We lost power about 10:30 p.m. Sunday evening as Hurricane Irma approached; no big deal, we went to bed. I was so exhausted I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I was jarred awake at 1:45 a.m. Monday by my husband shaking me–he said, “I think there’s a tornado nearby.”
I grabbed my glasses and my Glock and headed to our makeshift safe room (our laundry room which is the innermost room in our home). We heard roaring winds but didn’t know what was going on. Then at 2:02 a.m. all got quite. We looked at each other. The glance was all that was needed; we were in the eye of the hurricane.
Knowing that the eye was 40 miles wide, we took our dog out to pee. Trees were down. Large branches were in our yard. But no major damage.
I stocked our safe room earlier in the day. I made sure we had everything we needed in case our home was hit my a tornado—our bug-out-bags, pet bug-out-bags, a shot gun, two cases of shells, a case of MREs, a case of water and blankets. I had set down my taekwondo mat for us to lie down on.
The eye passed and things got really bad. But living in a post-Andrew house, we knew our home could withstand a Category 3 hurricane. And the back of the house was boarded up. So we went back to bed around 3 a.m. By this time we were exhausted. We spent the week preparing for the storm and there’s not much you can do during an active event.
My dh woke up about 10:30 a.m.—still no electric. I am the sleepy head in the family and didn’t wake up until I smelled the coffee. I got my husband a stove top percolator a few years back. I bought this house before I met my husband and I had a gas range and a gas water heater installed. (I had my home custom built.) So I woke up to fresh coffee—major bonus points for the hubby.
The day before we moved all the stuff from the inside freezer-refrigerator to the outside freezer and refrigerator. We put the stuff we expected to use in coolers. We had started saving ice from our ice maker and putting the ice in trash bags for the outside freezer since the beginning of hurricane season. On Saturday I bleached out the inside refrigerator-freezer. We had a cooler for lunch meat, a cooler for fruits and veggies and the big cooler for drinks and condiments.
We didn’t need any of the water preps we had prepared—a 55-gallon water barrel, eight 7-gallon aqua-tanks or 15 36-bottle cases of water. (Our water was fine the whole time.)
We had plenty of food. As I said earlier, my dh woke me up with the smell of coffee. We had coffee without our computers on. We both like to check the news in the morning. I felt a tinge of disconnect, not being able to access the Internet. Then I cooked breakfast burritos—scrambled eggs cooked with onions and red bell peppers, served on tortillas with a little hot sauce.
Then we went out and cranked up the generator. We ran the generator for two hours. Our generator is sufficient to power both the outside freezer and the outside refrigerator. My dh also plugged in the electric chain saw and cut up some large limbs. I hosed down the front porch and put back the plants. My 15-foot fiddle leaf fern made it okay, as did my other plants.
(Neighbors came by and checked on us and we said hello to others walking pets.)
By then it was lunchtime. Because I had a gas range installed, cooking was as simple as turning it on and lighting it with a match–although we had redundancy built into our preps. (Coleman camp stove, Volcano grill and our BBQ propane grill with a backup tank.) I made Rueben sandwiches served with Funyuns and pickles—a most excellent survival lunch.
By 2 p.m. we had everything cleared from our property. Neighbors came over to check on us and we checked on other folks in our neighborhood. I think we met more people today than in the whole 10+ years we’ve lived here.
We took my dh’s Harley-Davidson Sportster out to check out the damage in our area. The subdivision to the east of us is totally flooded. One house is totally destroyed—a tree came down right on the roof. Neighbors said that house flooded in 2004 and 2009. The renters eventually abandoned the property.
Everywhere we stopped, we talked to people and asked if they needed anything but they waived us off and said, “We’re good.”
When we got back home, about 5:30 p.m., we saw the fishpond fountain begin pumping. I yelled, “We’ve got power!”
Assessing our preps, I found a few holes.
- First and foremost, I assumed that my battery-powered alarm radio would actually play the radio via battery—not the case. We had a hand crank backup. But we had to crank the radio (like continuously) just to hear the news. We need a good battery powered radio.
- Second, we did not have enough ice. We had 10 trash bags of ice and eight quart-sized ziplock bags of ice—that’s not enough. This amount of ice could get us through two days without electricity—not the five days we had estimated. (I plan on ordering a portable ice maker that can run from the generator.)
- We had no hand-held CB radio or Ham radio to call for help. (I need the Pack’s help on this item.)
What we did right.
- We had plenty of gasoline and oil for the generator. We averaged five gallons of gas per day. We had 25 gallons in stock. We need to get another five 5-gallon gas tanks and have them filled for the next storm.
- We had an extra tank of propane in the garage. Folks were running around scared.
- We have a Coleman Stove and a Volcano Stove, as well as a BBQ grill.
- We have a percolator coffee maker.
- We have a gas water heater and a gas stove. (We could cook and take hot showers.)
- We have several coolers and enough ice for two days.
- I cleaned out the inside refrigerator-freezer, and consolidated stuff in the outside freezer and refrigerator, so we only had to run the outside refrigerator and freezer.
- We had a 55-gallon water barrel, eight 7-gallon water tankers and 15 36-bottle cases of water.
- We had two cases of MREs.
- We set up a safe room in the laundry room (the innermost room of our home). I stocked it will a case of water, a case of MREs, a 12 gauge, two cases of 00 buck, my taekwondo mat, and plenty of blankets. We sheltered in place with two persons, a GSD and three cats.
I am tired and want to go to sleep. I hope the rest of the pack, especially Izzy, is good to go.
God Bless and Good Night,