Tropical Cyclone Prep

Schools across Mecklenburg County are closed today and tomorrow in preparation to open as shelters for Hurricane Florence evacuees. Even though our daycare is not a shelter location, it follows the CMS schedule so now I have two mini hurricanes at home with me on this gorgeous, sunny, 85 degree with less than 10% chance of rain day. And it also appears the hurricane, although still scheduled to bring us lots and lots of rain at the beginning of next week, has significantly weakened so as long as we don’t lose internet we should be just fine over here. But that hasn’t stopped Charlotteans from freaking out and buying all of the bread and water in town. Across all of the local mommy forums there has been tip after tip shared on how to prepare for the storm, and living in Florida for 23 years through many tropical cyclones I’ve learned a thing or two as well. So today I’m sharing the most comprehensive list I’ve seen on how to prepare for the worst storms. I hope you never need it, but just in case save this list for the future and share your tips in the comments as well for others!

  1. Charge devices — laptops, tablets, etc. Charge external battery back ups. Before the storm, unplug all electronics in case of power surges during and after the storm.
  2. Gather all candles, flashlights, lighters, matches, batteries, and other items and keep them accessible.
  3. Wash all trash cans, big and small, and fill with water for flushing toilets. Line outdoor trash cans with trash bags, fill with water and store in the garage. Add bleach to sterilize.
  4. Fill every tub and sink with water. Cover sinks with Saran Wrap to keep it from collecting dust. Fill washing machine and leave lid up to store water.Fill old empty water bottles and other containers with water and keep near sinks for washing hands.
  5. Fill every Tupperware with water and store in freezer. These will help keep food cold longer and serve as a back up water supply. Fill drinking cups with water and cover with Saran Wrap. Store as many as possible in fridge. The rest you can store on the counter and use first before any water bottles are opened. Ice is impossible to find after the storm.
  6. Reserve fridge space for storing tap water and keep the sealed water bottles on the counter.
  7. Fill your propane tanks. You can heat soup cans, boil water, make coffee, and other stuff besides just grilling meat. Get an extra, if possible.
  8. Wash all dirty clothes and bed sheets. Anything dirty will smell without the A/C, you may need the items, and with no A/C, you’ll be sweating a lot. You’re going to want clean sheets.
  9. Clean your environment so you have clear, easy escape routes. Even if that means temporarily moving furniture to one area. Clean all counters in advance. Start with a clean surface. Mop your floors and vacuum. If power is out for 10 days, you’ll have to live in the mess you started with.
  10. Scrub all bathrooms so you are starting with a clean odor free environment. Store water filled trash cans next to each toilet for flushing.
  11. Toss out any expiring food, clean cat litter boxes, empty all trash cans in the house, including bathrooms. Remove anything that will cause an odor when the A/C is off. If you don’t have a trash day pickup before the storm, find a dumpster.
  12. Bring in any yard decor, secure anything that will fly around, secure gates, bring in hoses, potted plants, etc. Bring in patio furniture and grills.
  13. Make sure you have cash on hand.
  14. Stock up on pet food and fill up bowls of water for pets.
  15. Refill any medications. Most insurance companies allow for 2 emergency refills per year.
  16. Drop your A/C in advance and lower temperatures in your fridges.
  17. Pick your emergency safe place such as a closet under the stairs. Store the items you’ll need in that location for the brunt of the storm.
  18. Run your dishwasher, don’t risk having dirty smelly dishes and you need every container for water! Remember you’ll need clean water for brushing your teeth, washing yourself, and cleaning your hands. Shower just before the storm is scheduled to hit.
  19. Put a small suitcase in your car in case you decide to evacuate. Also put at least one jug of water in your car. It will still be there if you don’t evacuate! You don’t need to store all water in the house.
  20. Check on all family members, set up emergency back up plans, and check on elderly neighbors. Remember, pets are family too. Take them with you!
  21. Gas up your car and have a spare gas container for your generator or your car when you run out.
  22. If you can, take a video of your house and contents….walk room to room–open cabinets/drawers and closets. This will help if you need to make a claim later. It will show proof and help you list all the items.
  23. Freeze a cup of water, place a coin on top after it is frozen…keep this in your freezer to help you gauge the temperature if the power goes out. If the coin stays on top, the food is staying frozen. If the coin falls into the water, the freezer thawed out and most food will likely need to be thrown away. This is super helpful is you have to leave and come back, as it may appear everything is still frozen, but if the coin is in the cup–you will know!!
  24. Place everything you own that is important and necessary in a backpack or small file box that is easy to grab. Include your wallet with ID, phone, hand sanitizer, snacks, etc. Get plastic sleeves for important documents.
  25. *Inflate air mattresses/floats in case of flooding. You can use these as floatation devices for kids/babies.
  26. *If a window blows out, make sure all interior doors are shut to avoid pressure building up which can cause you to lose your roof!
  27. *Turn your power OFF if there is flooding to prevent the outlets from causing electrocution.
  28. *Sandbag all doors.

**new tips added!

Stay safe, friends!



  1. Shawna
    September 13, 2018 / 3:37 pm

    Wow! These are super helpful!! I am on the West Coast, but I have friends/family in North Carolina. I am going to forward this post to them-thank you so much!

  2. Shawna
    September 13, 2018 / 3:38 pm

    I forgot to tell you and everyone-be safe, we are praying for all of you!!

  3. Sara willhite
    September 13, 2018 / 9:32 pm

    Dishwasher being safe place to store documents is an urban myth. Water can and will get inside.

    • Christina
      September 14, 2018 / 9:55 am

      well dang, it sounded like such a good idea when I heard it! thankfully I’ve never had to test it out! I’ll swap this tip out with another tip I just got!

  4. Amy
    September 14, 2018 / 8:58 am

    Just came to say the same thing. I live in Houston and got to enjoy Harvey last year. Dirty water filled my dishwasher.

    • Christina
      September 14, 2018 / 9:56 am

      ugh, that is TERRIBLE! OK, taking that one down. My sister just texted me a novel of things I forgot to add. haha.

  5. September 14, 2018 / 9:56 am

    Oh, wow! Such great tips. I have family and friends in both NC and SC and am praying for ALL of you. Safety and health, primarily, and that your homes and businesses are protected as well. XO

  6. Natalie Clifton
    September 14, 2018 / 10:01 am

    Thank you so much! We are moving to Florida from Maryland in October and I am sure this list will come in handy!

  7. Amanda
    September 14, 2018 / 11:31 am

    My tip is generally to get the hell out of dodge! But these are all good in less dire circumstances. My parents always took ALL our family photos when we evacuated, so think about the “irreplaceable” items you may want to take with you in case your house is flooded.
    My tip for “riding it out” is unfortunately to keep an ax in the attic. We live in New Orleans in a house that had 7 feet of water during Katrina (we didn’t live in this particular house then thank god) – but someone in the house across the street stayed and had to hack their way out through the roof when the water rose.
    Good luck! I hope yall get spared!

  8. Erin
    September 14, 2018 / 3:05 pm

    Excellent tips! It never hurts to be prepared! Like you, I have been through these events many times, as I live along the southern NJ coast and we get our fair share of Nor’Easters, tropical storms, and hurricane scares. Many individuals did not evacuate during Hurricane Sandy due to prior threats of storms that didn’t live up to “the hype”. We endured significant flooding along the mainland, and on the island towns where the bay met the ocean; residents were stuck for days. Scary stuff! Storms can always change track, so being prepared means that you are placing you and your loved ones in a position where you can endure whatever Mother Nature brings you. Stay safe!

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