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Tropical Storm Idalia Likely to Become Hurricane Headed to Florida West Coast
Written by Sundance of The Conservative Treehouse
Information from the National Hurricane Center indicates currently slow-moving Tropical Storm Idalia will likely speed up quickly tomorrow and form a Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday. The current cone of uncertainty puts the Northern and Western portion of Florida at greatest risk.
The center of Tropical Storm Idalia was located near latitude 20.0 North, longitude 85.8 West. Idalia is moving toward the north near 2 mph (4 km/h), and it is likely to meander near the Yucatan Channel through tonight. A faster motion toward the north is expected on Monday, bringing the system over the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
Maximum sustained winds remain near 40 mph (65 km/h) with higher gusts. Strengthening is forecast, and Idalia is expected to become a hurricane by Tuesday.
Idalia May Become A Category 2 Hurricane
Those in the cone of uncertainty should pay attention, and people in the Tampa and St Pete region who have really lucked out in the past 30 years, should pay very close attention. I hope you will understand why my proactive tips, advice and planning have modified since our experience with the September 2022 Hurricane, Ian. Thankfully Idalia is not expected to be anything like Ian. However, for those in the Tampa/St Pete area, do not be complacent. This is a large metropolitan area with a similar demographic to the impact zone of Ian.
In my last set of proactive suggestions, I focused first and foremost on something few discuss; mental capability. Due to what I witnessed in Hurricane Ian with the people of the area, I am always going to put this into the analysis now to provide consideration that few understand. I saw Ian literally break strong people down and create a PTSD demographic I have never experienced before.
What follows below are things to consider if you are prepping for a hurricane impact and/or deciding whether to stay in your home or evacuate. Standard hurricane preparations should always be followed. Protect your family, secure your property and belongings, and prepare for the aftermath.
What you do before the hurricane hits is going to determine where you are in the recovery phase. Additionally, and this should be emphasized and discussed within your family, if you cannot be self-sufficient in the aftermath, then you should evacuate. Self-sufficiency in this context requires being able to cope for up to several weeks with limited, or no;
Communication outside the region.
Municipal and private sector assistance.
If you decide you cannot deal with these outcomes, you should evacuate. Additionally, as a family or individual, you should also honestly evaluate:
Your physical abilities
Your emotional and psychological ability to withstand extreme pressures;
Your comfort in losing daily routines, familiar schedules and often overlooked things you might take for granted.
Post hurricane recovery is fraught with stress, frustration and unforeseeable challenges.
Those In The Cone Of Uncertainty
Planning and proactive measures taken now can significantly reduce stress in the days ahead. Plan when to make the best decision on any evacuation (if needed). For now, consider Tuesday night the decision timeframe. As a general rule: take cover from wind, but evacuate from rising water.
Determine Your Risk
Make a Written Plan
Develop and Evacuation Plan
Inventory hurricane/storm supplies.
Get Storm Update
Assemble and Purchase Hurricane Supplies
Contact Insurance Company – Updates
Secure Important Papers.
Strengthen and Secure Your Home
Make Evacuation Decision for your Family.
Get Storm Update
Re-Evaluate your Supplies based on storm update.
Finish last minute preparation.
Assist Your Neighbors
If Needed – Evacuate Your Family
Communication Is Crucial
Update your contact list. Stay in touch with family and friends, let them know your plans. Select a single point of contact for communication from you that all others can then contact for updates if needed. Today/tomorrow are good days to organize your important papers, insurance forms, personal papers and place them in one ‘ready-to-go’ location.
Evaluate your personal hurricane and storm supplies; update and replace anything you might have used. Assess, modify and/or update any possible evacuation plans based on your location, and/or any changes to your family status.
Check your shutters and window coverings; test your generator; re-organize and familiarize yourself with all of your supplies and hardware. Check batteries in portable tools; locate tools you might need; walk your property to consider what you may need to do based on the storms path. All decisions are yours. You are in control.
Consider travel plans based on roads and traffic density. Being proactive now helps to keep any future stress level low. You are in control. If you have pets, additional plans may be needed. One possible proactive measure is to make a list of hotels further inland that you would consider evacuating to. Make that list today and follow updates of the storms’ progress.
Depending on information tomorrow you might call in advance and make a reservation; you can always cancel if not needed. It is better to have a secondary evacuation place established in advance. Being proactive reduces stress. Even if you wait until much later to cancel, it is better to pay a cancellation fee (usually one night charge) than to not have a plan on where to go. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Protect your family. Make the list of possibilities today, make the booking decision in the next 24 hrs. Read the National Hurricane Center resources for planning assistance
If you do not handle stress well, leave.
