hurricaneNo stranger to the tropical storms that swirl around the Gulf of Mexico and slowly grow into hurricanes to threaten our coastal area, we watch with anticipation to see what Isaac will do in the next few days. 

After riding out Hurricane Ivan in 2004 (with a four week old), I swore to never stay for a hurricane again.  But those hurricanes, they are fickle storms and sometimes they don’t quite show you where they are going until they are about to make landfall. This weekend we are spending time making ice, bringing our outside toys inside and in the next day or so we will decide if we need to board up the windows.

Just in case we decide to evacuate, we have been getting tips from our friends and family who have evacuated in the past. 

Have a plan ready in advance.  Know where you will go if you choose to evacuate and have an alternative just in case the hurricane wobbles in a different direction.  If you will be staying in a hotel, ask about evacuation rates.  Also, keep all receipts because you never know what might be reimbursable through your insurance or other available programs.

Evacuate early if you can.  The earlier you evacuate, the sooner you can make a safe arrival at your destination and avoid being caught in the storm.

Traveling north does not necessarily take you out of the hurricane’s path.  Once a hurricane makes landfall, it will most likely continue north and can still cause tornados, wind damage and power outages.

Have a full tank of gas.  During evacuations, gas is in short supply.  You want to leave town with enough gas to make it outside of the warning area.

Get your hurricane box ready.  You should have any important pictures, papers, and other items packed and ready to go.  Driving out of town is not the time to remember that you left your child’s favorite stuffed animal at home.

Take video of your personal belongings. You should take video of both the inside and outside of your house before you leave.  Take the footage with you!  This video will help you with any insurance claims that you may have to make upon your return.

Consider buying additional supplies before you return to your home.  If the hurricane makes landfall in your city, power will probably be out and stores won’t be open for at least a few days but these outages can last for weeks.  Things like batteries, bottled water and baby diapers will be hard to come by during the aftermath of a storm. 

No matter what you decide to do, be prepared. Remember that you should be prepared to take care of all of your family’s needs for the first seventy hours after a major disaster.  

Have you ever evacuated for a hurricane?  Please share your tips with us.

Photo courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory via Flickr