If you are new to the hurricane game, here is a bit of advice from sad experience... "Shop before, not after." People are probably a lot smarter today than my family was 40 years ago (a lot more media today), but it's worth passing along some wisdom for those who may not have experienced a hurricane (or other natural disaster) before.
While living in the Philippines in 1970, we experienced Typhoon Yoling. A typhoon is the Asian version of a hurricane. With winds at 130 MPH plus it was a harrowing experience. This was our very first experience with such a storm. We really did not know what we were doing.
We survived the storm and immediately hopped in the car to go to the grocery store. Somehow we dodged downed trees and roof tops ripped from houses and strewn on the ground and actually arrived at the local grocery store. The store was lit only by candles placed strategically on certain shelves and at the checkouts. They may as well not have bothered with the candles because there was nothing left to buy. The shelves were totally empty except for, as I remember it, a bottle of pickled pigs feet (literally).
I will never forget the site of a full size grocery store empty but for a few orphan items that no one considered particulary helpful after a monster storm. As I recall we bought nothing because there was nothing to buy - we missed the boat. We lived for the next two weeks mostly on the rice we had stored, whatever canned goods were in our pantry, and what we could rapidly eat up from our refrigerator and freezer. This was a true survival experience. It was around Thanksgiving time and so we cooked our turkey on a barbecue grill. It was that or have it go bad as there was no electricity or running water for two weeks.
I'm sure that today everyone would understand that job one, well before landfall of a hurricane, is to stock up with needed groceries and supplies. This is a lesson I will not need reinforced. I will forever have the image of a single candle burning next to a single bottle of pickled pigs feet etched in my mind.
The time for preparation is "before the storm". As applied to any potential disaster, shop before, not after. Since many disasters do not give the lead-time that is often a luxury with a slowly approaching hurricane, there won't be time to get ahead of the disaster. An earthquake, for example, will usually hit without warning. The time to prepare and "shop" is right now perhaps days, weeks, months, or years before the need arises. Now is the time to get your emergency kit and emergency supplies and then keep them up to date so you don't find yourself trying to shop empty shelves after he fact.
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