Don’t Get Left Out in the Rain - Preparing for Irma
Hurricane Irma, the Category 5 storm in the Caribbean, may be headed our way folks. If you haven’t already started preparing, now is the time to do so.
The National Hurricane Center is currently predicting Irma to hit the southern tip of Florida early Sunday morning then make its way up the Southeast Coast. While the National Hurricane Center claims the average error for predicting a storm’s path five days out is about 200 miles, we’re not willing to take any chances.
Just to put it in perspective, Hurricane Irma is over 800 miles wide, roughly the size of Texas. Irma has become the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in recorded history.
As Irma caused turbulent and catastrophic destruction in the Caribbean, it left one million Puerto Rico residents without power and now the island’s electrical power authority is predicting total loss of power for up to six months.
While going through Florida will weaken Irma, it could still be a Category 3 storm by the time it reaches the Savannah area. Now is the time to prepare and have an evacuation plan in place. If you do plan to evacuate (we encourage you to) then be prepared for a long trip if you do not have family or friends in the state. Most in-land hotels are completely booked in the state of Georgia and those in Alabama are already filling up fast.
So what are the essentials? First, water. The grocery stores locally are selling out of this fast so call ahead and see when yours will get new shipments in. A general rule of thumb is to buy one gallon of water per day, per person for each family member, including pets. This amount of water will ensure that everyone has plenty to drink and will have clean water for sanitation purposes.
Now it’s time to think about food. Non-perishable food is a must during hurricane season, because if the electricity goes out you will still have something to eat. This can be canned soup, tuna, vegetables, or anything else that will help sustain you and comes pre-cooked. Don’t forget to stock up on baby formula or food and pet food as well.
Pull out some cash from the ATM. If there is a citywide power outage, debit and credit cards are rendered useless.
Gather up your important documents and keep them in a sealed, waterproof, easy-to-carry container. Think about grabbing social security cards, insurance documents and any identification such as passports.
Medications are also extremely important. Make sure you have them all together in one safe spot so nothing gets lost. Flashlights and candles are also always good to stock up on in case you have to go without power for a while.
Also be sure to think about your cell phone and get it prepared as well. You might need a backup battery or a device that you can charge in advance that will keep your phone charged for a few days. Also remember that even if you do not have a phone plan, or if it is not active, you can still dial 911 for emergencies.
Please do not ride out this storm. We encourage you to evacuate if possible. Whether our area gets hit in a major way or a minor way is anyone’s guess at this point, but it is better to err on the side of caution.
For more information on how to prepare for the storm, visit redcross.org/prepare.