Information added at 5pm Saturday: The most likely time for landfall will be late Thursday afternoon or Thursday night.
This is the region where, if I were a resident, I will be taking the low-cost precautions outlined below.
So, What Do I Do Now™?
There are a number of good lists out there. Here are my suggestions for things to do at this point with the storm 4 to 6 days away. Most of the things I recommend will eventually be used even if the storm does not affect your specific location.
- Get prescriptions refilled now, especially if you doctor must approve the refill.
- Gather your utility bill (proof of current residency!), passport and any other important papers so you can take them with you if you should have to evacuate due to the hurricane’s winds and/or the hurricane’s flooding.
- Pet food?
- Batteries for everything. Lots of batteries.
- If you have a relative at home that requires electricity for life-assistance purposes, you may want to move he or she outside of the higher wind zone.
- If you can get an electrician to install a generator, get it done. Do not try to install a generator yourself.
- If you don't have a generator, get a power inverter or two. Radio Shack and similar stores sell them. They are a "poor man's generator" and will keep your cell phone, laptop, and similar items charged. Tell the person in the store what you want to run off it so you get one of the right size. Do not try to run the inverter for hours at a time as that is tough on your car's battery. Charge the (for example) cell phone and let the charge run all the way down, then use the inverter to recharge.
- Keep your car's gas tank full.
- If you have a wood-burning fireplace and you know your chimney is clear, get wood. Keep some indoors to keep it dry during the storm. You may need it to heat your home.
- If you live in a 100-year flood plain (you can check at city hall or your library) or on the coast figure out your evacuation strategy now. Make your list of things you will take with you. Be prepared to leave at short notice.
- Fill a few gas cans (the type you would use for your mower) to have extra in the event of power failures.
- Purchase extra food staples. Without power, stores will be closed. Things that require less preparation are better. Bottled water is especially important.
- Purchase booster batteries for your cell phone and other essential equipment. If you need insulin or other medicine that must be kept chilled make plans now.
- Consider what you would do if you were without electricity for a month. If you have an invalid living with you that requires electricity, there will be areas that will be without for weeks. Be proactive.
- If you live in a heavily wooded area, does someone in your vicinity have a gasoline-powered chain saw? Does it have fuel and a reasonably good chain/blade? Test it, now.
- Get to an ATM. Without power, credit card readers and ATMs will not be working. In a disaster, cash is king.
- If you are in the high wind area, thoroughly photograph your home and possessions now. You will need it for insurance purposes. This includes trees, shrubs, etc. Then, if using a digital camera, upload to internet so it will be there after the storm in case the worse happens.
Please note the health information in the posting below. Scroll down.
I will update again tomorrow unless conditions dictate an earlier forecast.