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Reader Phil Henderson writes:

I’m Phil, a native Floridian, firearm owner, enthusiast, and a volunteer firefighter. Central Florida has been my home all my life and every time a big storm comes around, I think there are a few things people always seem to overlook. I always have extra bottled water and canned goods in the house with my extra flashlight batteries but every time the weather turns nasty, people flip out – and for good reason. Many of them are unprepared. I’d like to give everyone a few bits of information that may be useful.

1. If you call 911 during the hurricane, there is a pretty good chance we will not help you

Brevard County Fire Rescue will remove rescue trucks and ambulances from the barrier island at 7 pm today. There will no longer be rescue or ambulance service after that time.

What this means: If you live beachside on the barrier islands, which is under a mandatory evacuation notice – nobody can help you if you accidentally set your house on fire with some candles or have a concussion navigating your house in the dark. This is why it is really important to get to a storm shelter.

Triage is not just for medical incidents, if it is unsafe for the crew to go out – they won’t go out, which is exactly why equipment and personnel go to shelters on the mainland. Some folks think it is abhorrent for the fire department to do nothing and let their house burn to the ground, but if it’s too far gone or too risky an operation like when there’s no water coming out of the hydrant at 3AM and it’s blowing 115 – it’s going to burn.

2. If you’re going to get a generator, you should probably get a means to defend it

Many years ago when I was a lot more impressionable and way less salty, I had neighbors with generators, cold beer and a less harsh life after the storm. My house went 7 days without power. After day 3, that gets old FAST.

So, we got a generator and made a racket with the rest of the folks in the area. Little did I know that overnight, thieves would leave a running lawnmower in the spot where your generator used to be and they’d scamper off with it like modern day cattle rustlers.

My personal opinion is that generator theft during a state of emergency or after the storm should be a death penalty offense. The ACLU might not agree with me, but both barrels of my granddad’s rabbit ear 12GA do just fine for my purposes.

This goes back to if you call 911 – and that’s supposing you have a phone (landline or mobile) that works – you might not have anyone to help you. In a post storm apocalyptic world – you better be ready and willing to paddle your own canoe.

After Hurricane Andrew down in Homestead back in 1992, I have friends that lived down there and their homes were destroyed. Looters and anarchy reigned in some spots until the national guard showed up and scared everyone away.

That’s a LONG time to be without protection. I’m a believer in the deterrent value of firearms and if you can responsibly defend what’s left of your property and your neighbors property – I say DO IT.

3. County storm shelters are not your house

You have to bring your own bedding, your own food, etc – it’s like prison, except you don’t get three hots nor a cot. And firearms are BANNED AT SHELTERS.

This raises three issues – in many areas, storm shelters are elementary or secondary schools. I don’t want to be on the wrong side of a Gun Free School Zone charge. I will risk my life to save your life. I will not risk my job over some stupid stuff like this. You don’t have a means of self defense in situations like that by statute. Be aware of it before you evacuate to a shelter.

4. Guns after the storm

I didn’t know this until I did the research: the Governor, in our case Rick Scott, has very broad authority under a state of emergency declaration. One of the broad powers the governor has under Chapter 252 is the suspension or limitation of the sale of alcoholic beverages, explosives and firearms.

That means the governor can suspend or limit the sale of firearms but the governor cannot suspend or limit the sale of ammunition.

Which seems to make sense. Until you read another obscure area of FL statutes that allow the local authority having law enforcement jurisdiction broad powers under Chapter 870 to declare a localized state of emergency.

If widespread lawlessness occurs, the local authority by statute automatically prohibits the offer to sell with or without consideration, any ammunition, gun, or firearm of any size or description – in addition to shutting down any firearm or ammunition retailers.

The way the statute is written, there is no differentiation between a commercial firearm retailer like Bass Pro or Gander Mountain versus my neighbor Jimmy with way too many series 70 1911’s.

What this means for you, as a resident that may or may not be living in an area of widespread lawlessness: If you don’t have a gun now, you won’t be able to get one legally when the SHTF. This is why you need to be buying your guns and ammo BEFORE the storm and not after. A simple reading of the statute says that you can lend or borrow one – but it is illegal to

If you’re thinking about breaking the law, it is a second degree misdemeanor – so the penalty isn’t that stiff but it’s enough to get you hauled to county court. I wouldn’t take the chance.

