Check-in for Hurricane Irma

The news has been filled with stories about Hurricane Irma, a major Category 5 Hurricane. While we don't know where it may hit, we do know it's never too early to begin thinking about disaster prep!

AAFA has a  for all of us who are trying to remember where that Coleman lantern is. 

Are you in the "cone of uncertainty?" What preparations are you making?


Comments 54

  • Shea

    12 gallons of water, 4 flashlights, all my meds refilled and together, first aid kit, my nebulizer near a to-go bag with meds, to-go bag of clothes/towels, dust masks, 7 day supply of food, tp, hand wipes, full gas car, extra gas, a generator, a battery backup voltage thing, charged devices, my sons favorite toys/books, extra cash, mace, and a bb gun that looks like a real gun. 

    I will probably still end up leaving if its coming at us directly. Hurricanes freak me out. I am pretty much freaking out already. 

  • Pljohns

    Stay safe Shea!!!  We're in central AL and if I didn't have dogs that I knew would bother you, you would be more than welcome here!

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, big, big hugs — you sound like you are prepped and ready! Stay safe! 

    Could you check with your emergency management agency to see if they have any shelters that are designated as no pets? or better for special needs like asthma or food allergies? I know Broward County shelters have a pre-registration for folks with special needs. 

    Are you on the East coast or the West? The models have moved toward the East, but you know how they wobble back and forth for days. I'm still saying big prayers that this thing will head out to sea. 

    Keep us posted! 

  • Pljohns

    and hand crank flash lights?  We bought our kids some when they were little because we were tired of going through batteries when they left them on but I can't tell you how many times they have come in handy now!!

  • K8sMom2002

    My little hand crank radio has a flashlight — just realized it!  I have a solar powered flashlight that I use. I liked it so well, I gifted my dad and my sis with their own. I shall have to keep an eye out for a dedicated hand crank flashlight. 

  • Jen

    Stay safe everyone!  

    Another trick I remember is freezing small water bottles.  If your power goes out, you can toss the water bottles in the fridge/coolers to act as ice packs.

  • Pljohns

    Hope all of you are taking precautions and doing what you need to so you can stay safe!

  • Shea

    i left yesterday–drove all day. i drove tommy and i to tennessee and am in a hotel now.  i am trying to get my folks to come–they are still in the tampa/clearwater area, and they are planning on staying :/   i am praying for everyone!!!

  • Kathy P

    Hugs Shea – I'm hearing a lot of stories if stubborn older generation who refuse to evacuate. Stay safe! 

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, so glad you and Tommy are out of there! It looks to be an unpredictable storm and it could strike anywhere within that cone! Still got prepping to do before the winds hit us, but hopefully I can let you guys know all is well after the storm!

  • Shea

    K8SMOM, I am glad you are prepping! I am keeping watch on the storm. My parents are boarding up their windows today, and they picked up the supplies I left for them yesyterday: generator, flashlights, batteries, water. Now I am just concerned about the storm sdurge warnings.

  • Jen

    Shea – Glad you're in Tennessee.  Are you parents in one of the evacuation zones?

  • Shea

    they are in evacuation zone b in pinellas county (the tampa bay area) but they are planning on staying at their home, because they are in a higher part of their neighborhood (12 feet elevation) and the storm surge is 5-8 ft prediction now. i told them there is a wave on top of the surge, but they have their windows boarded up and a generator and supplies and want to stay there. i told them they can always go to a shelter nearby and return after the storm. im really freaking out. i told them next time im going to drug them and throw them in my car with me. i go through phases of worry…

  • K8sMom2002

    Hugs, Shea! 

    The storm track has moved further west … we're still forecast to receive tropical storm force winds, but I'm worried about folks in Florida — and the Panhandle and southeastern Alabama.

    @Pljohns, Birmingham looks to be getting some of this. How are you doing? Hoping this drop in pressure won't mess with your lungs.

    We're prepped and ready to for the storm as best we can be.

    Our surrounding counties have thousands of people evacuated from Florida seeking shelter here. Last night one of the nearby Red Cross shelters expanded capacity again.

    Praying for the Keys and ALL of Florida.

  • Pljohns

    Cynthia-I think you all are supposed to get more than us.We will get some winds Monday night-Tuesday night but that's about it.  We are expecting power outage and some schools are already closing for Tuesday.  We have everything we need and are as ready as we can be.  We have HUGE mature oak trees around our house and winds always worry me with those. 