If you cannot be self-sufficient in the aftermath, leave.
If you choose to stay, pay super close attention to the path of the storm. A few miles make a massive difference when you are dealing with the possibility of encountering the eyewall of a hurricane.
This is a fury of nature, a battle where the odds are against you, that you may or may not be aware you are contemplating when you are choosing to stay or evacuate. It’s not the hurricane per se’, it’s that much smaller killer buzzsaw – the eyewall- that you are rolling the dice, never to see.
When it comes to the eyewall, the truest measure of the “cone of uncertainty“, the difference between scared out of your mind (victim) and a fight to avoid death (survivor), is literally a matter of a few miles. And there ain’t no changing your mind once it starts.
Hardening Your Home
Is a matter of careful thought and physical work. However, every opening into your structure must be protected, leaving yourself with one small exit opportunity just in case. Hopefully you have a bolted door with no glass windows you can use as an emergency exit.
If not, select a small window and leave only enough room uncovered for you to get out in case of emergency or structural collapse. Beyond the ordinary supplies like drinking water, batteries, flashlights, battery or hand-crank radio, generators, gasoline, etc. Evaluate the scale of what you have against the likelihood of weeks without power or water.
More Pro Tips
Put three 30-gallon trash cans in the shower and fill them with water before the storm. This will give you 90 gallons of water for cooking and personal hygiene. You will also need water to manually flush your toilets. Bottled water is great for drinking, hydrating and toothbrushing, but you will need much more potable water if the municipal supply is compromised or broken.
A standard 6,500-to-8,500-watt generator will run for approximately 8 hours on five gallons of gasoline. Do not run it all the time. Turn it on, chill the fridge, make coffee, use the microwave or charge stuff, then turn it off. Do this in 4-hour shifts and the fridge will be ok and your gasoline will last longer. Gasoline is a scarce and rare commodity in the aftermath of a hurricane. Gas stations don’t work without power. Check the oil in the generator every few days. Also, have a can of quick start or butane available in case the generator starts acting up.
Extension cords. If you are purchasing them buy at least one 50 to 100′ extension cord with a triple ponytail. This way you can use one cord into a central location to charge up your electronic devices. Establish a central recharging station for phones, pads, laptops, and rechargeable stuff.
Purchase a box of “contractor garbage bags” and just keep them in the garage. These are large, thick, industrial trash bags that fit 40-gallon drums. They can be used for trash, or even cut open for tarps in the aftermath of a storm. These thick mil contractor bags have multiple uses following a hurricane.
Do all of your laundry before the hurricane hits. You will likely not have the ability again for a few weeks.
Cook a week’s worth of meals in advance of the hurricane. Store in fridge so you can microwave for a meal. Eating a constant diet of sandwiches gets old after the first week. Dinty Moore canned beef stew and or Chef-boy-ardee raviolis can make a nice break…. anything, except another sandwich.
Have bleach for use in disinfecting stuff before and after a hurricane. Also have antibiotics and antiseptics for use. Hygiene and not getting simple infections after a hurricane is critical and often forgotten. Again, this is where the extra potable water becomes important. Simple cuts and scrapes become big deals when clean potable water is not regularly available. Keep your scrapes and abrasions clean and use antiseptic creams immediately.
Do not forget sunscreen and things to relieve muscle aches and pains. Hurricane recovery involves physical effort. You will be sore and/or exposed to the elements. Remember, it’s all about self-sufficiency because the normal services are not available. A well-equipped first aid kit is a must have.
Buy a small camping stove. Nothing big or expensive, just something you can cook on outside in case of emergency. It will be a luxury when you are 2+ weeks without power and all the stores and restaurants are closed for miles.
Those small flashlights that you can strap around your head that take a few AAA batteries? Yup, GOLD. Those types of handsfree flashlights are lifesavers inside and outside when you need to see your way around. Nighttime is especially dark without electricity in the entire town. Doing stuff like filling a generator with gasoline in the middle of the night is much easier with one of those head strap flashlights. Strongly advise getting a few, they’re inexpensive too.
Cash. You will need it. Without power anything you may need to purchase will require cash, especially gasoline. Additionally, anyone you hire to help or support your immediate efforts will need to be paid. Cash is critical. How much, depends on your individual situation, but your cash burn rate will likely go into the thousands in the first few days. Also keep in mind, you may or may not be able to work and without internet access even getting funds into place could be challenging.
Hardware. A box of self-tapping sheet metal screws (short and long) is important, along with a box or two of various wood screws or Tyvex screws. A battery drill or screw gun is another necessity. Check all of this stuff during hurricane prep.
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