Today is the last official day of the 2019 Hurricane Season. And, barring any surprises, the Attractions area managed to get away with no direct hits (although a few towns southwest of us took a nasty hit from tornadoes caused by spinoffs from Tropical Storm Nestor’s visit to the panhandle). We did have our scare from Dorian, including the closure of both of Disney’s east coast beach resorts, but thankfully the storm skirted offshore rather than making a direct beeline for the attractions as previously predicted. And we even managed to laugh about the impending threat in a way that only Floridians can. Because that’s what we do (and because we Don’t Panic.)
By the numbers, the season was pretty active… 18 named storms, six of which became hurricanes (and three of which were Category 3 storms or higher). NOAA has many more statistics if you’re so inclined. We made our way up the alphabet all the way to S for Sebastian, and there’s a virtual certainty that we’ll see at least one hurricane name (Dorian) retired this year given the devastation in the Bahamas. Will next year be overly active? Too early to say. But regardless of the active-or-not forecast, remember… it only takes one.
So what to do over the next six months as we await the start of the next hurricane season? Might we suggest some preparations that you can start right now? Below are some tips we previously published in the wake of our Dorian scare earlier this year:
The best way to prepare is to pre-prepare:
You no doubt saw the meme that Black Friday ain’t got nothin’ on a Florida Walmart before a hurricane. And if you have sensitive ears or are a member of the clergy, don’t ask any local what they think of Amazon’s delivery practices in the days immediately prior to a storm. If you can find any way to afford it, consider pre-preparing before the hurricane even becomes a threat to you. There are very few things you’d have to buy that you wouldn’t normally use outside of a storm.
- One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get started is to simply increase your normal non-perishable grocery inventory (what’s always in your pantry)… and you can slowly build up to this over time. Next time you shop, buy an extra can or two of something. Then the next time, do the same with something else. Having twice as much cereal and soup as you normally would buy gives you some immunity from having to raid the grocery store for canned goods just prior to a storm hitting. This becomes part of your regular grocery shopping… you don’t have a separate hurricane pantry. Rather than only buying more Spaghettios when you run out, you buy more when you get below five cans of them. This is exactly how restaurants do their food purchases. Chez Fancypants Bistro doesn’t wait until they’re out of lobster to buy more lobster… they know that if they have less than 10 lobsters in the tank they need to buy more lobster.
- Consider a longterm plan. It won’t help much for this season, but you can spread all of the preparation costs out over six months or so. Just do a search for “family disaster supplies calendar.” (The version linked here is actually from California, so it has a heavy focus on earthquake prep… but there are several versions out there. Look around and find one you like.) Having that food and those supplies in place well before the storm means you can focus your limited prep time on refueling your vehicle, refilling prescriptions, and finding ice if needed… rather than playing rock paper scissors with some schmuck at Publix over the last can of Chef Boyardee.
- Think ahead about a few slightly larger purchases you can make “today” that will save you money “tomorrow” (or just make your life easier during a storm). For example, $20 reusable multi-gallon water containers that you can refill each time are much more cost-effective in the long run than buying bottled water for every hurricane forever. And of course it’s more environmentally friendly. And $20-$30 battery-powered desktop fans can make a big difference in your quality of life when there’s no air conditioning.
- If you do occasionally have extra money to spend (I’m looking at you, months with five Thursdays instead of four), consider using part of your “playcheck” at least once a year to buy something that costs a little more but will help you out in the long run. For example, a hand-crank/battery radio… a solar powered phone charger or battery bank… or a Yeti-style cooler that may cost a couple of hundred bucks but will keep ice frozen and food cold for a helluva lot longer than a styrofoam one from the convenience store. Each of those items can be used throughout the year for a number of fun purposes too… not just for the odd hurricane.