We've been very busy, getting caught in the rain, stocking up on water and dry foods, finding supplies and trying to stay on top of things. As a mother, you think little about yourself in any situation, but especially when it comes to natural disasters.
Irma is a very strong storm, at a CAT 5. It's not something to mess around with. I've put together my go to steps for staying safe and ensuring you aren't the last in line or feeling more panicked than necessary. I've only been in Florida for 2 years and this is already our second storm. Last year my husband pulled the 'tough guy' card as I was sobbing telling him we needed to leave (which we did, ah ha...the 'I'm your wife, if you're my husband, you'll come with me' card trumps the former. This year, I prepped early and i'm so glad I did!
1. Track the Storm Using a Reliable Source
Unfortunately the media likes to make everything overly dramatic to get you to tune in 24/7. I'm not discrediting them, but they can often turn a slight possibility or variable into a headline, drawing your emotion and creating panic. I like to use the National Weather Service to track storms, it's raw info and run by the government. I will research through other sites to make sure I know other courses the storm could take as well.
2. Plan Early
There are people who panic and over plan, then there are people who wait. If you want to avoid lines, potential out of stock issues (in the stores and online) or even gas running out, go early. It's always better to be over prepared.
3. Book a hotel ASAP
I was very luck to have called and found hotels to our west (across Florida) and also North West in Alabama. This storm has been difficult for professionals to predict, so I took no risk. I recommend booking at LEAST 6-7 days out, worst case, you cancel. We booked using Hilton and you can cancel within 48 hours of your stay and you aren't charged until you arrive.
4. Cover the basics
Make sure you have storm shutters up, a gallon of water per person per day, dry foods to last 1-2 weeks, toilet paper, flash light and batteries, extra gas in case you evacuate, a charged phone, diapers, baby food, pet supplies, etc. I'm linking the Preparation List from the NOAA as well, please use it as a reference!
I hope this helps some of you, again hurricanes aren't something to mess with. If you have any tips to add, please drop them in the comments. If you are a fellow Floridian, please evacuate as needed!
Stay safe & thanks for reading,