We can't stress enough that you need to be prepared for Hurricane Florence, even if you're not right on the Carolina coast. As of right now, the National Hurricane Center says Florence is a Category 2 storm, but don't let that designation fool you: It's the water, not the high winds, that is most dangerous and the flooding from this major storm is going to be bad. We've got some hurricane hacks to help you stay safe during the storm and in the days after when power is likely to be out and stores and local services are likely to be closed.
We debunked the dishwasher as a safe place to store valuables and told you to use your washing machine as a water reservoir. We also talked about the right foods to buy in advance of the storm. Now here's a list of 12 other hurricane hacks to help you get through Hurricane Florence.
1. Charge everything and keep it charged until the power goes out.
Even old cell phones can be used to provide light or call 911. If you use rechargeable batteries, make sure those are all charged up as well.
2. Clean everything now.
The last thing you're going to want to do (or be able to do) if the power goes out is clean your house. So do laundry, run the dishwasher, clean bathrooms, and kitchens, and wipe down counters and floors. Take out the trash, clean the litter box, remove any food that is expiring from the fridge. If it's going to smell after a power outage, toss it now.
3. Fill your bathtub and large containers with water for drinking and other uses.
Clean and bleach your tub first, or line it with a plastic tablecloth or drop cloth, and cover the drain with a pot lid. Line large trash cans or buckets with plastic bags and fill them with water. Keep the containers covered to prevent dust and dirt from getting in the drinking water.
4. Fill Tupperware containers and ziploc bags with water and freeze them.
Use these to keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers, and for water as the ice melts.
5. Create your own glow lights by taping flashlights or headlamps to a water bottle or milk jug.
This method gives you a soft diffused light and is safer than using candles. Also, flashlights tend to use smaller batteries than the big lanterns.
6. Make your own dog potty.
If you've got a kiddie pool or even a large flat box, line it with sod and put it in the garage or other out of the way place. Don't let dogs out into the yard during the storm. It's dangerous for them and for you.
7. Put baby wipes or hand sanitizer in the bathroom and kitchen now.
You'll thank us later.
8. Gather your critical supplies in one place and place things in ziploc bags to keep them dry.
Keep flashlights, batteries, first aid supplies, water, etc together to make it easier to find. Better yet, put it in your safe place so that you have it at the worst part of the storm.
9. Lower your air conditioner, refrigerator, and freezer temperatures before the storm hits.
This'll give you a few extra minutes of air con.
10. Take pictures or video of everything you own.
Open drawers and cabinets to get snapshots of your belongings. It's a better record than your memory and it can help if you have to file an insurance claim.
11. Figure out where your water shut off valve is now.
Along with gas if your home has it, and learn how to work the shut-off valve. Keep a wrench next to the valve so you don't have to go looking for it (or tape it to the pipe, just make sure you can get the tape off). Right before the storm hits, unplug any electronics that you don't need during the storm to protect against power surges.
12. Be ready to leave.
Keep a go bag or small box near you with a few supplies, your wallet or purse (with cash), important documents, phone charger, snacks, water, etc. Put a suitcase in your car with a few changes of clothes and other supplies, including water. Make sure your car has a full tank of gas.