Prospero
(Weather Guru)
Mon Sep 04 2017 07:49 PM
Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

I'm not a moderator, but have been on this site enough years to know that the Storm Forums start to get very active when a storm approaches with posts that may or may not be appropriate for that particular forum. I am one to push those limits more often than I like to think.

That said, as Irma starts to put her plan into focus, all of us in Florida are eager to ask questions and share our experience. So maybe a forum in the Ask/Tell is a good place for us to speak freely without fear of embarrassment.



I have in front of me a PDF download from BayNews9 which is my favorite local news/weather station in the Tampa Bay area. This PDF is their Hurricane Kit list.

http://www.baynews9.com/content/dam/news/images/2017/05/02/BN9_HURRICANE_GUIDE_2017_WEB_001.pdf

It is a good list, but as one who spent a couple weeks without power after Hurricane Jeanne crossed the state and blew down a bunch of trees knocking out the power on September 26th of 2004, I see one important item that should be on EVERY Florida Hurricane list.

Battery operated fans.

And of course enough batteries to keep them running.

After Jeanne, laying around the house with the windows open during the hot and humid calm days after she passed, a simple battery operated fan would have been a very welcome addition to our lives. It was strange how quiet it was with no power in the neighborhood, but it was horribly muggy and stagnant.



Buy fans before they sell out. We now have two each that we have used during power outages from thunderstorms and what a difference it makes. Ahhhh.....


Lamar-Plant City
(Storm Tracker)
Mon Sep 04 2017 08:02 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Yep...good catch. We bought the last one in the camping section of the local WalMart today. We have another one from back in my daughter's softball days (would hang it in the dugout on still days or on the fence in front of us). They are great to have when the A/C is out....even better when the power is also at so the ceiling fans can't work.

Prospero
(Weather Guru)
Mon Sep 04 2017 09:12 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Yup, we have two sizes of the 02Cool fans (two each). They work great and are quiet. What a relief when there is no air conditioning!!

Plus my wife has one small one she wears around her neck almost daily. It is her "work" companion to keep her cool.



A spray bottle of water to mist oneself combined with the breeze of a battery operated fan can make the difference between sweating and horrible suffering and being in a lazy bliss on a couch when the power is out.


TPuppy
(Registered User)
Tue Sep 05 2017 01:09 AM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

I think you were also asking about insulin. During Charlie my husband was on several different types of insulin and some of the pens were good for 28 days, some for only 14 after the first use. Our insurance had changed to a 90 day supply which was a large quantity of insulin on hand. I called the insurance company for information, and was informed that I could exchange any questionable pens (not refrigerated, not used) by calling them back and arranging for an even exchange with my local pharmacy after the electricity was back on. But that was back in 2004, possibly that has changed, also they may still be dealing with Texas, so contacting someone at the mail pharmacy may take some time. Good wishes, it's hard enough for us healthy souls to make it through, let alone someone with special needs.

Stork
(Verified CFHC User)
Tue Sep 05 2017 09:42 AM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Palm City (Martin County) here. This is on a slightly more ephemeral level, but one thing I would add is some kind of 'indulgence' food. It's hardly a difference maker, but if you (or your kids or grandkids) really love MnMs, get a big bag or two. Or plenty of your favorite soda. (If you like chips, watch the salt, though.)The familiar and comforting can be great assets, especially after the prep has ended and the waiting begun. People will be very stressed out...be good to yourselves and one another.

Fay
(Registered User)
Tue Sep 05 2017 01:40 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

A few things we learned from Charley in 2004:

We needed cash, especially small bills, because the stores that were able to open were without power so credit cards weren't being accepted. We were without power for 11 days.

When they tell you to fill your bathtub with water, it's not for drinking - it's for flushing toilets. Punta Gorda's pumping stations were off-line. Luckily we were able to use buckets of water from our pool for that purpose.

If you have pets, especially cats, think about how you will keep them in the house after the storm. None of the doors in our house have screens because we have a pool cage. That, of course, was destroyed. With no power we had to keep the doors open, hoping for the slightest breeze. Keeping our 2 cats safely inside the house was definitely an issue that we hadn't planned for.


