Part II, Lessons from Hurricane Ian

Posted originally on the conservative tree house on October 29, 2022 | Sundance 

The ‘context’ of Ian was shared previously {Go Deep}.  Here we outline 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 – for any reason, then you should evacuate.

Self-sufficiency in this context requires being able to cope for up to several weeks:

(1) potentially without power; (2) potentially without potable running water (3) potentially without internet service; (4) potentially without communication outside the region; and (5) with limited 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:

(1) your physical abilities; (2) your emotional and psychological ability to withstand extreme pressures; and (3) 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.

I saw a video presented by a structural engineer who was sharing his experience with Hurricane Ian.  I am going to use his video for a few references because even with professional credentials, some of the common mistakes people make are highlighted in his experience.  Keep in mind his video is taken about 30 miles inland from where the majority impact area (coastal region) is located.

The video below was shot from the soft side (western side) of the storm, and if we were to scale the difference between his experience and a person who was located in/around Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, Pine Island or Cape Coral, he would be around a “5” on a ten-point impact scale.

Meaning the severity of conditions 30 miles southeast of him was twice as severe as his inland experience.

Key Points – At the 21: 35 moment (prompted), notice how his #2 vehicle is parked outside.  Also, at the 22:00 minute moment, notice what he is describing and showing with his garage door and how his #1 vehicle (a pickup truck) is positioned inside the garage. WATCH:


♦ This is exactly what I was talking about in hurricane preparation when discussing the garage door.  If that videographer was located 30 miles southeast, and/or his house was positioned facing West, instead of North, his garage door would have failed.  If you lose the garage door, YOU COULD LOSE YOUR ROOF.

You can always tell those people who have been through direct hurricane impacts by how they parked their cars.  I have never included this in the hurricane advice before so it’s worth a mention.  If you lose your Florida garage door you will more than likely lose your roof.  That’s just the reality of having a massive opening in your structure to 150 mph winds that will lift the trusses.

If you have two vehicles, put one vehicle inside the garage with the front bumper against the door to help stop the flex (do this carefully).  Put the other vehicle outside blocking the garage door facing down the driveway or facing parallel to the garage.  The goal is to use the aero dynamics of the car to push the wind away from the door and provide protection.

Purchase a cheap car cover to protect the outside vehicle and/or use old blankets (cable ties, bungee cords) to stop the outside vehicle from getting sandblasted and destroyed.  Place double folded corrugated cardboard in front of the radiator to protect it from storm debris.

Additionally, if you live in a flood zone, or if you are concerned about storm surge, the day before impact take your #1 car to the nearest airport or hotel with a parking garage and park in the upper levels.  Take an uber back home if you don’t have a friend or partner to help you.  This way you know you will have one workable vehicle, just in case.

♦ Another lesson from Ian, if you drive an electric vehicle and sustain saltwater intrusion (of any level) your car is not safe.  Saltwater makes the vehicle batteries extremely dangerous, and they could spark or catch fire.  Multiple homes survived Hurricane Ian only to have the electric car catch fire in the garage and burn the house to the ground.  Hurricane rain is saltwater rain.  The fire department was begging people to put their ev’s outside and not to plug them in.  Dozens of ev’s also erupted in flames while driving down the streets after the storm.

Back to the video above…

♦ Notice at 24:30 of the video this professional structural engineer is standing and physically supporting his glass patio doors, with his wife, trying to keep them from breaking in due to wind and pressure changes.  DO NOT DO THIS !   That is beyond dangerous.  Any small item of debris (even a small twig or branch) could hit that window and shatter it, turning flying glass into instant flying blades.

Put 3/4-inch plywood or steel bolted hurricane shutters over all your windows and doors.  Period.  This is not an option.  My steel bolted hurricane shutters were hit with debris so hard – whatever it was physically dented the steel.  Every window and door need to be covered and protected, especially glass patio doors (even if tempered). Do not think you can stand there and protect glass doors.  It’s beyond dangerous.

♦ 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.   A few pro tips below:

♦ 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 100 to 150′ 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.

♦ ADD.  I forget my #1 personal nemesis in the aftermath (pictured below):

Roofing nails.  The pesky roofing nails.  Thousands of em’, all over. Those buggers are everywhere, and they will go through a flip-flop, sneaker sole or car tire perfectly. Most of them are black (not yellow) like the ones above.  Some of them have square of flat tops to help them stand up just perfect to find your tires.

I happen to believe roofing nails are actually tire magnets with some sort of automatic triggering system to jump in front of your car at the worst possible moments.  On the positive side, I think my neighborhood is safe because my tires have picked up every one of em’.  LOL and Grrrr…

More later…. but I hope this is useful.  [Lie to me, even if it ain’t. lol.]

Love to all,

~ Sundance

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