As anticipated, TD-16 has become Tropical Storm Nate and is likely to become Hurricane Nate in the next 24 hours. U.S. residents in coastal Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Northwest Florida should be paying attention to this storm. Inland residents should also consider plan for wind, rain and storm impacts. –NHC Advisory HERE–
While the projected path is still uncertain, those in the coastal region would be wise to take inventory of storm supplies and review their 72 hour pre-storm preparedness plan. Be aware of the potential for storm fatigue, take an empowering breath, and evaluate.
Nate is forecast to pick up forward speed and is anticipated to move quickly overnight tomorrow (Friday). You do not want to wake up Saturday morning in a reactionary posture. Take prudent steps today (Thursday) to prepare and outline your goals, leaving yourself room tomorrow (Friday) to review the updated forecast and take preparatory action based on your specific needs.
Florida Governor Rick Scott is being very proactive and has declared a state of emergency in North and West Florida:
Governor Scott said, “Tropical Storm Nate is headed north toward our state and Florida must be prepared. I have continued to be briefed by the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Tropical Storm Nate and while current forecast models have the storm’s center west of Florida, we must be vigilant and get prepared.
Today, given these forecasts, I have declared a state of emergency for 29 counties in Florida to make certain that state, federal and local governments are able to work together and ensure resources are dispersed to local communities. By declaring an emergency in these counties, we can also ensure that there is no hindrance in the transportation of supplies and assets.
I urge all Floridians to remain vigilant and stay alert to local weather and news and visit FLGetAPlan.com today as we all prepare for Tropical Storm Nate. We will keep monitoring and issuing updates on Tropical Storm Nate as it approaches the Gulf Coast.” (read more)
The challenge with Nate is the distance it is anticipated to travel between Saturday Morning and Sunday Morning. It is forecast to move VERY quickly, and could catch coastal residents off guard with urgent preparations needed on Saturday.
Small steps taken proactively are always empowering. Taking inventory and writing yourself out a plan helps eliminate stress. With future updates on the storm you can then decide when to begin executing your plan.
Take small steps today (Thursday) to prepare and outline your goals, leaving yourself room tomorrow (Friday) to review the updated forecast, take preparatory action based on your specific needs and refresh your supplies.
Attached, once again, is a good shopping list – except that I recommend food and water for AT LEAST SEVEN days and an AM/FM portable radio with plenty of batteries. Also, I suggest only LED flashlights and lanterns with lots of batteries. Though LED lights will last a long time.
Here are a few other tips:
1. Review your LED flashlights and lanterns to make sure they are working. Have at least one flashlight for every person in your family, and ideally have a lantern or two for general lighting.
2. Take photos today or tomorrow of every room, every piece of electronics, and everything valuable. Upload the pictures to the cloud – Dropbox, Microsoft Cloud, iCloud, Google Drive, etc. – before the storm. Or email the pictures to yourself.
3. Also take photos of key documents and upload them as well.
4. Save your contacts in your phone to the cloud, or write them down. If you don’t know how to do that, frame grab your screen or have someone take photos of your contacts with their phone and email or text the pictures back to you to a friend. Don’t take a chance on losing your contacts if something happens to your phone.
5. Secure your photographs and albums in double plastic bags.
6. Plastic bags and duct tape are your friends. You can’t buy to many of them. Put documents in gallons-size (or larger) Ziploc bags. Put larger items in double large trash bags cocooned so the opening of the first bag is in the bottom of the second bag. Put some clothes in plastic bags in case you get a roof leak. Duct tape bags closed. Put valuables on a high shelf in a closet.
7. Think now about where you are going to park your car. A parking garage is ideal. Outside in a low-lying area or under a tree is the worst. Think about all of the cars you’ve seen ruined in storms because people made bad choices about where they parked the car before the storm. When you know the storm track, you’ll have a better idea which side of a building will give the best protection. Next to a building on the downwind side gives you the best chance if you have to leave your car outside.
8. Do your laundry and wash your dishes before the storm.
9. You dishwasher is an excellent “safe” in your house if you need someplace to put valuables. Your washer and dryer can offer good protection as well. These could be good places to put your bagged-up photos, for example.
10. Fill Ziploc bags ¾ full of water and stuff them in your freezer to fill up the space. The less air you have in the freezer, the longer your refrigerator will stay cold. Do NOT turn your refrigerator to any lower setting than normal – that can damage the unit.
11. Choose a friend or relative out of town to be the contact point for your family or group of friends. After a storm, it is always easier to get a single call out of the area than attempt multiple calls within the storm zone. Be sure everybody has the out-of-town number and make a plan to check in ASAP after the storm.
12. If you live in a high rise, be sure you know what the procedures are going to be in the building. Will the building be evacuated? Will the water continue to work? Will elevators work? What is on a generator? If you can stay in the building (if it’s away from the water) find an interior hallway on a low floor where you can set up camp during the storm. It will not be safe to be on a high floor or near windows, even with modern hurricane impact windows. A hallway surrounded by concrete is your best bet.
13. Think about what you will sit on if you are in a hallway or other safe spot for a number of hours – maybe 12 hours or more. Consider comfortable folding chairs. Take food to your safe spot. Have books or other non-electronic amusements, including for the kids.
14. Do NOT count on your cellphone for communications. When Harvey, Irma and Maria hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico they knocked out the mobile phone systems. In addition, your battery may run down and you may have no ability to charge it. In any case, it’s essential you have a portable AM/FM radio that you can leave on so the entire family can hear what’s going on with the storm.
15. Most importantly, be sure you know a safe place where you and your family can ride out the storm, if it comes. This is the most critical decision you can make tomorrow. There almost certainly will be evacuations ordered for parts of the gulf coast. If you live near the water, put together the food, clothes, valuable items, and important papers you’ll take with you NOW. If voluntary evacuations are called – leave as early as possible. There will be a crush on the road and you may not find a hotel.
We are all hoping that Nate does not strengthen, but the odds don’t favor the possibility for the gulf coast at this point. A hurricane is most likely to have some effect on a significant part of the region, and damaging impact on the lives of many people.
Therefore, we are confronted with an undisputable fact: What you do before the storm has everything to do with how you and your family will fare after the storm passes.
Today, tomorrow and Saturday, you are in control. Make plans, and take action calmly but resolutely. Don’t set yourself up to be a victim of complacency; but also don’t allow yourself to be fraught with anxiety.
Create a plan, work the plan.