5.  Try not to shoot any looters

This should go without saying. We see way too many people getting shot as it is, and it would be preferable to just hold them at gunpoint until the local LE folks can show up and take things from there.

In short, be safe, be careful, don’t bring your guns to shelters and hope that you have enough guns and ammo post storm – because if the governor and the local LE officials bang the gavel, you won’t be getting any more anytime soon.

80 Responses to Hurricanes, Guns and Public Safety

  1. This is an informative article. My question had to do with what I vividly saw in news repirting on Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Army National Guard, State Troopers ( some called from out of state) ,
    and local police arbitrarily seized firearms if the law- abiding. In one infamous foto an eighty year old woman was roughed up by a large LEO , her revolver seized. Any thoughts on instructions to Flirida authorities about those homeowners who choose to stay in their homes with their firearms? Do authorities have the right to confiscate?

    • I thought that sKatrina confiscation thing had been debunked.

      Anyone have a good, reliable source one way or another?

        • Yea I thought the NRA had done an interview with the old lady. Ginny Simone report.

          That LEO chief or sheriff was a disgrace.

          Maybe you’re thinking of the Superdome ‘happenings’ that The Oprah claimed was going on…thought that was debunked

        • OMG, some brain stems still putting out agenda driven propaganda. JR in NC, does this shoe fit you?

        • “OMG, some brain stems still putting out agenda driven propaganda. JR in NC, does this shoe fit you?”

          You must be new here if you even ask that question.

          Was merely asking a question mesef. Thought I read something, wanted clarification. Figured, you know, actually asking for clarification might be more beneficial than going through life making assumptions.

          Like making the kind of idiotic assumption you have made in that comment.

        • Bud! Long time no see! Glad to see you here.

          I crack up when people say the national guard would never confiscate guns, remembering videos such as these.

      • I don’t know about the old lady video, but NOPD absolutely confiscated firearms from everyone but the large population of thugs. When the subsequent lawsuit was over, people learned that their high end firearms had been stolen (probably by the corrupt N.O. police who confiscated them) and the others had been dumped in a non-controlled environment warehouse to rust away. Remember how their now-incarcerated mayor Ray Nagen took the police force to Las Vegas on a taxpayer-funded junket right after? New Orleans/Katrina is the perfect example of how corrupt government can make any disaster much, much worse.

        • Okay, well fair enough. I thought it was posted here in the comments just a week or so ago that the door-to-door confiscation had been debunked.

          Perhaps I misread, misremembered or the poster was incorrect.

        • As I recall, the guy who said it wasn’t confiscation was only saying that because its wasn’t *forcible.* As in they entered houses post-evacuation and took all the firearms so that looters wouldn’t get them.

          Either way, government agents took privately owned firearms without a legal warrant and without the owners’ permission. So yes, it WAS confiscation.

    • A federal law was passed shortly after Katrina. title 42 code 5207, and Florida 870.044, banning officers from confiscating firearms during a state of emergency unless a criminal act is involved.

  2. So, let me get this straight.

    You say in one part that 911 and e-services won’t respond and everyone is essentially on their own, then go on to say ‘don’t break some minor bullshit law or you’ll get in trouble’?

    Which is it? The alighty State or a breakdown?

    Aside: I kinda learned what I needed to know when you said tgree days w/o electricity was … uncomfortable. Eesh. Three days?

    • Living on an island necessitates evacuations and therefore shelters. He’s giving advice for those who go to a shelter- note that he has a generator and a plan to stay home 99/100.

      • “Living on an island necessitates evacuations and therefore shelters.

        Not really. I happen to live where there are a bunch of islands. I’ve even live on a boat through multiple hurricane seasons.

        Nothing “necessitates” evacuation OR shelters.

        People should be free to choose evacuation or not. If they do choose to evacuate, the onus is on them to arrange a place to evacuate TO.

        “Shelters” is just more FEMA/government bullshit. Note he works in a .gov field…’solutions come from the top – ALWAYS’ mindset.

        Here’s a thought: Instead of ‘how-to’ articles telling us how to live like sheep under totalitarian rule, why not more articles advocating for people to be responsible for their own lives?

        You know, like everyone who carries a gun daily for personal protection claims to be.

    • Which is it? The alighty State or a breakdown?

