, and have your pets' vet records in your evacuation kit, as evacuation shelters will not let your pet in without being up to date on its shots, etc.
We never let our cars gas tanks get below half a tank during hurricane season, just in case a storm sneaks up on you.
Lighting and Electricity
If you have a generator, now is the time to crank it up and make sure it starts and runs OK.
Make sure you have an extra spark plug, motor oil, and fuel.
Your supplies should also include two or more 100’ heavy duty extension cords and the multiple plug-in power strips to get the electricity into your home.
You should also have at least 2 battery powered lanterns (we have one for each room of the house), a battery powered radio is a must, and a battery powered TV can be a real blessing.
Each person in your household should have their own flashlight.
Make sure you have batteries for all of your flashlights and lanterns.
You should have enough batteries for replacements three times for each light.
Some extra bulbs for your flashlights and lanterns will come in very handy too.
I buy a couple of packs of batteries every time we go shopping during hurricane season.
This way, you don’t have that big expense all at once, plus you don’t have to worry abut the stores running out.
A Coleman stove is a must if your stove is electric. Your electricity just about always goes out. If you have a gas stove, you may be OK. Make sure you have fuel for your Coleman stove.
If you do any grilling, you should make sure you have plenty of charcoal.
Your bar-b-que pit may become very important in your food preparation if you go without electricity for a week or so.
We were without electricity for about a week after Hurricane Katrina. What happens is that everyone in your neighborhood that doesn’t have a generator will lose everything in their freezers…
So, rather than let all that food go to waste, we’d throw a block party every night and grill it all up. Hence, your need for plenty of charcoal.
We had some major block parties grilling huge amounts of food that would have otherwise spoiled and gone to waste.
Food and Water
You’ll want to have food and water on hand for a week. You can not depend on being able to buy food after a hurricane.
The stores may not even be open, they will most certainly be out of almost everything, and as in the case after Katrina, we couldn’t even use credit cards or debit cards for about a week because the entire telephone infrastructure was destroyed (credit/debit cards are processed over the phone lines).
If you wait until a hurricane is approaching, two things can hurt you – the stores will be a madhouse, and out of most basic necessities, and it will cost a lot of money to buy everything all at once.
What we do is, every week all season long, we buy a few hurricane supplies every time we shop. That way, the financial burden is not really felt.
Every week when we buy our groceries, we buy a few canned goods, a few bottles of water, a few packs of batteries. Adds maybe $15 - $20 a week to your grocery bill.
Buy food stuffs that you normally eat anyway, and after hurricane season is over, you just eat it up. You’ll save on your food budget after the season while you’re eating up your supplies.
If you bought any food items that you wouldn’t eat except in an emergency, you can give you your local food bank. (They have people that have food emergencies every day.)
Use it up or give it away, and buy fresh food next hurricane season.
If the power is out, the gas stations can’t pump fuel. And, if the phone lines are down, you can’t use your credit cards at the gas stations. And, if people are evacuating, and you live in the evacuation path, the gas stations may run out of gas for days at a time.
The best thing you can do is go ahead and start buying gas every week beginning in June.
Every Saturday, I go fill up one or two 5 gallon gas cans and put them in the shed. I like to have 50 gallons (10 5-gallon cans) on hand.
After hurricane season, you just put the gas in your car.
These days gasoline is a good investment. You’ll actually make money doing this as the price of gas will certainly be way higher in a couple of months no matter what. If a hurricane hits, it will be through the roof.
Just make sure you have everything that you need on a regular basis on hand at this time of year. When you think of something, put it on a list and get it the next time you do shopping.
Getting you supplies over time, instead of when you’re in a panic, is the best thing you can do to prepare for hurricane season.
More Useful Hurricane Season Information
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