The first thing you must decide is whether to stay or go.
Depending on how close to a body of water, the strength of
your home, especially the roof, decide.
Many people die because they ‘can’t leave’ their homes.
These homes might not stand up to hurricanes, but make
The force of the wind, especially when it turns everything
it lifts into a lethal weapon, the deluge of rain, which
turns a gentle stream into a raging river, can kill you.
Once the roof goes, everything in the house will be
destroyed. If well built, the walls may remain standing
and closets or slabbed roofed rooms are good shelter.
If the roof doesn’t blow off, the walls may blow in
and the house collapse.
Concrete structures are only as strong as the iron in
their construction. How much iron is in your walls?
There should be one iron rod for every concrete block.
Many builders cheat.
That means the walls will fall in on you.
If the house is well made and water tight, when a
hurricane hits, the pressure inside the house will
be so great it will blow out the windows and doors.
In short, a hurricane is a dangerous and deadly natural
enemy. If there is any way you can get away from it,
do it. It is an experience you don’t need.
In Cuba, they have evacuation plans which begin early
in the life of a hurricane. Moving a quarter of a
million people one hundred miles is not unusual.
In Jamaica, public buses cease to run, ‘chartered’
by the government to move people to shelters.
Not being where the hurricane is should be first
choice unless your house has already withstood a
hurricane and you know it is sound and safe.
However, withstanding a Category Two does not
mean it will survive a Cat Four, hence don’t
There are many web sites which allow you to track
a hurricane, use all of them. Some are much more
helpful than others.
Most predications as to the course are often spot
on, twenty four, even forty eight hours in advance
however, they can turn without warning.
Gustav was supposed to go north of Jamaica, instead
went though it, dumping Noachian rain which caused
as much damage as Hurricane Gilbert which took a
similar cross island track in 1988.
Don’t be fooled by Category; Tropical Storm Gustav
caused more damage in Jamaica then did Cat 4 Ivan.
REMEMBER Category deals with windspeed not with
rain potential nor movement.
A Category Three moving at 20 miles per hour with
an expected rain dump of 10 inches is far LESS
dangerous than a Tropical Storm moving at 5 miles
per hour with an expected 40 inches of rain.
Looking at older tracking maps will give you a good
understanding of a path; as those that form at certain
latitudes tend to strike certain areas, and those that
form at others may move harmlessly out to sea.
If you live in a hurricane zone it is a matter
of life and death that you make yourself as
hurricane wise as you can.
If you have pets and are leaving your home and can not
take them, release them.Feedback
Animals are very good at survival.
Locking them in the house, or in a yard, might mean death.
Everything that has value to you should be wrapped in
plastic and put in a safe place.
Your refrigerator is an excellent place.
When electricity goes, so does your food.
If you are staying, cook everything. Leave what you
expect to eat today or tomorrow with some extra.
Then pack up the fridge and turn to highest setting
and do not open it.
Don’t store water in the fridge. That space should
be take up by valuables. Store the food you have
cooked and everything else that can fit.
At the highest setting, unopened, the food inside
your fridge will keep for a little over two days
when electricity goes off.
You never have enough water.
Save your plastic bottles, fill and cap them.
Never throw away plastic bottles, fill them
and keep them. A thousand bottles is not
too much, for when the water goes, the toilet
won’t be flushing.
Using a plastic bag to collect wastes, which
you can dispose of after the storm is a way to
keep yourself safe and not waste water, unless
you have a lot of waste water in your premises.
When water is at a premium bathing can be
accomplished with a cup of water.
Wet a rag, wipe yourself with it, wring it out, wipe
again. Use the tiniest amount of soap that is easily
washed away with a few drops of water.
When water returns, don’t trust it. If you are going
to bathe with it, pour a little Listerine into it.
If you have caught rain water for bathing or toilet
flushing, put a little oil into it. Cooking oil is
good to prevent bugs from using it.
Do not drink rain water.
You can bathe with it, (using your Listerine) but
never trust it.
When you are unsure of your drinking water, put two
drops of bleach into each half gallon container and
let it sit for a half hour. It will purify the water.
When the hurricane is eminent, if your area has not shut
off electricity, shut it off yourself. Unplug everything,
turn off the electricity.
Block up all windows. Stay away from them. A hurricane
may begin with rain, thunderstorms, wind, you’ll know
when it is there. It is absolutely terrifying.
If you hear a hum that means pressure inside is
increasing, find a window away from the storm
and open it a little bit.
You will have to close it periodically, but that
escape of pressure will protect you.
When the eye passes, this means the hurricane is
coming back in the other direction. You may have
fifteen minutes to do whatever you need to do.
You may have to patch a roof, move something,
rescue someone or something, but move fast.
Make sure you wear the stoutest shoes you have.
Avoid any wires. They might be live.
Then get back inside and wait.
A hurricane lasts from twenty four to twelve to
It depends on it’s size and it’s speed.
Some linger for weeks, pouring rain on an already
During a hurricane, do not ever attempt to cross a river.
Evacuate before it starts. During is death.
You will be swept away.
The fear is not the wind, it is the water.
How close are you to a body of water?
I monitored a river bed which was dry at 8 pm.
The bottom had been dug down about fifty feet
and it was approximately two hundred feet wide.
At 5 am the water had reached the bank and was
racing to a bridge which only held up because one
part of it was not blocked by debris.
Another bridge, longer, stronger, was taken
out to sea. This is the power of water.
Hence, do not focus on wind, focus on water,
and if you are anywhere which floods, that
is what will kill you.
When a hurricane threatens, take stock, and
decide to stay or go based on logic not emotion.