      It’s the worst of both worlds: State officials trying to maintain an “almighty” appearance when in fact their sphere of influence has been shrunk down to the single high school serving as an emergency shelter.

    • Yeah, 3 days with no electricity.

      I chuckled. In 2004, I lived 5 miles where I live now. That was year 3 hurricanes came to ‘visit’. They weren’t welcome guests.

      I got to ‘enjoy’ a total of 9 days without power. In August. In FLORIDA. Where the humidity was 100 percent since the ground was soaked by torrential rains. Work was shut down due to wind damage, so I got paid to sit at home.

      Moving to a hotel wasn’t an option, they were flooded with other hurricane evacuees. My small core group of friends were holed up with other friends or family. My apartment complex was at the end of the powerline, so to speak, others got their juice back a lot faster since restoring them got more total people restored. Way out in the boonies in my county, some folks waited 6 weeks for power to be restored.

      What *really* sucked was being an information junkie with no information. This was before iPhones and iPods and whatnot, people.

      So, I decided to cure my info Jones with the radio. Big Mistake. They were playing 24-7canned emergency info. The only relief was skywave at night. It wasn’t much help, as nighttime was the only time sleep was gonna be happening.

      Cooling off outside was difficult due to huge increase in the hungry mosquito population. So I got to stay in my little box apartment, with zero cross ventilation with an equally annoyed overheated long-haired cat. She still loves me. 🙂

      Of course, getting 3 hurricanes in a little over one month was *PROOF* of CLIMATE CHANGE!

      Funny thing, though, we had ZERO hurricanes for over 10 years after that. Huh.

      Grrrrrrrrrrr.

      • I can tell you what to expect at Wal-Mart in a disaster area, if they have power. They allowed 100 people inside at at one time with instructions not to take their time. get in, get out. As people exited, people were allowed in.

        That seemed to work. The 2004 hurricane season also brought major changes to Florida based Publix supermarkets.

        *Every* Publix supermarket now has a big-assed brand-new (well, they were new in 2005) 12 cylinder Caterpillar diesel genset out back. Those in Miami, Ft, Laudedale, up and down the space coast, take note.

        At this time, the worst expected damage will be at Coco Beach and the space center. The monster VAB (it had the Saturn inside) has blow-out panels built into the structure. I expect it to look a lot different tomorrow.

        If you’re in the Coco area, I’d strongly getting the Hell out. But not until you’ve stocked-up with critical hurricane supplies at the liquor store…

        • G/PR, howdy neighbor!
          It was 4 cat 4 canes that year that hit Fla.
          We also embedded during that year in Lee Co.
          Charlie was 13 mi from us.
          The week after sucked. And we were the lucky ones.
          Don’t know yer 10-20, but maybe we could meet up at Webb state park for a shoot around someday.

          Be safe; keep the powder dry.

  3. And shelters are like prisons?

    EXACTLY!!!

    So, why would anyone WILLINGLY go there?

    Conditioning for rounding up, camp- lifestyle?

      • The Midwest. As long as you are not in a flood plain the only natural disaster that you face is a Tornado. While absolutely devestating, the effects of a Tornado are highly localized.

        • There’s that pesky super chamber of magma under Yellowstone that’s a ticking time bomb…that’s gotta count for something.

        • Not really. New Madrid fault line? Ice storms that knock out power for weeks in the WINTER. All this “uh don’t live there” bullshit is just that. If you think you live somewhere safe, you’re retarded. Period.

        • The threat from such megadisasters is a black swan that have a near zero probability of happening in your lifetime. Massive storms like hurricanes are a threat to coastal regions every year.

          And I have been through many ice storms and blizzards none of which has led to power outages lasting “weeks”. Get real.

        • “Massive storms like hurricanes are a threat to coastal regions every year. “

          Incorrect.

          If you are going to claim that a mass extinction event has low odds in one individual’s lifetime, you have to compare those apples to the apple of the odds of where an single individual lives getting hit by a hurricane, not the entire coastline of potential storm damage.

          And that is on the whole pretty small and far, far from a ‘threat every year.’

          In a given location, we only have a serious threat from a “massive storm” about once per 3-5 years, if that. Some areas are more prone than others.

          Now that they are naming every cumulonimbus they can find, it SEEMS like the threat of ‘massive storms’ is everywhere. But seriously, look at the facts. Direct hits on the US and serious damage is more rare than ‘every year’ in any one given location.

