Now that you have prepared and stocked up it's time to move forward to protect your family, prepare for power outages and prepare for evacuations. PLEASE take this storm seriously and please especially warn anyone living on the west coast of Florida and anyone new to Florida.
In the area threatened now in Florida 1 in 5 homes is in danger of flooding in a category 1 hurricane. Ian is anticipated to be a CAT 3 or CAT 4!
If area is flooded even if you are safe if anything goes wrong help cannot come. Fires often happen after a hurricane and fire fighters will not be able to get to you to put out a fire. If told to evacuate do it sooner rather than later. They are anticipating beginning evacuation Monday. Do it.
Last major hurricane in the Tampa area and north was in 1921. Even longtime residents have never seen anything like hurricane Ian.
Population in this area has grown by over 1,100 per week for over a year. In a hurricane over a CAT 1 flooding in the city of Tampa could be over 6 feet, in the whole city. All cities from St. Petersburg to Eastlake and Ruskin to Bloomingdale will experience the same.
If Ian turns to the east it will affect both the Gulf coast and the Atlantic coast cities and everything in between.
· Wash all dishes. You will not want dirty dishes hanging around when water is at a premium and power is out.
· Take pictures of all rooms, drawers, closets, garage, attic, and yard. Email the photos to yourself and out of area contact. Phones can be lost during a crisis, so you want back up. These will be invaluable when filing a claim with insurance.
· Prepare for your pets. Are they allowed at evacuation centers? Do you have cages and a leash if you need to evacuate to a center or hotel? If you are staying home pets will panic as they hear the roar of the storm. You will need a safe place for them, maybe a cage. If your pets are outdoor pets, can you bring them in the house or garage to shelter out of the weather and to a level in your home that won't flood?
· Find out where the evacuation centers are and which accept pets.
· Take a shower. You’ll feel better!
· Turn the temperature down in the freezer and refrigerator, again to preserve food longer.
· Cook. Make a few meals that will be easy to heat or can be eaten cold once power is out. Again, if you are told to evacuate do it but if you are not but live close by, within 100 miles your power may and likely will fail.
· Make a sign now to place on the freezer and fridge: DO NOT OPEN - Preserve food longer by leaving door closed. When you need to get into either make a list before opening so you don’t stand staring trying to figure out what you need.
· Fill coolers, pitchers, pots and pans, with water. If our power goes out so, do wells and water treatment plants. Bathtubs can also be filled, and this water used for flushing and washing.
· Charge cell phone, and HAM radio. If you lose power or experience rolling blackouts, you want to stay informed. If you are not a HAM get to know one now, ask around. They will often have much better information about your neighborhood than the media.
· Keep laptops, and other devices charged.
· Find car cell phone charger. If power is out this may be your only charging option.
· Get the mylar blankets out of your Five-Day kits to place in windows receiving direct sun after the hurricane when power is out. When the power fails your home will be cooler than it would have been without the blankets in the window, thus the house will remain cooler longer.
· Laundry. Do it now. Catch up so you don’t get caught without clean clothes after the power fails.
· Place glow sticks and/or flashlights within easy reach in every room.
· Move outdoor furniture and décor in the house.
· Board up or use other ways to cover windows.
· Learn to use the manual release on the garage door if you don’t already know how to do this. In case of a power outage you want to be able to get the car out of the garage as quickly as possible.
· Evacuate when told to do so.
· Contact out of area contact to let them know your plans.
· When evacuating turn off water at the city meter, eclectic to the house and gas coming into the house.