How Not to Prepare for a Hurricane


Small Town Strength and Survival- Hurricane Harvey and the Texas Gulf Coast- Corpus Christi Moms Blog

The week of Hurricane Harvey, the forecast went from “disturbance in the Gulf” to “a Category 1 hurricane headed your way” to “you will soon be hit by a Category 4 hurricane.” The good news is we evacuated from Kingsville in plenty of time, and honestly could have stayed put. Even with only an hour drive separating us from affected areas, our town was generally untouched.

The bad news – WOW were we woefully unprepared for a hurricane!

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Prepare Hurricane - Corpus Christi Moms Blog

After four years of living on the coast, I guess I still never really thought it would happen here. In fact, our own hurricane preparedness had crossed my mind a total of zero times at this point in my life.

A silver lining is that our eyes have now been opened and we’re ready to use this experience to make sure we’re in better shape to face something like this in the future, if need be.

Here are a few tips and tricks we learned during Harvey on how not to prepare for a hurricane:

Don’t be lazy!

We’re renters, and luckily the homeowner had pre-cut boards for the windows all ready to go in the garage. But, we were running out of time and honestly didn’t even know how to put them up, so we left without using them. I realize how ridiculous this sounds, but we were admittedly clueless. We later learned about tension clips that allow you to temporarily board up your windows without using nails or screws – perfect for dummies like us! We’ll be stocking up on these soon.

Sand: not just for the beach! The city generously provided sandbags to residents… if you happened to have a few hours to sit in a mile long line of cars with the rest of the population. I now realize it would probably be a good idea to go ahead and get a few of these to just keep in our garage. The threat of flooding is high here even without a hurricane, so these may come in handy more than we expect.

Be sure to stock up on grocery necessities because the stores WILL run out. Of course essentials quickly disappeared as everyone prepared, but even afterwards things like bread, eggs, milk, etc. were no where to be found. Although our town specifically wasn’t hit, locations of our grocery stores’ distribution centers were hit hard, which had a downstream impact on us.

Don’t be a bad neighbor!

I am so thankful for our close-knit neighborhood! Regardless of if you stay to weather the storm or get out of town, knowing your neighbors during a natural disaster can help everyone out! One neighbor borrowed our ladder to board up her windows. Others checked on our house after the storm and let us know everything was okay. We offered our house, and everything in it (food, water, etc.) to those we know who stayed behind. Times like these are hard enough… why do it alone?

Don’t wait to make important decisions!

Long story short, I forgot the dog. {Don’t worry, we turned around for her!} But really, I wish I would have already had a list of important things to pack up {including dogs.} I hadn’t spent too much time seriously thinking of it before, and here I was having to make the decision stressed, overwhelmed, and QUICKLY! Other than typical overnight bags, I finally settled on the fireproof box full of our important documents and a keepsake from our wedding. My hunter-husband chose to fill an ice chest of all his frozen venison. And off we went! It really is amazing how little you consider absolutely necessary when you have to leave in a hurry. It’s all “stuff,” after all.

Speaking of lists, a good adult would have a documented list of possessions for insurance purposes. Not us! But I did think I would be super proactive before we left and take a tip from a local emergency preparedness guru to walk through the house and take a quick video on my phone. Great idea…unless you’re out of phone storage, of course! Another item on my Post-Harvey to-do list.

While I don’t wish the threat of a hurricane upon anyone, I do hope that our experience can help you to be well prepared in the future, if needed. What have you learned? Leave us your emergency preparedness tips and tricks in the comments below!

Hurricane Harvey caused serious destruction in Houston, but also in small towns along the Texas Gulf Coast, which were seriously damaged or destroyed. From Port Aransas and Rockport to Woodsboro, Bayside, and Tivoli, our community and its history will never be the same. So we’re sharing stories of love, loss, strength, and survival in the Coastal Bend.

Do you have a story or perspective you’d like to share? We’d love for you to submit a guest post and share your experience of Hurricane Harvey.

Read more Hurricane Harvey stories and perspectives from Coastal Bend families.