        • Hurricane activity goes in cycles. A given area can go decades without a hurricane landfall and the get multiple hurricanes in a single season. See Pensacola about a decade ago.

        • How does that contradict what I said…or affirm your initial assertion that I was directing my comment to?

          It does neither.

          You initially said “threat every year.” I said, “Nope.” Now you are are saying they don’t threaten a given area every year.

          Okay, then. Nice discussion. Good back and forth.

          I guess.

        • First off, my comment was a joke. What part of cockroaches with bumper stickers seems serious?

          Secondly, your assertion about probability is incorrect. Statistically speaking the probability of such an event is the same in any given year as it is in any other given year. The fact that the probability is low for any given year is irrelevant.

          Comparing such an event to a hurricane, which we know have a high probability of occurring in every year, makes no sense.

        • I live smack dab in the middle of the Midwest (Wichita,ks) and our winter storms are only matched by our tornadoes in the summer. You have some idea were they might be coming , however all you can do is hunker down, pray and pick up the pieces after. Anyways, just a thought from the Midwest. Keep your powder dry patriots.

        • “The Midwest. As long as you are not in a flood plain the only natural disaster that you face is a Tornado.”

          Not really. We live in Kentucky. In September 2008 hurricane Ike knocked out our power for 7 days and took down a third of the old trees in our neighborhood. Then, in January 2009, an ice storm knocked out our power for 9 days and got half the remaining trees.

  4. Thanks for this. I honestly never thought about generator theft. I normally pull mine behind a detached garage to block some of the noise.

    If things get bad, I’ll put it where I can see it from the house, with a sign that says, “This generator is protected by a large dog and several rifles. It’s not worth dying for.”

    • Keeping the power for your home outside your home seems silly. Just throw it in the laundry room and hook the exhaust to the dryer vent.

      • That’s funny right there.

        Tell ya what – You try it first, and let me know how it works out for you.

        • Or, you could be sufficiently anti-fragile that you don’t NEED a generator running 24/7.

          The level of outright dependence on electricity is stunning.

        • “Insulin doesn’t keep at ambient temps…”

          Copy that.

          BUT …

          Does the genny really need to run constantly?

          Most reefers don’t run non-stop. If it’s well insulated and kept full and not opened more than once/twice a day, does the genny really need to run more than 30 min a few times per day?

          I just don’t get this “run it constantly” stuff.

          Also, on refrigeration needed for medicines…I’d look seriously into a reefer that does not require electricity at all, like a gas absorption unit than CAN run on electrons or any heat source (fire, kerosene burner, whatever). With a fresnel lens, could probably get one to work pretty good on passive solar, too.

          Several years of essentially “off-grid” living I guess has taught me to look at problems like this differently. Electricity is but one tool in the tool box and using a gasoline (or propane) engine to produce it is but one way.

          Anti-fragile mindset requires looking at things from a MUCH higher view than “the one way I’m used to doing things.” This is what bugs me about most ‘prepper’ sites and discussions; too much emphasis on preserving a status quo and less on real problem solving.

        • It works out pretty well. I take it your laundry room is not adjacent to an exterior wall where you can just port the exhaust?

        • JR_in_NC,

          Since I have a gasoline powered generator and limited fuel, I imagine that during a long-term outage I would only run it periodically to power my well pump, fridge/freezer, and charge batteries.

          But I would still be screwed if it was stolen.

  5. “My personal opinion is that generator theft during a state of emergency or after the storm should be a death penalty offense.”

    That may not be as extreme as people might think at first. Even without a hurricane, hurricane season in the South can be rough, especially on the elderly. It gets so hot and humid here that the city opens up cooling stations where people can go and sit in air conditioned spaces to reduce the risk of heat stroke.

    Also, many medicines require refrigeration, as well. So a generator and the electricity it supplies aren’t just for playing video games or other frivolous creature comforts. It can be someone’s last linkage to life. Death penalty for theft is worth discussing.

    • If I’m on the jury for your trial after you shot someone stealing your generator after a storm, let me put in my vote for the foreman now: Not guilty. Next case!

    • They used to hang horse thieves. The reason was, people relied on their horses and couldn’t survive without them. The logic seems to fit here.