    Shea-glad you are safe and praying for your parents and all of those affected.

  • K8sMom2002

    Lynn, saying prayers for each of those mature oaks! May the roots and limbs hold fast!

    Wind is beginning to pick up here, but nothing compared to what folks further south have faced. Still have power, so checking in while I can.

  • Pljohns

    Same here-we are due to get hit later today and through the night.  all of the school are closed except UAB so DS#1 has to drive in the mess.  prayers for everyone in Irma's path!

  • K8sMom2002

    I have power but its flickering and we're already getting tropical storm wind gusts here. Not near the worst of it. Trees down everywhere and they are evacuating people in mobile homes.

    My sister lost a huge oak tree already, but it missed her car and power line. 

    They didn't expect it to be this bad. Hurricane gusts coming off the ocean in the storm below us, and they are expecting near hurricane gusts as the worst of it comes through here.

  • Kathy P

    Glad the tree missed the car and power lines! Hope it passes your area quickly. Hugs. 

  • Pljohns

    B'ham isn't due to get much until later this evening.  We've just had mild rain and minimal wind so far.  All of the schools were closed today and most businesses either were closed or are closing early.  I should be gone by 4:30 and home before it hits.

  • Shea

    PLJohns and K8SMOM, hope you are still doing well! Kathy and Jen, thx for checking in! 

    We are still in TN, we will probably head back Friday. My folks and siblings are all OK, and neighbors say our home is OK. My two brothers have power, but my parents house, my moms house, and my sisters house do not still. There were many large trees that were uprooted and downed power lines, but fortunately most of my friends and family were spared major damage due to the storm slowing down by the time it got to the Tampa/Clearwater area, and the eye moving more inland. 

    I am very glad we left, because I need power for my nebulizers, and if i had stayed would still be without power, trying to run a generator, and roafs around me  would be closed because there are many downed powerlines that caused road closures.

    I am processing all this–we were supposed to close on the land and finalize the mobile home purchase this week and then this happens. I dont even want to go back right now. I feel like just getting out of the land deal and getting something here in TN. 

    I dont like the weather in FL, and I just… cannot deal with this statewide evacuation thing.. the water shortages in stores, the gas shortages evacuating, the up and down weather reports… I mean the only reason I was able to financially leave was because I had emergency money from when I first got disability… I am not going to be this fortunate next time, and I feel these hurricanes are only going to get bigger and more frequent due to warmer oceans/climate change. 

    I know we were fortunate thus time and many weren't. My heart goes out to so many who all of a sudden do not have a home, do not have a paycheck coming in, do not have electricity, or who's family and or friends are in crises.

  • Kathy P

    Glad there doesn't seem to be much damage Shea. Glad you guys are in a safe place with power. I think it's natural to reevaluate your location after an event like this.

  • Pljohns

    KShea-so glad you are safe and glad your family was spared.  I agree with Kathy-I would think it's natural to re-evaluate things after something like this.  I'm just hoping that the wind doesn't blow any trees on our house tonight-we have HUGE mature oak's all around us-probably at least 10-15 in our yard alone and they scare me to death in weather like this.

  • Shea

    PLJohns, I hope those trees stay strong in the ground… It is just wild that trees cause so much damage and big trees fell a lot in the Tampa area… Please be safe! Don't be in a room that a tree could fall in!!!

