Experiencing a Hurricane

Gema is a 19year old from Miami, FL. She loves reading and writing young adult fiction and claims to pass out in the presence of sterile wit.

Hurricane Season arrived on June 1st and won’t be checking out until November 30th. I grew up in Miami, Florida and I’ve experienced a couple of hurricanes. Thanks to my family’s insistence in always being prepared, I’ve never suffered anything worse than loss of electricity.

To prepare for a hurricane, the family needs to communicate. Have a plan, just in case the family is separated. Have the number and address of any distant relative in case you need to be relocated. Assign tasks to prepare the home. For example, big brother can buy the gallons of water and can foods, big sister can be in charge of keeping all the flashlights and batteries together, little sister can be in charge of organizing a first aid kit, and etc. I’ve learned that you can be safer and more prepared if it’s a group effort.

If you’ve done what you can to be safe, then all that’s left is to wait out the storm. The hurricane experience can last an entire day, depending on the size and speed of the hurricane. First, there are the storms and tornados hitching a ride on the hurricane’s tail. The closer the “eye” of the storm is, the worse the storm gets. But the eye itself is calm. The worse usually comes after the eye has passed. Waiting around for the storm to pass can be torture. You can hear the wind howling as though it’s alive and angry. The wind gusts slam against the window. Debris is hurled and can land near your home with colossal bangs. Metal scrapes the roads and it sounds like nails on chalkboard. The electricity will usually be long gone by then, so it’s a lot like being in a scary movie.

What I’ve done in the past is to sleep through the storm in the room with the least windows. My parents kept watch. I think sleeping and talking with your family are two great ways to pass the time during a hurricane. If there’s enough visibility, playing a card or board game or reading can help. I would recommend not using any electronics during the storm. More than likely, the electricity will be out for a long time after the storm and it’s not wise to waste batteries so soon. In Miami, we got hit by Hurricane Katrina before it destroyed New Orleans. We only experienced a level one Katrina but some sectors didn’t have electricity until four to six weeks later.  The time without electricity can be a great opportunity to bond with your family. When it’s dark, you can sit around and tell ghost stories. During the day, you can cook food on the grill. If there’s damage, the family can get together and bounce off ideas on how to repair or replace.

Like in any situation in life, you have to be prepared for the worse and hope for the best. Talk with your family about the ways you can prepare for a hurricane. If one does come your way, calmly follow orders given in your district. If you have to evacuate, evacuate. If not, prepare your home the best way possible, inside and out.

You can find information (and list of supplies) in English and Spanish in the Hurricane Preparedness week site: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/HAW2/english/intro.shtml

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