      • I live in a “blue” state. Out of self-preservation (of legislators), I’m pretty sure LOGIC is illegal, which is why NY is #1 in things to avoid: gov’t corruption, taxes, laws, welfare, state-run universities, and crime; although including CHI makes IL “in the running.”

  6. This is why, if I ever move to Florida, I will have a custom house built… Recessed windows, 1′ thick concrete walls, etc… It’s amazing how well you can disguise a bunker, the Swiss have turned it into an art form. (Fun fact, most houses in Switzerland have fallout shelters and a good percentage can be converted into fighting positions in short order.)

    • A heavily populated area is a bad place to be during a disaster. Moving to a hurricane prone coastal region would be somewhat foolish. However, insulated concrete form construction is a good way to go if you don’t like flimsy, flammable, water soluble homes. You can further harden it by using a ferrocement exterior and even interior over those foam forms.

      • The plan would be to be outside any major population centers and at least 40-50 feet above the high tide mark. I do most of my work from home these days (it’s why I’m on here fairly regularly) so all I really need for my day to day life is a good internet connection.

        The idea would be something similar to my uncle’s house in Switzerland. Basically, it’s a large concrete bunker buried half way into a hillside. From the outside, it looks like a normal residential home unless you pay attention to details. Then you figure out that his house is actually a well disguised pillbox with creative use of siding and interior design to hide its primary design purpose.

        It will be pricy, but it should have a rather high resale value when you consider the fact that the worst a heavy storm could do is ding up the outside.

        • My wife and I purchased rural acreage at 8,200ft, 3 miles off the nearest highway at the end of a dirt road and abutting a national forest. We have designed the future home already. We have similar ideas about construction and outwards appearance. It will be small and will not look like a place worth robbing – kinda like an a very old witch’s cottage. There are plenty of much wealthier looking and much easier to breach houses in the area.

        • Serge, in Florida, *everything* is built on limestone rock that looks like swiss cheese, you can’t predict when the ground will suddenly open up and disappear into a classic ‘karst’ sinkhole.

          You might want to do some ground penetration radar surveys of the property before you build a nice, heavy bunker on it…

        • Yeah… I knew there was a reason that FL was never on my “places to retire” list…

          Personally, I’m looking at western KY (I LIKE having seasons) and the Texas Gulf Coast for relocation for the next stage in my life. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to raise any kids in the People’s Republik of Illinoisistan.

        • Florida does have quite a lot going for it, the winters are *spectacular*, kinda like San Diego in climate. Gun laws are very good, all NFA toys are good-to-go.

          Just do some planning beforehand. Where I live in central Florida is known as ‘the ridge’, a few hundred feet above sea level. You really need to take the topography into consideration when building to avoid flooding issues.

          Basements are kinda rare here, but if you build high enough a basement is doable, especially if you build it waterproof from the beginning.

          Oh, joy. The first feeder bands have arrived. On this radar image map, I’m at the bottom of the loop bypass road on the road between Tampa and Orlando, the notorious ‘I-4 corridor’…

          http://www.fox13news.com/weather/skytower-radar/florida-radar

    • My youngest brother lived in Bradenton Serge. His house had beefed up windows, doors, and walls and still looked like every other house on the block. Over the course of the years he lived there, the area became so crime ridden, the best offer he could get for his $300,000 house was $50,000.

    • If you were to do this, you need to select your windows very carefully. You want the high end “hurricane resistant” ones that can take a 2×4 at 200mph repeatedly.

      Not only does this enhance the security on your house but it can save your ass in a hurricane. A huge problem in a windstorm like this is a window breaking. When a window breaks on the side the wind is coming from the pressure in the house will rapidly, very rapidly, rise to the point that it pops the roof off the house and now you’re fucked. You can run, and I do mean run to the other side of the house and open another window to relieve the pressure but why bother?

      Hurricane resistant windows with an accordion style aluminum hurricane shutter over it is basically impregnable to the storm. Since the shutters are generally lockable from the inside to boot, security is much enhanced. Even if someone gets through the shutter it will take them probably 20 minutes with a chisel point sledge hammer to break out the window. Plenty of time for you to prepare. Generally this is enough defense that looters won’t bother.

      Also, don’t paint that concrete. There’s a product out there called “Dryvit”. Pick a color and use that. Unlike paint it lasts for decades and, applied correctly, makes the concrete impervious to wind driven rain.

