Living in Delaware, I experience many weather calamities including tornado, flood, blizzard, nor’easter, and earthquake. Perhaps the scariest event, though, is hurricane. The Atlantic hurricane season is June through November. Depending on the path of the hurricane, Delaware’s governor may order a mandatory evacuation of ocean-side communities as well as evacuation of people living within three-quarters of a mile of a major waterway, like bays and inlets. My area is not included in hurricane evacuation though the area is affected by hurricane winds and rain that track along the east coast. My husband and I shelter in place during hurricanes and invite friends and family evacuated from their homes to stay with us.
Safety during a hurricane
Local TV news alerts us to hurricanes that may affect our area. We follow the instructions provided by natural disaster preparedness websites such as the National Hurricane Center with the National Weather Service or FEMA’s Ready website. Having emergency supplies as part of a disaster plan may provide a certain level of confidence to make it through a hurricane, but what about the hours that you are closed indoors, sheltered against the frightening weather that comes with a hurricane?
Beyond safety, what to do during a hurricane
Now that all your safety measures are in place, imagine spending up to 24 hours indoors listening to the sounds of heavy rain and powerful wind, especially if you have children. For older kids, the weather alone provides some entertainment, trying to read the rain gauge through the window, watching pooling water in the yard continue to expand, or guessing where the neighbor’s tumbling trash will stop. That form of entertainment does not last long and will not amuse all household members. Even adults need indoor distractions to refrain from going outside to see what damages are occurring from the hurricane.
As long as you have electric, then television and computer access may be sufficient entertainment. However, loss of electric is common and almost expected when sheltering at home during a hurricane. Remember that your preparedness kit includes a battery-operated radio, so you will have access to news and music at a minimum.
In your disaster plan, include things that you and your kids can do that do not require electricity to operate. Young children will already have toys, so consider entertainment ideas for school age kids and adults. Make a trip to the library to gather books for yourself and your younger kids. Bring out Monopoly and Scrabble for older kids and adults. Play charades or a friendly game of poker betting pretzels or M&Ms. Rearrange the furniture with everyone giving input on what they prefer. Serve a meal on a blanket on the floor like a picnic. Since you never know if you will need to quickly leave, have a sleep-in-your-clothes camping event in the living room. Youngster might like to tuck some favorite toys in a backpack as part of their camping adventure.