Lamar-Plant City
(Storm Tracker)
Tue Sep 05 2017 02:18 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Charge every cell phone and battery that you have up until the storm arrives. Then with the power out, turn them off most of the time. You might pre-arrange a time for concerned relatives to call you when they know you will have it on. Maybe every hour on the hour. If the towers are down at first, there will be no need to use your cell phone. One thing we discovered during Charlie was that my mom's cheap prepaid Tracfone was able to get a signal when neighbors who used the big carriers couldn't. Something about Tracfone being able to use multiple towers from multiple carriers. It was an unexpected bonus of a cheap phone/plan. Also, get any loose lawn debris out for collection if they will come by before the storm and bring in anything that you usually leave outside and that could get blown around.

eulogia
(Weather Watcher)
Tue Sep 05 2017 03:26 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

When the storm is very close, turn down A/C as low as possible and let it run until electricity goes out. We were able to utilize about one day of extra non-humid and hot air during Charley.

JMII
(Storm Tracker)
Tue Sep 05 2017 03:55 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Things I've learned...

Glow sticks are a great hurricane box item. No batteries required, will not burn the house down, water proof, last 8 hours (overnight). Basically use them like nightlights: put them in bathrooms and hallways. With the power out and shutters up your house will be pitch DARK at night.

Don't forget a radio. Cell towers will be likely be down, thus your only communication may be an old AM/FM radio. Laptops and tablets will run out of juice. Internet services might not work.

Send text messages. During Wilma voice calls wouldn't go thru but text did easily even with only 1 bar of service.

Get heavy duty gloves for putting up panels and cleaning up broken glass, split wood, twisted metal.

If you have an ice maker start emptying it into your freezer now. Eat anything frozen now (pizza, waffles, ice cream, etc). If you are evacuating throw out all food in the fridge/freezer, then leave the fridge doors open so it can air out while your gone. Unplug or flip the circuit breakers on your major appliances, TV, etc to protect from surges when power comes back on.

Take down your satellite dish, just the reflector (oval part), leave the brackets and wiring in place. When you return its alignment should be OK so you'll have TV again. During Wilma as soon as we had power we had TV, our cable neighbors didn't have service for nearly 2 weeks due to equipment damage and lines being down.


Lautermilch
(Registered User)
Tue Sep 05 2017 04:32 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?


I live in a historic building in downtown Hollywood. If we are facing a direct hit I want to be in a shelter but was surprised there are none near me when I checked the Broward county website. I am being offered a 17th floor condo on Brickell but I think I'll pass on that. MY manager is leaving town and wants someone to be in his unit but I think I would fare better in my wooden building in 1924 or a nearby concrete shelter if I can find one


Lamar-Plant City
(Storm Tracker)
Tue Sep 05 2017 05:00 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Quote:

When the storm is very close, turn down A/C as low as possible and let it run until electricity goes out. We were able to utilize about one day of extra non-humid and hot air during Charley.




Just don't overdo it and blow your capacitor. A/C repairmen will be at a premium. I also might not run mine right up until lights out as a surge could fry something and leave you hot even when the power comes back....having blown a couple of capacitors on really hot days the past couple or years I have learned. I WILL check with my A/C guy for any recommendations if I get a chance!


Bev
(Weather Guru)
Tue Sep 05 2017 10:14 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Update: If you're considering leaving it's probably too late.
There are no hotel rooms left in Georgia.

*edited by Moderator: I spent 5 minutes researching available rooms and came across quite a few.. see if this helps you out:

https://bookings.mapquest.com/hotels/res...ty_id=800047625



MikeCAdministrator
(Admin)
Tue Sep 05 2017 10:30 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Quote:

Update: If you're considering leaving it's probably too late.

There are no hotel rooms left in Georgia.




I-75 may be a madhouse. I guess Chatanooga/Gatlinburg/Knoxville, etc are still options.


gvl, fl
(Registered User)
Wed Sep 06 2017 12:09 AM
Attachment
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

My neighbors are having a pool installed (see picture). The installers are definitely taking their time. The shell of the pool and the huge pile of rocks have been sitting across the street from me for about three weeks. They managed to break the first pool they brought and also tear up my front yard, which is why you see the stakes, etc. I'm wondering... Gainesville saw 65 mph winds during Frances and Jeanne. Would it take much more wind than that to start blowing the rocks around like a hailstorm? I think it would take a tornado to toss the pool itself around, but I'm not sure.

Bev
(Weather Guru)
Wed Sep 06 2017 03:08 AM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Yes, further north likely still available.

I have two rooms reserved in Moultrie, GA. If this thing trends East as the latest 00Z's are showing, I won't be using them since I'm on the west coast. Just a podunk little motel called Regency Inn, but I was happy to get them.