      Source: My parents owned a house in the Caribbean. By the time my dad was done that thing was bomb-proof.

  7. Gargoyle,
    You are 100% wrong
    Florida is a great state to live
    Our natural disaster of hurricanes are usually forecasted days in advance, allowing plenty of time to prepare
    We live in Boynton Beach and we prepare every June and then use the water and stuff up after summer hurricane season
    We have accordion shutters over all windows and doors
    We survived Andrew and Wilma where the eye went right over us
    Florida passed a law that allows everyone to carry a gun in a hurricane evacuation, not just concealed carriers
    Florida is very gun friendly
    Everyone in my neighborhood is armed
    We go to the range or out plinking at least once every month
    In addition to fishing, boating, windsurfing, and paddle boarding as a family
    We lost power for 2 weeks after Wilma and lused motorcycle batteries, charged by solar and the car with an inverter to give a/c for lights and fans and charge cell phones and computers
    Cooked with propane on a camp stove
    We love Florida and are glad there are no earthquakes, forest fires or blizzards here
    We could live anywhere in the U S A we choose here in south Florida

  8. If you have a fresh water source near you I highly recommend getting a Lifestraw. Each device can give you at least a 6 month supply of safe drinking water. As long as you have running water, you have drinking water.

    And as long as you can stay in your house, stay in your house. You have more control over your own safety. If you have to evacuate do so before the storm hits and get as far away from the storm as you can. Motel 6 in North Georgia is safer than your local shelter where you may be dry but still without power and short of food and water.

  9. Personally, for my gensets, I have locks to lock ’em down. I then use those “driveway alarms” that Harbor Freight has for sale for about $15 that will detect motion and send a signal to a receiver inside that will “ding” if/when someone approaches.

    Also, my primary and secondary generators are inverter units. Vewy, vewy quiet. You have to be close to hear them, unlike the traditional gensets that you can hear literally blocks away.

    The lock and the sensor a double layer of protection so I don’t have to babysit the unit. YMMV.

    John

    • I just turn my generator off at bed time. Then thieves have no idea that you have a generator. And the neighbors who do not have generators can actually sleep with their windows open. And you save at least 8 hours of gasoline for what would otherwise be 24 hours of run time.

      • This. Oh, 1000 times this.

        During our power outage after Irene, I could not for the life of me figure out why people were running genny’s throughout the night.

        A refrigerator should be well insulated enough to stay cold for a few hours without power.

        Some tricks to improve that include:

        ** Keep “thermal mass” in mind.

        Fill it up…ALL the way up, with as much frozen stuff as possible; part of storm prep should be freezing bottles of water. The more mass the better.

        ** solid ice is better than cubes in general, but cubes help fill gaps between shelves or items.

        ** don’t open the dang thing more than once per day…if that.

        ** turn the thermostat all the way down to get the box as cold as possible while the genny IS running…it costs (mostly) the same to run the generator to run the ice box at a 32 deg setting as it does to run it at 45 deg setting, for example.

        Therefore, maximize generator efficiency by turning down the temp setting on the fridge. This gets the box colder for a given ‘run time’ on the genny and also has the benefit of it taking longer to warm up while the genny is off.

        With some planning and a nod toward efficiency, you can cut even more than 8 hours per day off that generator running time.

        ** don’t waste precious generator fuel for things like lights in the house. LED flashlights are amazingly efficient, and with rechargable AA and a quick charger, you can keep the charged while the genny is running.

        ** Absolutely don’t waste genny fuel for stuff like an AC stove/oven or clothes drier. Clothes can be hung to dry. Cooking can be done on a burner like a camp stove. Not a bad idea to have a ‘solid fuel’ stove as back-up as well, something like a wood-gas stove that uses pencil diameter twigs and very efficient. We also make “burner buddies” out of scrap cardboard boxes rather than giving it to the recycler to make money on.

        Etc.

        • Buy a few dozen gallon-size freezer bags and fill them with water and stick ’em in the empty spaces in the freezer and fridge to create that thermal mass.

          Humidity will be 100 percent for a few days after, clothes hung out like can mildew before they dry…

        • “Humidity will be 100 percent for a few days after, clothes hung out like can mildew before they dry…”

          Don’t do laundry during those couple of days if that’s the case.

