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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

For the next few days I'm going to be donning my Red Cross hat and engaging in some weather watching of Hurricane Matthew. Those of you not on the U.S. East Coast can worry about the other things that are natural or unnatural disasters, but we've got a bad storm rolling around with a big "cone of uncertainty" so

In any event, the National Hurricane Center is tracking Matthew and so we will too.

Here are some early graphics from the NHC:

Don't panic but if you live on the East Coast, you might want to be carefully thinking about what you need to do to prepare for a storm like Matthew. And, it's not just those of you who live on the beach, either - we've had lots of rain recently and the ground in many areas is pretty saturated so trees may topple and your power may go out, so . . . in addition, given the cone of uncertainty, this storm could (had to assign a probability) move more westerly and run inland with heavy rain and wind. We won't know for a few days really, because anyone selling you a forecast more than 72 hours out is SWAGing it.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Here's an older post on prepping for disaster, Are You Prepared for a Hurricane? Earthquake? Flood? which you might find useful:
Red Cross guidance - Are You Prepared for a Hurricane?:

Steps you can take to be prepared include:

1. Build a disaster supply kit or check the kit you prepared last year. Include a three-day supply of water and ready-to-eat non-perishable foods. Don’t forget a manual can opener, battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries. Your kit should also have a first aid kit, prescription and non-prescription medications, and copies of important documents. You can also shop the Red Cross store for emergency preparedness kits and supplies.
2. Prepare a personal disaster and evacuation plan. Identify two meeting places—one near your home, and one outside your area in case you can’t return home. Make plans for your pets. Select an out-of-area emergency contact person.
3. Be informed. Know what a hurricane WATCH means. If a hurricane WATCH is issued:
* Listen to weather updates from your battery-powered or hand-cranked radio.
* Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, hanging plants, bicycles, toys and garden tools. Anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
* Close all windows and doors.
* Cover windows with storm shutters or pre-cut plywood.
* If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture or move it to a higher floor to protect it from flooding.
* Fill your vehicle’s gas tank.
* Check your disaster supply kit to make sure items have not expired.
If you live well inland, you probably can skip some of the "boarding up" stuff, but remember, the biggest killer in hurricanes is flooding, not the wind, and as I said above, with all the recent rain we've had, the ground is saturated and the rivers are high, so if you are in the zone of risk, beware of flood waters. If they are upon you, it is too late to try to drive through them. "Turn around, don't drown"

If you are trapped in your house by flooding, stay there and keep out of the water by moving upward. It's a lot easier to be plucked off your roof than it is to be rescued from flooded rivers and streams. Now is the time, though, to develop a plan. That plan may include getting the heck out of areas at risk and heading to the hills. Trust me, sleeping in a car on high ground is much better than watching the water rise inside your house.

Oh, and if you decided to leave, make sure you take all those important papers and things with you. A pretty good list of such things can be found here:
List of insurance policies and contact information
List of bank accounts and contact information
List of debt obligations, due dates, and contact information
Your family’s passports
List of doctors and contact information
List of medications, prescription numbers, and contact information of all pharmacies that you use
Copy of durable power of attorney, living wills, and healthcare proxies – Yours and all those of which you are attorney-in-fact or healthcare surrogate
Copy of each of your wills and all those of which you are the executor
Safety deposit box keys
List of investment, retirement, and bank accounts, with all contact information
Your original Social Security card (when you’re not using it)
Yes, that stuff might take up some space - so if you have time, I would take pictures of it and in addition to keeping the pictures in your camera or cell phone, I would load them onto a couple of thumb drives or SD Cards and keep those in separate, but secure places on your person in waterproof bags. You really don't want to have to recreate all that stuff from scratch, do you? See Disaster Prep Wednesday: Your "Grab & Go" Emergency File

I had a series of disaster preparation posts up for Disaster Prep Wednesdays, some of which you may find useful.

The goal is to mitigate the risks to you and your loved ones of losing everything when it can be avoided.

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