I'll post if I decide not to use the rooms, let you guys have first dibs.


Ed G
(Weather Hobbyist)
Wed Sep 06 2017 08:15 AM
Forgive me if this has been asked several times

at what wind speed would you consider boarding up the windows and doors?

Lamar-Plant City
(Storm Tracker)
Wed Sep 06 2017 09:13 AM
Re: Forgive me if this has been asked several times

Quote:

at what wind speed would you consider boarding up the windows and doors?




I would do it at any level of hurricane....not for a tropical storm unless it was rapidly strengthening or possibly very close to hurricane force. Distance from the eyewall is also a factor. 75 mph is plenty to lift objects and throw them and you need that protection to keep from breaking windows.


DMFischer
(Weather Hobbyist)
Wed Sep 06 2017 12:17 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

For the last few hurricanes instead of going to sit for hours in line for sand bags, I went to Lowes and bought 10-12 bags of the cheapest soil they had. 2.50 a bag this year, last year was 1.89. I put each bag in black trash bags, then put them at sliders and doors, etc. Later, sprinkle the soil in my garden!

Also, fill a broiler pan with water, freeze it. That big a chunk of ice takes time to melt.

Most importantly, check everywhere around your house for things that can become a projectile.

Stay Safe Everyone. God Bless.


Owlguin
(Weather Hobbyist)
Wed Sep 06 2017 12:32 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Other than the normal items, don't forget to take out plenty of cash. After seeing what Andrew did, the best tip I can give with a hurricane like this is to leave if at all possible. I am afraid that I-95 and the turnpike will become parking lots though. I would like to hear from people who are on the road on the traffic situation if possible.

justmeinflorida
(Registered User)
Wed Sep 06 2017 03:14 PM
Re: Forgive me if this has been asked several times

Quote:

Quote:

at what wind speed would you consider boarding up the windows and doors?




I would do it at any level of hurricane....not for a tropical storm unless it was rapidly strengthening or possibly very close to hurricane force. Distance from the eyewall is also a factor. 75 mph is plenty to lift objects and throw them and you need that protection to keep from breaking windows.




This is going to be my first hurricane (besides Mathew). With the projected path as it is what will the impact be in our area? We're neighbors I live in Crystal Springs in a mobile home that needs a new roof (like last year). It's me and my 6 year old son, my best friend, her hubby and their three kids 2, 8 and 14. I need to decide if it's best to find a hotel/motel from Friday night to Monday or ride it out here at the house. Thoughts?


Daniel Jones
(Registered User)
Wed Sep 06 2017 05:37 PM
Re: Forgive me if this has been asked several times

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

at what wind speed would you consider boarding up the windows and doors?




I would do it at any level of hurricane....not for a tropical storm unless it was rapidly strengthening or possibly very close to hurricane force. Distance from the eyewall is also a factor. 75 mph is plenty to lift objects and throw them and you need that protection to keep from breaking windows.




This is going to be my first hurricane (besides Mathew). With the projected path as it is what will the impact be in our area? We're neighbors I live in Crystal Springs in a mobile home that needs a new roof (like last year). It's me and my 6 year old son, my best friend, her hubby and their three kids 2, 8 and 14. I need to decide if it's best to find a hotel/motel from Friday night to Monday or ride it out here at the house. Thoughts?




You cannot stay in a mobile home during a hurricane. You need to find shelter at either a well-built concrete block home or a designated shelter site. You're on the Western side of the state, so less of an impact given the current models and tracking, but do NOT take any chances, especially with kids.


kapSt.Cloud
(Weather Watcher)
Wed Sep 06 2017 06:09 PM
Re: Forgive me if this has been asked several times

Tropical storms and hurricanes spawn tornadoes! Do NOT stay in a mobile home during any tropical storm weather! Listen to your local news. The news usually reports people in mobile homes should evacuate. Be prepared to go! Bag packed with necessities. Now is the time to locate your nearest shelter!

cieldumort
(Moderator)
Wed Sep 06 2017 08:31 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?



Bev
(Weather Guru)
Wed Sep 06 2017 09:27 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Quote:

Update: If you're considering leaving it's probably too late.
There are no hotel rooms left in Georgia.

*edited by Moderator: I spent 5 minutes researching available rooms and came across quite a few.. see if this helps you out:

https://bookings.mapquest.com/hotels/res...ty_id=800047625






Thank you, I should have clarified. Rooms away from the coast are unavailable. If you'll note, the Jesup search returns rooms in Brunswick, none actually in Jesup.