    I am kinda mad at my family. I just… I know that everyone does things their own way. Like, my dad drove to my brother's house. He is very allergic to cats. My brother is as well, but my brother chose to get a cat as a pet and has since developed asthma and he gets respiratory illnesses all the time, but he chose that and even after what happened to me does not seem to get that living with what you are allergic too and ignoring your health is not good. Whatever he is a lost cause. But my dad!!!!!— He goes to his house to watch a football game tonight, and he never goes to my brothers house, anytime he has in the past, he stayed very short time and suffered for it. My parents let them being their cat to their home during the hurricane even though they know I am deathly allergic, and they let the cat run around their home and stay overnight. I was like, whatever, they could have kept the cat in the garage, or on the patio, or att least kept it in its carrier…. now I am not going to be comfortable going over there for a long time, but it was a storm emergency, so I tried to just let it roll off my shoulders, even though they did not know if my home would be OK or if I would need to stay with them after the storm.. But then this thing tonight with my dad going over to my brothers house for no freaking reason, I talk to him on the phone and I can hear him wheezing and stuffed up… He is watching football over there. I am mad because he could have went to my other brothers house who has power and no cats. He is like, I took an extra zyrtec. It is aggravating because no one in my family takes allergies seriously. And it is a wound inside me that caused harm to me growing up around that attitude, and I know it is wrong now, but it took me nearly dying and developing this allergic disease and severe allergies to break the poor teachings of them… All my suffering and medicating and being told it is ok go walk into your triggers full force…  I just… Have to realize that no one has learned from my suffering besides me. And I really just do not even trust any of my family because they do aggravating things and I have made myself so dependant on them.  Like, my dad drove and is driving 45 minutes each way to my brothers house the day after a hurricane for this football game– when many of the traffic lights don't work, accidents and deaths are all over facebook as a result, along with burglaries and looting, and he has a hard enough time driving at night on a freaking normal night…. But now… Power outages everywhere, many roads are still closed, lights not working,  plus he is going to be tired and stuffed up and wheezing driving home, and he just couldn't stay with my mom, she is alone in a home with no power.. Why can't he stay with my mom and freaking put the gas in the generator? Whatever. Go watch football that us more important. I hate men. I really do. Their choice, their life.  Not mine. I am not going to sacrifice things that I value to be near these people.. I was going to try to suffer through to be near them in a state I hate with weather I hate, they can't even keep a cat out of their house. I just… You know what, it is not even their fault. It is mine. I do not need to sacrifice for other people. I should just live my life where I want to be, where I feel safe, and I am looking at an apartment here in TN tomorrow. I am getting out of the land deal in Florida, and I am not getting a mobile home. Not after this interestingly timed event that seemed to personally scream in my ear YOU DONT WANT TO BE IN FLORIDA. And I don't. I dread going back at all. 


  • Kathy P

    More hugs Shea. It's so frustrating when people have the information and still don't avoid what makes them sick. I've watched diabetics take extra insulin so they could eat whatever they wanted.I hope you can find what you are looking for in TN.

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, big, big hugs. Disasters like this make us rethink things, that's for sure. 

    And I get your frustration with your dad. Like Kathy P said, it's really frustrating wen people have good information and don't avoid things that make them sick.

    Could some of the going and visiting be "cabin fever" on your dad's part? 

    My DH is really antsy when he's cooped up, and he's positively addicted to ESPN. It's not just a guy thing, either. I have girl-people in my family who think they couldn't survive without a cell phone and/or television.

    So you can imagine how I was by last night when he'd been without lights, water and any cell phone distraction for several hours. 

    If I could have shipped DH off to a buddy's to watch his beloved Giants' football game, I might have done it. But if I were allergic to cats, I think I would have tried for a feline-free environment.

  • Shea

    Yeah, it is just the brush it under the table, belittle it, attitude that us prevalent with dander allergies. I mean, if I had not evacuated– I would have been screwed going to a shelter because the supposedly pet-free shelters ended up letting pets in. And the "special needs" shelters are probably worse with all the people that specially need their pets to be with them everywhere they go here, bevause they use their pets as emotional substitutions for family. I just found out today my dad had went on a prednisone pack and so I guess that is why he thougt hed be ok a night at my brothers house to watchbthe game–it probably helped him some but still was a dufus-y move on his part. But, now him and my mom are staying ay my younger brothers house that does not have cats, becausevtheir house may not have power til Friday. 

    I looked at an apartment in TN today that us in my price range and filled out an application. I feel like I want to be here but I dont know if I will actually do it because I like being near my family. Still lots of mixed feelings. My folks are like, it didnt end up hitting us that hard, and I am like, but it could have, and they are like we havent had a big one like that on years, and I am like, youve never had a big one like that, and with global warming and warmer oceans their predicted to be bigger and more frequent. So, I do not know what I am going to do yet, but while I am in TN I am going to enjoy my time, explore, and dream.

