With the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season running through November -- we thought we’d ask: What storm-related advice do you wish you had received sooner?
A ton of you recommended buying flood insurance, so although we didn’t include that response below, it was a major theme. The people have spoken!
It was a split crowd over whether to leave town or ride out the storm, but some recommended, if you stay, checking on your neighbors and coming together as a community. Others said if it’s going to be a Category 3 hurricane (or stronger) and you have the resources, you might as well go. We realize that advice might not be possible for everyone, so no matter what you do, try to be as safe as you can, all things considered, if you’re ever in the path of a storm.
And without further ado, here’s that advice -- from you, our trusted viewers and readers.
- “Stay in a safe location even after the storm itself passes. When Florence hit coastal North Carolina, the storm itself wasn’t that bad. The amount of flooding it brought when it traveled upriver was unheard of though. We were able to drive to and from the first three days after the storm, then highways and roads started washing out once the flooding started. Numerous homes and lives were lost, most from people trying to drive through floodwaters to find food. Stock up, stay home and stay safe.” -- Nicholas, 27, from Wilmington, N.C.
- “A charged laptop will power a cellphone for awhile.” -- Sharrina, 38, from Houston
- “Get a generator -- a whole-house, natural gas one.” -- Ron Davis
- “Keep a charcoal grill with paper plates and plastic silverware stashed, and a big bag of charcoal (throughout) hurricane season.” -- Kelley
- “Don’t wait until the last minute to evacuate. Leaving early saves lives.” -- Henry, 56, from Baytown, Texas
- “Get plenty of ice. And if all else fails, have plenty of empty water bottles, frozen peas, etc. on hand. They work great in place of ice.” -- Cathy, 51, from Houston
- “Do not tell yourself, ‘It’s just a small or weak hurricane.’ Prepare for a disaster.” -- Tom, from Pearland, Texas
- “Freeze a small container with water. Place a quarter on top. That way, if the power goes out, you can determine if the food inside is safe and stayed frozen.” -- Melissa, 42, from Apex, N.C.
- “Everyone should have at least one week worth of non-perishables on hand at all times, but especially during hurricane season. Water, too.” -- Heidi, 45, from Houston
- “Throw valuable paperwork and photos that you can’t carry with you in the dishwasher, and make sure it is closed and locked. Just (like) the dishwasher keeps water in, it will keep water out.” -- Susan, 63, from Houston
- “Prepare in advance. Buy water and food supplies at the start of hurricane season (even if there’s no hurricane in sight) to avoid the craziness that happens the days before the hurricane arrives. I also never let my gas tank get below the halfway point, just in case.” -- Adria, 28, from Miami
- “Make sure that you have plenty of cash. ATMs will not work. Credit cards are iffy if there is no electricity.” -- Susie Q., 52, from Houston
- “Cook things you can reheat later and take with you, along with your microwave, because a lot of hotels do not have one. It will save you money while you are gone and (there’s) less food lost in a power outage.” -- Anonymous
- “Evacuate if possible! We stayed in our home, thinking (we’re) not in a flood zone, so no problem. We had a pine tree topple across our house and we ended up getting very wet (with) nowhere to go.” -- Paula from Jacksonville, Florida
- “Get your generators serviced well before the season starts, and buy gas throughout the year when it’s the cheapest.” -- BMHY, 39, who lived in Galveston, Texas for 32 years and then Houston for seven years
- “Make sure you are caught up on all your laundry before (the storm) hits and knocks out power.” -- Sandy in Katy, Texas
- “Don’t forget about a portable air conditioner (or fans). With 100% humidity and weeks of no air conditioning, you might want to have a small, one-room air conditioner for the window for sleeping. (This was one of the things) that made getting through the devastation of ground zero Harvey in 2017 so much better than it could have been.” -- Michael, 53, from Port Aransas, Texas, who now lives in Tampa, Florida
- “If you’re (going to) venture out in floodwaters, wear boots, avoid depths higher than your ankle, and don’t get caught in a current.” -- Will, 23, from Houston
- “Leave and go to a safer location, even if you are not on the coast. We stayed through Ike (in New Caney), and it was the most stressful and scary time as the storm made its way inland and through our area.” -- Sheri, formerly of New Caney, Texas
- “Freeze large bowls of water for when the power goes out -- melt it and (you’ll) have cold, clean water.” -- Angie from Tallahassee, Florida
- “If you plan to leave, leave early, like, two days before predicted landfall. We lived 23 years in Pensacola, waited until the morning we knew Hurricane Opal would hit us, and we could not get out of our subdivision to go north because traffic was bumper to bumper for miles, and no one would let us into the traffic flow. We went south toward the storm until we could find a route north. Interstate 65 was bumper to bumper for 12 hours. You can’t get out of the Gulf Coast states unless you leave very early.” -- Glenda, 72, from The Villages, Florida, formerly Pensacola.
- Don’t put your stuff in the bathtub. I thought it would be a good place to store the clothes from the bottom rod in my closet, but when the water gets high enough, the plumbing backs up into your bathtub and shower. 😩 -- Jillian, 40, from League City, Texas
- “If a hurricane takes your shingles and you have to wait for a backorder, the next storm will destroy your home. No shingles, no protection -- a catastrophic loss.” -- Barb from Florida
Some answers were edited slightly for clarity, length or grammar. People had the option to leave a name, age and/or location.
So, what did we miss? Contribute your piece of advice in the comments.