    • What I plan to do when we get a storm in the panhandle again is run a cord from the generator to my bedroom and then plug a spare freezer alarm into it. If someone unplugged the cord from Jenny the 9v freezer alarm screams the no power buzz and wakes me up.

  10. Why don’t folks just go to their friend’s or mama’s in another state, or get a hotel room in Seattle?

    • I’ll take the hurricane in Florida over the mass amounts of annoying liberals and sea hawk fans in Seattle ANY day.

    • Some do. Some like to hang around and protect their property. Also, unless one evacs days ahead of any order, it is very difficult to travel any distance by vehicle with traffic moving at 30mph when not stop and go. One has to evac before being given the order to do so or even before knowing with any certainty that the storm will come ashore near you. Exits out of FL are limited as they are for most areas so more and more evacuees are collected as one heads away from the danger areas.

    • Some do. Some like to hang around and protect their property. Also, unless one evacs days ahead of any order, it is very difficult to travel any distance by vehicle with traffic moving at 30mph when not stop and go. One has to evac before being given the order to do so or even before knowing with any certainty that the storm will come ashore near you. Exits out of FL are limited as they are for most areas so more and more evacuees are collected as one heads away from the danger areas.

  11. One of the reasons people don’t leave is because “authorities” won’t let them back in afterwards. That means what might be left of their belongings are left open and available for looters to take.

    • This is an excellent point.

      This happened on the Outer Banks a few years ago after one storm…don’t recall which. You had to have a “permit” to get on the island.

      Never mind that you were trying to return to YOUR OWN FREAKING PROPERTY.

      I could kinda understand checking address on DL to verify you really DID live in the area in question or something, but to have an entire sub-bureaucracy created to supply a “Return Permit” DURING a state of emergency?

      That’s just nuts in itself.

      Further, the dangers of riding out MOST storms is overblown. Cat 5 bearing down on an eyewall landfall right over your AO? Yeah, getting outside that danger area is warranted. Cat 1-2 with a 20% chance of hitting within 20 miles of you?

      A couple of years ago, one of the big, overly hyped storms here brought far less destruction, recorded windspeeds and rain than a typical summer thunderstorm (that we get 3+ times per week). Yet, because this storm had a “name” and the news propped it up for a week…AND FEMA had to justify their own existence, well, the hype machine was in full force not only before it hit but also after. It was such a non-event that people were openly mocking “the system.” (The government system, not the storm system).

      The down side of this hype effect is that it creates a ‘boy who cried wolf’ syndrome. Folks, especially newcomers from places that did not have hurricanes, hear the hype, get all wound up, then ‘nothing happens’ and they think, “What’s the big deal? Been hearing all this about hurricanes for so long and this is IT?”

      Then, every few years, a real storm hits. But, people have been conditioned to not trust the news folks OR the .gov ’emergency services’ hype machinery, and the warnings are ignored and people, who have also been condition to not take their own precautions, get hurt.

      • “Further, the dangers of riding out MOST storms is overblown.”

        NOT this storm. The eywall is going to skim the coastline, and the coastline in Florida is filled with condo high-rises.

        High-rises sheathed in plate glass for that expensive view of the ocean. High-rises where after a few floors up, the hurricane effects go *up* a category.

        Yeah, it *could* be overblown…

        • True, and we are keeping a weather eye on this one up here as well. A lot of stuff here has been cancelled already, even though now it looks like it might miss us pretty much completely.

          Bigger point still stands, though: for the majority for which the hype is way overblown, a boy-crying-wolf effect happens. THIS storm merits real attention; how many are paying that due attention based on the last 10 that were exaggerated?

        • After Katrina, there was an over-sensitized response to hurricanes.

          Your overall point was valid…

  12. As a lifelong Florida resident also I appreciate the insight. Especially about Chapter 870. Never even heard of it before.

  13. The January 15th deadline for Saddam Hussein to begin removing his forces from Kuwait had passed hours earlier. And it wasn’t just that the U.S. had over half a million troops massed in the Arabian desert, poised for war. It was that America hadn’t used its military in a way remotely close to this since Vietnam. There was this fear—a complex really—that any large-scale war we attempted would end up the same way. I got that from watching the news during the buildup. Or maybe it was just my perception from living with a mother whose cousin had been killed at Long Khanh in South Vietnam.

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