Tropical systems aren’t exactly strangers to this state. But Irma’s size made an impact.
The last 20 years saw so many “named” storms that I’ve forgotten most of them. There are a few that remain stamped in my memory though. If you follow me on Facebook or have read this post, you know that my family moved from Homestead, Florida to Jacksonville, Florida in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew turned our home, and all the homes on the base where we lived, into rubble.
When you’ve seen personal belongings strewn about, you gain some respect for these forces of nature. When you realize that the car parked in front of your house was thrown down the street, you gain a healthy amount of fear too.
Family Preparations for Hurricane Irma
We live in North Florida, in a suburb of Jacksonville — “The River City.” Hurricane Irma gave new meaning to the nickname. The storm surge, tremendous amount of rain, and and the river are responsible for historic flooding in the region.
I prepped for Hurricane Matthew last year. And though it got hairy for a few minutes at the height of it, it was no match for Irma. Thank God, she weakened before it got closer to us. The sounds of unknown things hitting the house, blue flashes as transformers blew, loud cracks as trees fell or lost limbs, all in the dead of night as we huddled on the floor in the safest part of our house kept my husband and I up all night. In fact, it kept almost every adult up.
My husband kept watch by the window that wasn’t boarded up. We have two palm trees in our backyard. On is a sturdy, squat little thing that isn’t budging. The other is a super tall, slightly uncertain skinny palm that we normally forget until it starts swaying wildly in a storm. That one would land in the bedrooms. Even more terrifying are the tall maple trees just on the other side of the fence in our next door neighbor’s yard. They are awesome neighbors and though they have the trees maintained and checked out by experts before each storm, you never know. In fact, one of the trees is currently inside their swimming pool–but at least it didn’t land in their house. Luckily, we only got large branches and all the leaves.
The craziness before a tropical storm system
With images of Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath still broadcasting, news of record breaking Irma’s approach spurred a buying frenzy. Gasoline sold out, generators flew off shelves, non perishables became nonexistent on store shelves. People stocked up on supplies or got the hell out of dodge. I ordered items well before the hurricane’s arrival on Amazon and they still showed up after the storm. I’m talking a week in advance on items ordered with Amazon Prime. So plan early and get what you need before that little red hurricane symbol shows up anywhere near the US.
Even with the storm coming, I went to the store and did my normal bulk shopping. I packed the loaves of bread and meat in the deep freezer with a weeks worth of ice. The ice maker and all the containers in the house worked around the clock. I made A LOT OF ICE. No joke.
Power outages and flooding resulted in empty refrigerated shelves. Stores were sold out of ice. People still without power struggled with the heat.
The stores are slowly getting their supplies. A week after the storm, piles of garbage, recyclables, and storm debris clutter the curbside. The city announced several times that waste services were resuming but it hasn’t happened yet.
But neighbors also helped neighbors. Generators were freely offered by those who got their power back earlier than others. Parents helped clean debris at the schools. Friends did what they could to help friends. Disasters bring people together. Politics and entertainment don’t mean anything when you need to focus on the basic needs of your family.
All eyes are on Maria
The forecasts show this new threat turning to the North after ravaging already beleaguered islands. Hurricane Irma’s track showed it moving farther to the west than it did as it passed Jacksonville.
So if you want to know what I am doing right now…
I’m making ice.
Preparation saves lives
Whether you evacuate or shelter at home, preparation is imperative — especially when you have children. Though my husband and I lost out on work as we prepared our home then helped with clean up, our kids had a blast “camping at home.”
A few amazing bloggers invited me to share my experience and tips with others in a bundle of digital downloads. So I compiled some of my best tips into a small ebooklet. Necessity breeds invention and when some of the things that I needed to protect my home could not be found in stores I had to think outside of the box.
I hope these FREE RESOURCES will help keep your family safe as well. My kids have memories of time spent together as a family with no work or school interruptions for days before and after the Hurricane passed. They see the trees and downed power lines. But they slept through the scariness. Hurricane Andrew was a life changing event for everyone that lived in South Florida at that time. I know quite a few people who had their lives changed when their homes were flooded, branches crashed through their roofs, and trees were uprooted. This time we were both prepared and lucky.
Several of us have put together an amazing bundle of printables for everyone to have for free upon signing up for our email lists!
Here’s what’s included:
Katelyn from What’s up Fagans? has a Personal Document Protection printable, which is basically a simplified checklist to help you make sure your old photos, videos, audio files, journals, and other documents protected physically and digitally!
Carrie of A Mother’s Shadow has a great Dutch Oven Guide! In many emergencies, you may find yourself without power which can make cooking food difficult, unless you have something like a dutch oven which is easy to carry and to cook a wide variety of foods in.
Katie of Clarks Condensed has a very helpful 72 Hour Kit Checklist. Should you find yourself having to leave in a hurry, you and your family can simply grab your 72-Hour kits and head out the door, knowing that you’ll have the food, bedding, clothes, tools, medicine, toiletries, fuel, and personal documents you need.
Kristina from Mother’s Niche has an Emergency Car Kit printable so that you are never stranded helplessly on the side of the road, not knowing what to do, nor having the tools and supplies to help in this emergency.
Camille of My Mommy Style has a handy Family Fire Safety Log where you can track your family’s readiness in case of a fire in your house, as well as make sure you are checking your smoke and CO detectors.
Receive all of the above printables for FREE when you sign up below. May you be prepared for whatever may come your way!