  • Megan Roberts

    More hugs to you Shea!  It sounds like you rightly feel both a little betrayed by your family in this situation, and at the same time really worried for them, especially your dad.  I can't imagine how stressful the whole ordeal has been.  But it sounds like it has given you some new perspective about what you want out of life right now.  Maybe that feeling will stick around and you'll make a new life in TN (which I hear is stunningly beautiful, but I have never been there), or maybe it will subside and FL will start to feel like home again to you.  Regardless, I applaud you for taking good care of yourself, even when the people you care about are necessarily doing the same thing.  

  • Pljohns

    Shea-I can't imagine what you are dealing with-all of the emotions of staying in TN or going home with family.  I personally don't think I could live in an area that gets hurricanes but that's just me.  I think every part of the country has it's bad-here in the south, we deal with tornado's mostly and some flooding. You have to do what is right for you-if no one gets how bad allergies for you are, then you have to take care of you in spite of that.  My family doesn't get it either-my Dad WILL NOT acknowledge that I have asthma at all, so I can't go see them.  They heat with a wood stove (they have heat, but won't turn it on and they can certainly afford to, they just won't) so that takes care of the winter to visit and they refuse to turn on the AC in the summer so no way am I going in the summer either.  Not to mention, they are almost 2 hours away BY AMBULANCE from the nearest hospital and the little first aid clinic near them is just that-they can put on a band aid and give a shot and that's it.  I had to make the decision that it just isn't safe for me to go visit.  I know you will make the decision that is right for you and your son.

    Cathy-glad you are OK from the mess too.  I totally understand what you mean about DH and no power-I think I would have to leave and go somewhere!!!  Between DH and DS#2, no power would be a terrible thing.

    We got by very lucky-hardly any rain and very little wind-I don't even have limbs down in the yard so I know nothing came through after I went to bed.  I will be very glad when DS#2 graduates from HS and we can move away from the trees and the huge yard that I have to keep!

  • Jen

    Hugs Shea~  

    Lynn and Cynthia – Glad you made it through relatively unscathed.

  • K8sMom2002

    Lynn, so glad you came through without so much as limbs to clean up! DH is threatening to clear cut the place. I tell him that insurance will pay for the roof if a tree lands on it, but there's no one to help pay for the power bill during hot Georgia summers.

    Shea, how goes the decision making about staying or going home? Could you look at possibilities and then head home to think about it? A move like that is a big decision, and it's almost the end of the hurricane season, thank goodness. 

  • Shea

    I am going to think about it. My breathing has been well here in TN, the air is easier to breathe than humid, hot Florida air. I found an apt here with a no pet policy that is affordable and put us on a waiting list. I have to see if I can even get out of the land deal and home deals I was getting ready to close on, and I need to check out how the neighborhood and model manufactured homes held up in the hurricane. If the homes and neighborhood fared well, them I will probably feel a little better. But, with my breathing and skin favoring the TN weather, along with no hurricanes/fears of wide spread power outages in TN,  it will be a tough decision. I am kudt going to continue to process things and try to feel and think my way to the best place for my son and I, and the best way to get there. 

  • Pljohns

    That sounds like a great way to go Shea.  It has to be an extremely tough decision and I'm sure you will weigh all the pro's/con's and do what's best for you and your son.

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, I think your ideas are great! I especially like the fact that you're hedging your bets — you've put yourself on a waiting list, but you're also waiting to see what the community looks like back home. That's smart!

    Since you're a fellow researcher like me, you may also want to ask these questions:

    • How many power outages happened in your part of TN during the winter due to ice storms? Is your part of TN prone to tornadoes? You may be able to find this out by talking to the power company that serves the area.
    • What was the flu season like in TN last winter? You could call the area health department or perhaps look on the .
    • What is the risk of flooding/tornadoes in your part of TN? Maybe call the local meteorologist at the TV station that serves your part of TN?
    • Does your part of TN have a risk of forest fires or smoke from areas that do? The  may be able to help you.
    • What sort of medical facilities and doctors are available in TN who are familiar with Churg-Straus and asthma? A great way to find allergists in your area of TN would be to use the   or . You can search by zip code, then compare those in your area to your insurance network or the network of the insurance you'd have once you moved.
    • What sort of insurance WOULD you and Tommy have if you move? 
    • Will you lose any other assistance you may qualify for in Florida but not have in TN?
    • Will you have family nearby to help in case you or Tommy get really sick?

