Nine Lessons Learned From Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew came and went with very little damage to me or anyone I know.

Many people asked, “Is it serious?”

As I mentioned in my last post, it is… and it isn’t.

See fortunately and unfortunately, we live in a society with a lot of modern conveniences, plenty of sturdy buildings and access to television and a twenty-four news cycle that does not shut up.

In places like Haiti, the same storm killed 800 and counting. With parts of Haiti’s south completely destroyed.

With these modern conveniences, we have become complacent and lack discernment.

Here are nine lessons learned from Hurricane Matthew

Listen to the Experts, not the Meteorologist

Sorry, men and women, but I just can’t trust you. I saw, on more than one occasion, an expert from the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) or other national expert interviewed, only to watch the meteorologist sensationalize what he said. Approximate, but not exaggerated conversation.

EXPERT: “The weather should be fine until Thursday.”
METEOROLOGIST: “So we should buckle down on Wednesday?”
EXPERT: “No.”
METEOROLOGIST: “You heard it right here, get ready on Wednesday because we’re in for a rocky ride.”

Unfortunately, we have this ridiculous 24-hour news cycle which people are compelled to talk non-stop about “stuff” whether it’s the best information or not.

The same thing happened after the hurricane too. Two newscasters stood outside next to the same boat, claiming that it was in two different places (Riviera Beach and Jupiter) showing us the capsized boat. It was one boat in a coast spanning 200 miles.

 

Pay Attention to Evacuation Orders

We did not receive evacuation orders. However, I look to our neighbors to the north, riding around in boats because they chose to stay home and can’t help but think how things would be different for them if they left. As I pointed out in my last post, it’s easier said than done.

 

Get D Batteries as Soon as You Get Word

Batteries are relatively inexpensive and keep for a long time. Those were the first to completely disappear from all stores. I’m not just talking about D batteries, although those seemed to be extinct, but any and all batteries you may need for lighting sources during the storm. You can get and keep or return those batteries for a good while, especially during the length of the hurricane season.

 

There’s No Comfort like Being Prepared

We could only purchase two cases of water for the five of us, so I put my Brita to use before the storm. I filled up large pots and containers just in case the storm hit.  We filled up the bathtub for flushing and potentially extra default drinking water.

Thankfully, the massive amount of water saved for the storm did not need to be used. Of course, afterward, I felt guilty about pouring it all down the drain. Instead, I opted to use as much as I could before it would become a problem.

 

Sometimes a Little Extra Work is Worth Peace of Mind

My husband put up all of the shutters, but I tightened them all. Tightening is not necessary.  The hurricane would rip off the shutter before becoming unscrewed. However, the tighter shutters don’t rattle, which allowed me and my children to sleep peacefully through the storm.

Using the Internet is Awesome for Disbursing Information to Loved Ones

As the storm neared, friends and family reached out from all over the country. The problem? I was spending so much time responding to people, I stopped preparing for the storm.

If you aren’t already a friend on Facebook, I recorded FB Live videos to broadcast to my friends and family, giving them regular updates, calming them by showing them what was actually going on around me. I was able to show everyone the extent of the damage as well as the precautions I took.

When it was all over, I was able to click a button to mark myself “Safe” to eleviate any worries from family and friends.

 

Spend as Much Time Outside as You Can Before the Storm

My children and I were completely going stir crazy by the time it was over. Even though it was damp outside, I really should have sent all of us outside to run, jump and just play before the storm came.

 

Make sure You Have a Bunch of Healthy Snacks for the Storm

This one is a little harder than most because if you’re buckling down for the unknown long-term, you want to make sure that your food stays fresh. Without refrigeration, the selection is limited. Sadly, my kids don’t eat very many non-perishable items, so what we did purchase was just junk. I figured it was worth it in some ways, a way to kick back.

But when the storm doesn’t come, you end up eating a lot more junk than you ever anticipated.

 

A “Wobble” Saved Us, but We May Not Have Been So Lucky

Regardless of whether you think it’ll be rough, follow proper hurricane procedures. Hurricane Matthew spared our area by what the meteorologists called a wobble which lessened the strength of the hurricane and moved it away from our area.

The meteorologists could not predict the wobble.

If not, this area would have been much worse.

 

Overall, although it’s somewhat of a pain to take everything down for what seems like nothing, I’m glad that was our outcome. Safe and sound we all stand.

 

11 comments on “Nine Lessons Learned From Hurricane Matthew”

  1. Amy Jones says:

    Interesting! Nice to know you guys were prepared and safe for the storm!

  2. Great that you could learn all of that. And I’m so happy you were safe.

  3. Teresa Kunberger says:

    I just moved from FL 2 months ago. (moved to WV) I am glad I missed this but I was so worried about all my friends and family there!

  4. Daisy says:

    Glad everyone is safe, wow what a crazy experience!

  5. Tamara says:

    I’m so glad it didn’t cause you damage. We had a freak blizzard in late October several years back. Since there were still leaves on the trees, the heavy, wet snow turned off the power lines everywhere. I couldn’t believe how ill-equipped we all were. We’re supposed to be hardier! Filling the car with gas is key. Batteries are key!

  6. Liz Mays says:

    It got my area really badly and we’re still under evacuation orders in half the town. The airport and schools remain closed. I’m glad you weren’t affected. Hurricanes are brutal.

  7. Elizabeth O. says:

    I’m glad you are safe and that you guys weren’t harmed during the hurricane. Regardless of how progressive a country is, you still can never be too sure about your safety. It’s nice that you prepared for it and that you have a plan in case something bigger happens.

  8. Daniel says:

    I always wanted to move but one thing about my area of NY, no natural disasters. I take that for granted. Good advice.

  9. Thanks for these tips. My family has a survival kit always ready for when the need arises. It is definitely better to be prepared for calamities and heed the advice of the government when an evacuation order is in place.

  10. momi berlin says:

    Hurricane is something I am so afraid if it will happen in our country. It is very destructive and I am just so scared for my kids. I am happy there are always learnings from past experiences to make us be prepared for the next one.

  11. It’s crazy how something that devastates one area can leave other areas mostly ok. Good lessons, though. Definitely wise to be prepared in every way you can.

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