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Get ready for Hurricane Matthew NOW!

Sorry, not sorry, to yell at you in my headline, but Hurricane Matthew is going to get awfully close to expected to hit Florida's east coast -- in fact, very near where the hubby and I lived for six years --  in the next few days, so time is short to get ready for him.

Hurricane Matthew cone of uncertainty 5 PM ET Oct 5 2016
National Hurricane Center's 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, update of Hurricane Matthew's projected path, aka the cone of uncertainty, or as we called in when we lived in South Florida, the cone of panic.

I know I blogged about this storm earlier this week, which at one point was a category 5 and, although its intensity lessened, still struck a deadly blow to Haiti. I've updated that prior post, but since Hurricane Matthew is likely to get back up to category 3 or even 4 as it churns over more open, hot water, I wanted to share some preparation specifics.

These can be found on the ol' blog's Storm Warnings page, a collection of my posts over the years about preparing for, recovering from and helping out those folks who suffer through natural disasters.

In a crunch, however, I know folks like having the info at their fingertips. So here it is, again.

Preparing for a hurricane: As I noted back in 2012 when Superstorm Sandy was on her way, you need to get ready physically and financially.

My South Florida pal Malarkey shared her plan via Twitter:

Malarky hurricane Matthew prep Twitter

I appreciate the good humor with which she's coping with the impending possible effects of Matthew. But I also know she's a Florida storm season veteran so she's done most if not all these things I suggest below.

On the physical prep side: 

  • Stockpile drinking water. Lots of it. And don't forget water for you can use for personal hygiene, like hand washing and teeth brushing. If you have a spare bathtub, fill it up for use here.
  • Freeze as much ice as you can now. This will help keep your frozen food good when you lose power, and you will. You also can melt it to drink.
  • Fill up your car. Yes, I know the lines are long. But if you can top off your vehicle's tank, it will help when you're finally able to get back out on the road.
  • Have plenty of canned food, preferably items that you can eat at room temperature or heat up on a hibachi or other small grill that you also should have on hand.
  • Pack some clean clothes. When you can't use your washer and you're sweating through days without air-conditioning, you'll be glad you have a change of apparel.
  • Buy batteries. Like with bottled water, buy lots and lots of batteries. You'll need them to deal with the aforementioned power outage. And be sure to charge up your cell phone. If that service comes back before full electricity, you can use it to connect with the outside world.
  • Fill your first aid kit. Even if you escape major injuries, you'll likely have to deal with some cuts and scrapes, especially if you have kids.

On the financial side:

  • Have cash on hand. When power goes out, you can't get money at your local ATM. And stores that open might not be able to process credit cards.
  • Have a credit card available. Even though you might not be able to use it immediately after the storm, a credit card could come in handy if you need to pay for temporary shelter for a while.
  • Check your insurance. Most insurers halt issuing coverage when a storm is on the way, but if you already have a policy, make sure you know what it covers so you can start that process quickly after the storm passes. Also double check your medical coverage, just in case.
  • Gather all financial documents, including tax forms: In addition to your insurance info, have on hand a list of bank account and credit card numbers. Your taxes will help if your area is declared a major disaster, and you want to file an amended return to get more immediate tax help.
  • Do a pre-storm inventory: A complete list of everything you own will help you document what belongings are damaged by a storm. American Family Insurance has a good list, as does the Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner's office. You'll need this info for any insurance claims. Take photos, too. And download this data and all your financial info to a flash drive or upload it to a cloud storage service for safekeeping.

Leave if told to: I hope all your storm prep turns out to be unnecessary. But, as I said earlier, just in case….

Most of all, stay safe. If your local or state officials say evacuate, get the heck out of town.

Hurricane evacuation sign advice

The skewed evacuation humor in the photo above comes thanks to another friend who also used to live in Florida. Kristin is totally crazy in a good way, but she's also right.

Do grab your beverage of choice, be it Kristin's beer recommendation or Malarkey's wine.

But also grab your go bag, and get to safety. 


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