    I've seen people move to Georgia for the great, temperate weather we have here, along with lower costs of living — and then they find out that Georgia's assistance programs aren't nearly as terrific as the ones they had back home. Or they're flabbergasted by the number of tornadoes we have.

    Hurricanes are horrible. But you can plan for them. Tornadoes, floods and sudden ice storms? They can catch you flat-footed. 

    Still, being able to breathe easier is a big, huge plus, and TN may not have as pet-friendly an attitude as Florida or California has. Like Lynn said, I know you will weigh the pros and cons and do what's best for you and Tommy!

  • Shea

    The mobile home neighborhood I am scheduled to buy land in faired well in the hurricane (of course it was a cat 1 by the time it got there, although the eye was closer to Zephyrhills than where I live now, Zephyrhills is not in a flood zone, and avoids storm surge threats from being inland.. also land slows down hurricanes. The manufactured home place I am planning on buying from is known for buulding to the highest standards of wind and hurricane protection. The land I am scheduled to close on next week is near a hospital. 

    Some people near me STILL do not have power. Long-term power outtages are a major threat to me. I have a generator, and a portable ac, minifridge, and burner, and large gas tank. A generator could get stolen. It needs gas. If I had 3 gallons of gas, plus a full tank in my car to syphone, i might be able to get by 7 days without gas. I think as long as I could get gas I would be able to survive a while without power on my own. 

    For a big storm, I could evacuate, but cannot afford to live long-term by any means–so much if my emergency money spent… but owning a property means no rent, just taxes/insurance, which means more saving  If the home got totalled or badly damaged I have insurance and FEMA help for reimbursal. 

    I think I am going to continuelledplan of closing, I am under contract.

    BUT… there is another freaking hurricane coming our way…  Maria…. so… is this going to be a way of life?

  • Shea

    … maybe i should see if i can get out of it…. i feel like a cold-footed bride on her wedding day

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, one thing I can say about places where hurricanes or snow/ice storms or flooding is a way of life: whatever the usual calamity, the local emergency management agency usually has a routine down pat. 

    Here in my county in Georgia, where it was only a tropical storm, there are still folks without power or who just got power Friday or Saturday. And when it snows even a half-inch, or it ices, we have no snow/salt trucks to clear the roads. These things just don't happen to us often enough to have the routines and equipment in place. 

    Could you:

    • talk to the power company that serves the neighborhood you're looking at buying and see if there's a way to get on a priority list for power? Some utility companies do have that — if a person needs electricity because of a disability, they will prioritize that area for repair first.
    • take the opportunity of lots of people being afraid of hurricanes to negotiate a better price on the land deal or the mobile home?
    • take THAT $$ and see about installing
      • a hard-wired, permanently installed generator? OR
      •  ? 

    BTW, for someone with a disability that requires dependable electricity, it's a good thing to have a disaster plan in place no matter where you live.

    I'm currently  … fingers crossed that Maria doesn't hurry that process up! 

  • Pljohns

    You guys are so prepared!!!  I have a basic plan for tornado's/bad weather and I'm lucky-my neb has a battery on it and also came with a car adapter-I can use that if the battery dies and I don't have to start my car at all.

  • Shea

    I asked my doc at last visit if she could recommend i need a battery powered neb, but nothing came of it. i guess ill save up for one, and bite the bullet. Itbseems like it should be easy, but it is hard, it took me a long time to pay off the generator, then i just put a bunch of gas on my credit card for the road trip, AND have to make a repair on the car from the riad trip, and my emergency money took a dent with the hotels, AND im gna be moving, so thats gna cost $$ too. Ugh. I swear. If my court hearing for child support would ever amount to anything thatd be nice, so far its just cost me and given nothing. Ugh. Sorry to vent about money, but it just seems like insurance should pay for that but I am getting nowhere with it. I do have a battery backup box/storm surge protector that would work for a little bit, but I would feel better about a battery powered neb. BUT I am thankful I have the generator–It would be nice to have solar-powered or residential but I could barely afford the one I got, and its the minimum Id need to run my main emergency appliances. 

  • Pljohns

    Shea-I can absolutely recommend a Pari TrekS with the battery pack-it comes with an adaptor for your car cigarette lighter as well. My battery-using 2-3 times a day, will last me about 4 days without charging and it will take a full charge in about an hour.  They aren't cheap, but I know they are good and Pari stands behind it's products.