Good news? Second sign of depression is expected to grow weaker. Bad news? The next one could be stronger. Locals know. We're due for a powerful hurricane related punch. But don't wait for Jim Cantore to purchase a ticket for RDU. Remain calm before the storm this time around by applying some preparation. And it doesn't take a village.
The monster list can be quite a frightening mountain of things-to-do to accomplish. But I think you can. I think. You can. Where do you begin? Where ever you like.
Evacuation route. Sure, you're in the safest location known to man and do not require an evacuation route and the NCDOT hurricane evacuation route stops one county over from Wake. But you just never know when you will require one. Write down a quick route that best fits your local escape.
For the most part, the next paragraph applies to those east of Johnston County.
Hurricane evacuation route (HER) signs are blue with a hurricane symbol, a visible arrow and rainbow dancing unicorns in the background. While waiting for the 2nd named Atlantic hurricane, Bertha, watch out for HER. Facing a potentially dangerous hurricane of epic proportions? Trust HER. Follow HER. Head west.
Okay, have that printer ready. 3 days worth is the hurricane kit goal. Here we go.
Right now, at this moment, remember to save a couple jugs. Could be large orange juice containers, milk gallons, or even Gatorade jugs. Wash out thoroughly and put aside.
Flashlights, radio, land-line phone (or a handy cell), battery operated clocks, medical supplies (of any kind required), over-the-counter medicine desired, baby formula (pacifiers, diapers, diaper bags, etc), wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, paper plates, cups, throw-away utensils, batteries, items required for pets to survive (food, clean water, new liter in box - that's for everyone), aluminum foil (for grilling), food (canned, non-spoiling) and water, water, and yes, more water.
Test all electronics. Especially the alarms for those who may have to go to work regardless. Charge what you must.
Got everything covered? Get a large empty cooler. Pack it and stack it. Stack it with what?
3 on 3. 3 days worth in a 3 day time. Hold off on certain items and tasks until the hurricane is 3 days away. Time for a final check on everyday supplies. Toothpaste, hair shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, and other hygiene items. Don't have enough to last 10 days on the 3rd day prior? Time to hit the store before someone else does. Plus this is the time to gather water in the washed jugs. And that's a wrap on the stack.
Charge everything else. Cell phones, IPods, ITouch, handheld game systems, vibrating toothbrush (or other vibrating electronics), and anything requiring a charge to operate without plugging into the wall.
Keep the hurricane kit items close to each other. If a tornado blows through missing that one spot, that's good news - for the kit. Not being able to find items when needed most can be a problem. Solve the potential problem before it happens. Keep it together mate!
Gas for grill, gas for car, oil for simmer, etc. Load up on the marshmallows! Another 3 on 3 moment.
24 hours until ...
Last items to get? Bags of ice for the cooler, freezer and refrigerator. Ice melts. Still useful. Lunch meat to make sandwiches since there's still refrigeration. Make sure you have a nice array of food and drinks at this time. You can freeze food as well before the electric goes out.
Got kids? Have them put together their own little hurricane kit and pack it with things of their liking. Which will not be the items in your hurricane kit.
A mountain of items will feel like packing for a voyage. Sounds more than it is really. Most items are small to begin with. A person can fit all of these in a corner of a closet, under a bed. or in a pantry's backside.
It doesn't take a hurricane to whip Raleigh's assets.
Cat 1 to Cat 5, even the super-cane, can pack a punch. Remember, each storm comes with a strong point. Could be a rainmaker, a windbreaker, or even a sky scrapper. It's always a toss up until the hurricane moves in. What's the skinny?
Category 1. 74 mph to 95 mph, storm surge of 4 to 5ft above normal, even slight mobile home risk of shift or destruction. Expect some flooding and power outages. Hurricane rain bands can do that. Remove loose lawn ornaments and outdoor decor that could turn into projectiles. Cover those pools, anchor those boats!
Category 2. Between 96 and 110 mph, storm surge of 6 to 8 ft, flooding, downed trees, power outages. As far as loose untied lawn ornaments during a Cat 2, say goodbye. That gnome will travel. And it's time to leave that mobile home Dorothy!
Category 3. Major as in devastating. Somewhere inside 111 mph and 120 mph there's a squirrel taking the final ride of their life. Cat 3 begins at 111 all the way to 129 mph with a storm surge of 9 to 12 ft. Expect a couple large weak trees to fall on power lines and possibly waking up to a compromised pipe that spits out brown water. But it could get worse. Welcome to Cat 4.
Category 4. Major as in MAJOR! 130 to 156 mph. The three little pigs found a way to survive hurricane speed winds. But this isn't a storybook. It's a major hurricane. Cat 4 bad news for mobile homes? It takes a mobile village. Literally, takes it. Widespread roof damage and windblown objects are two good reasons to tape the window glass, or anywhere glass is visible outdoors. Park in safe locations and away from anything remotely a risk to your vehicle. Great time to own a garage with an iron clad door.
With a Cat 4 expect much more large weak trees to fall, but this time on each other. Wide range power outages. Road closings. As far as storm surge, 13 to 18 ft storm surge could turn most coastal towns into a lake, but this is Raleigh. And then there's Crabtree. A Cat 4 passing Raleigh? Plan on flooded worm paths during that wired rainmaker. Don't forget to factor in the wind speed. 4 is major. 5 is catastrophic.
Category 5. Catastrophic. 156 (plus) wind force is dangerous on all levels and should not be taken lightly. Let me tell you why.
Complete roof failure on many buildings and homes. Property damage expected. Signs down, trees down, bushes destroyed, escape routes flooded, road damage, lights out, and so on. Structures are at risk of catastrophic damage.
18 ft or higher in storm surge can overtake bays, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, etc. Don't get caught in the flood crossfire! It only takes inches of driving over water for the water to be driving you. It has happened to me. And I would never have guessed in a million years. Never again!
Yes, a Cat 6. Johnny's home! Winds nearing 200 mph. 200. Extremely fatal. Actually raining cats and dogs. Not every storm chaser's death wish. Super-canes are insane and require stunt devils to save lives.
And that's the skinny.
Above is your key to the calm. The calm before the storm. Let's review. Gather an escape route should anything dangerous surface. The item, kits, even kids are taken care of. Categories defined. The hurricane kit has a comfortable spot of your choosing. You are prepared!
So kick back and pull out the popcorn because watching everyone else fight over a loaf of bread can be quite the comedy.
NCDOT, evacuation routes, http://www.ncdot.gov/download/travel/travel_evac_hurricaneroutes.pdf