I was first looking in Valdosta area, gave up and ended up toward Atlanta, at which time there was exactly ONE room left in atlanta, at the Ellis hotel. Pretty Bizarre.


LadyStorm
(Weather Guru)
Wed Sep 06 2017 09:57 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

For non hype tropical weather/hurricane updates in Flagler County go to https://www.facebook.com/FlaglerWeatherInfo/

Flagler County Resources:
Flagler County Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FlaglerEOC/
OR
Flaglercounty.org/emergency

Hope this helps all who may live in the Flagler County area, stay safe.


TPuppy
(Registered User)
Thu Sep 07 2017 12:29 AM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Actually several of my friends headed up to Georgia today to stay with extended family because of elderly relatives or just fear of crisis! Off the main roads (75 and 16) no hotels were available. Maybe the web sites don't update as fast with some properties. Or maybe they just decided to overbook like the airlines:)

Lamar-Plant City
(Storm Tracker)
Thu Sep 07 2017 12:32 AM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

My brother lives in Port St Lucie in a rental house and is bugging out. They have to head to TEnn/Kentucky border to find hotel space. Gonna be a LONG trip with the looks of traffic now and them leaving in the morning....

Bev
(Weather Guru)
Thu Sep 07 2017 03:05 AM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

I have two rooms booked in Moultrie, GA, near Valdosta at the Regency Inn at $80 per night, but I won't be using them, I'm on the west coast and decided to stay.

I have to release the reservations by noon tomorrow for full refund, so if you know someone who needs them pm me and I'll give you all the information you need.


Bev
(Weather Guru)
Thu Sep 07 2017 03:08 AM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Super helpful: Download Waze on your phone. It's real time traffic info updated by other waze users and there are a LOT of waze users. I found off-interstate routes tonight nearly empty while I-75 came to a standstill up near Gainesville.

Lamar-Plant City
(Storm Tracker)
Thu Sep 07 2017 10:38 AM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Quote:

Super helpful: Download Waze on your phone. It's real time traffic info updated by other waze users and there are a LOT of waze users. I found off-interstate routes tonight nearly empty while I-75 came to a standstill up near Gainesville.




WAZE is a great GPS map program. I have had problems trusting it in certain situations but when I didn't, I regretted it. I love the real-time hazards that are shown like stalled cars and on-the-roadway objects. It's gas price feature is nice too as long as people are updating them. I actually use Google maps AND WAZE when I travel for comparisons.


Prospero
(Weather Guru)
Thu Sep 07 2017 09:14 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

From Pinellas County (with a few Tips included):

Quote:

Pinellas County declares state of local emergency
Mandatory evacuation orders start at 6 a.m. Friday; shelters to open at noon

Please see attachment for formatted news release

• Mandatory evacuations of all of Level A
• All mobile home parks (countywide) included
• Level A special needs transportation begins at noon
• Additional evacuations up to Level C may be ordered to start on Saturday. Levels B and C may leave at residents’ choice prior to the order.

The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners has declared a state of local emergency and authorized county officials to begin mandatory evacuations at 6 a.m. Friday for Level A and residents with special needs. Level A includes coastal residents and those in low-lying areas, as well as all mobile homes in every part of the county.

Residents in these areas will have from 6 a.m., Friday, through 8 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10, to evacuate their homes.

Emergency shelters will open at noon on Friday. Open shelter locations will be as follows:

- Tarpon Springs Middle School (501 N. Florida Ave., Tarpon Springs)
- Palm Harbor University High School (1900 Omaha St., Palm Harbor)
- Dunedin Highland Middle School (70 Patricia Ave., Dunedin)*
- Oak Grove Middle School (1370 S. Belcher Road, Clearwater)*
- Largo High School (410 Missouri Ave., Largo)
- Gibbs High School (850 34th St. South, St. Petersburg)
- John Hopkins Middle School (701 16th St. South, St. Petersburg)*

*Special Needs/Pet-Friendly Shelter

Evacuation notifications will be announced via Alert Pinellas, Ready Pinellas, the county website (www.pinellascounty.org), social media and through local media. Emergency shelter openings will also be announced through these channels.

As county officials continue to monitor Hurricane Irma, additional evacuations may be announced for Saturday up to Level C, if necessary.

A decision will be made Friday evening based on the 5 p.m. weather advisory. Additional information will be made available to the local media and the public.

