What can you expect to see and feel during and after a major hurricane?
I’ve ridden out a few hurricanes and tropical storms; the last one, Hurricane Ike in 2008, went right over the house. Experiencing a hurricane may sound exciting, but the excitement soon wears off when you feel the storm and what you see and live through afterwards.
Noise – Hurricanes and tropical storms are inherently noisy with thunder and wind. An average thunderstorm may last 20 minutes. Consider the loudest and most severe storm you’ve ever experienced going on for many hours; that is a hurricane.
Power outages – Expect to lose power to your home, which may not return for many hours or days. Prepare by getting as much ice as possible or food that does not spoil. Also, get a battery operated emergency radio if you can to listen to local stations (they will have emergency power). If you want to cook your food, then get a barbeque grill. Remember that if you lose power, you will have no air conditioning. If you do not lose power, consider yourself very lucky. In Hurricane Ike we lost power for 55 hours.
Access to supplies – Stores and gas stations will likely be closed for days following a major hurricane.
Tree damage – You will have tree damage, if not in your own area, then in the neighborhood. Limbs and leaves will be scattered and if you are unlucky, a tree may fall on your house or building doing significant damage. It pays to keep your trees trimmed in hurricane prone areas.
Debris – Debris will be everywhere after the storm, mostly leaves, branches, and paper. It also pays to remove any items from your yard that could become projectiles.
Contaminated water – Depending on where you get your water, it could become contaminated and undrinkable. Stock up on drinking water for at least a week.
Possible flooding – Depending on your elevation, you may have water in your domicile, whether it is rising or blown in by wind.
Roof damage – Depending on the intensity of the storm, expect roof damage. Have tarpaulins available to cover holes.
After a storm, the feeling will be surreal, winds will likely be calm, and the tendency may be to wander about looking at the damage. Resist the temptation unless you providing assistance to others. Damage after a severe hurricane is astonishing, and something you’ll never forget.
I hope you never have to feel the intensity of a hurricane. Avoid hurricane parties and prepare your home. If evacuation is called by local authorities, please consider their recommendations.