The National Weather Service is forecasting Hurricane Irma to make landfall in Florida by Sunday. While the storm’s exact path and potential impact on Pinellas County is not yet certain, evacuations are planned to ensure citizens have adequate time to leave those areas that could be threatened.

Ways to find your evacuation zone:

• Visit www.pinellascounty.org/knowyourzone
• Download the Ready Pinellas app, or the Pinellas County Doing Things mobile app.
• Call (727) 453-3150 and enter your 10-digit home phone number (must be from a landline)

Residents can also call the Citizen Information Center at (727) 464-4333 to get preparedness information including how to look up their evacuation zone. Spanish-speaking call-takers are available. The CIC will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today.

Shelter options:

Residents ordered to evacuate should consider the following shelter options:
• Stay with family members or at a hotel in a non-evacuation zone
• Stay at an emergency shelter; information will be provided at www.pinellascounty.org
• If you have special needs, be sure your caregiver begins to implement your plan. If you have no other options, register for special needs transportation by calling (727) 464-4333 or by contacting the local fire department. You may also travel to a special needs shelter on your own.
• If you have a pet and will need to stay at a pet-friendly shelter, you must register ahead of time. Visit www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/petpreparedness.htm

When planning to evacuate, residents are advised to consider evacuating a short distance (tens of miles, not hundreds of miles) to avoid the impacts of potential storm surge, significant rainfall flooding, and unsafe structures (mobile homes). Consider staying in safer structures that have window and door protection for hurricanes.

If your plans are to evacuate out of the area, please be aware of the uncertainty of the track of Hurricane Irma and that all of Florida is presently in the threat area. When evacuating, people should safely use real time traffic apps on their smart phones, such as Florida 511, to find the best route if roads become congested.

Barrier island residents who have registered for Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Access Permit are reminded to bring the permit with them when evacuating.

Stay tuned for weather updates through weather alert radios, local media outlets, the county website (www.pinellascounty.org) and county social media accounts; search hashtag #PinellasIrma.

Attachments:

/Irma_Release_-_State_of_Local_Emergency_9_7_2017_5_56_44_PM.pdf





A couple notes:

My wife being Diabetic is considered Special Needs. We checked and the Special Needs shelters suggest bringing a cooler for her Insulin as they don't provide a refrigerator. Hmmm, that would work for a few hours in a hot school gymnasium in Florida in late summer, but we can do that at home with our own ice and cooler (plus the Cooluli that we just bought that we can cool from our car cigarette lighter).

We also have a pet, a sweet little well behaved dog. So that limits the shelters available as well.

So we are staying here in Zone D which will likely not be an evacuation zone for this storm.

If we lived in Zone A or B, we'd have to look at a road trip somewhere...


kapSt.Cloud
(Weather Watcher)
Fri Sep 08 2017 04:13 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Bev,

You may wish to hang onto those rooms in GA with Irma shifting west. This storm is crazy!


Lamar-Plant City
(Storm Tracker)
Sat Sep 09 2017 09:38 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Here is something NOT to have happen....preparations are going well. Got boards on my 'lives in Bermuda' neighbors house so I could put one car in their garage. Got half of my boards up (waiting on the north side so I can see out until things turn ugly). Got mom's house battened down and her over here. Plenty of supplies. Then....the garage door breaks this afternoon late. One side cable came off the spool. My neighbor helped my daughter get it up and we didn't worry until an hour ago when we wanted to put it down and it would NOT go....kept slewing sideways and going out of the track. Sent out a plea for help on Facebook and had a couple of people suggest things to do and call. My daughter found a video on YouTube that showed how to get the cable back on the spool....it was actually easy...took 10 minutes and we got it down!!! I shudder to think of it stuck up during this hurricane or someone stealing all I have out there in the night! The door guy is coming by early to check it before I try the motor again.....blood pressure returning to near normal....phew!!

Prospero
(Weather Guru)
Sat Sep 09 2017 10:19 PM
Re: Irma Preparations in Florida - Tips?

Quote:

.....blood pressure returning to near normal....phew!!




Two days cleaning up our yard and storing outside art (projectiles), and all going smooth.

I was filling up a few medium to small sized plastic trash cans with irrigation water when the pump started to hiccup and spit! It's been a couple years since we needed any service, but here we were on the countdown of a major hurricane and our pump quit working. UGH!

In this case, a few solid wraps to the control box with my first seemed to shake it back into action. A sticky solenoid I presume. But tonight? Why of all times??




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