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Preparing for Hurricane Season


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#1 Carey

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 07:02 AM

we lost this info when the old forum crashed. And I'm thinking now might be a good time to start handing out tips for preparing because a lot of the snowbird folks who have recently acquired homes here might still be around and could actually get some of the work done while they're on the island. Mighty hard to get it done long-distance.

Anyone want to get the ball rolling?
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#2 Coz2wonder

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 09:06 AM

Standard First Aid Kit

In addition to your standard kit (which is available at either Mega, or Ched's)
I also include the following items;

Hydrogen Peroxide
Sterile Water (cleaning of eyes, cuts and wounds)
Anti-bacterial spray or cream
Antibiotic cream
Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer
Water Proof bandages (available at Mega, works very well to keep a wound dry)
Two Ace bandages (if one gets wet, or soiled, you have a backup)
Kotex or baby/adult diapers (both are absorbent, and for large wounds, work very well. Also good for plugging leaks)
Aspirins
Antihistamines (in case of bug/spider bites)
Antibiotics (I keep Cipro on hand, check with your doctor for your own needs)
Stock up on your personal medication
Buckets (can be used for bailing, or as a toilet (buy a cheap lid))
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#3 Jim912

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 09:57 AM

Now would also be a great time to go ahead and order storm shutters if you don't have any. We have them for the second story windows and all we do is put the ladder up, slide the shutters closed and lock them with a key. About 30 seconds a window. Really quick.

Downstairs we have 5/8 inch plywood with large holes drilled in each corner. We cut each piece to fit over the outside of our security bars. We use a piece of good nylon rope on each corner. This keeps the debris from hitting the windows. We painted the plywood on both sides and labeled each piece in English and Spanish. If you have windows you need some type of protection. Doesn't matter if someone tells you they're hurricane proof or not.

Caulk your windows really good. When your contractor installed them he probably drilled and screwed them and may have cemented them. Some do some don't. A good dose of latex caulk on the inside and outside will help keep out a lot of the blowing rain and help take some of the stress off the screws.

Water - Building up a supply of drinking water and washing water is critical. Once the power goes out you are going to only have what is in the tank. If you have a pressurized system what is your backup? Remember that every time you flush the commode you use about four gallons of water.

Five gallon buckets with lids - They're great for storing clean clothes, food supplies, water, towels and rags, important papers, and for using as an emergency toliet with a trash bag liner.

Generator - If you're thinking about an alternate power supply now is the time to start shopping. We have a whole house portable generator. I cut off my master breaker on the wall, plug in my generator and crank it up. Powers up the whole house and we can run one big AC unit at night. Getting a good night's sleep is invaluable. You also need enough gas to keep the generator running. Get some Stabil for your fuel. It keeps gas good for up to a year. And don't forget the big chain and lock. When you fire up your generator even one will know where it's at. Make sure it's still there when you need it.

Don't wait to buy your fuel when you see the storm coming. You will have to deal with long lines or you may be limited on the amount you can purchase. Buy it when the weather is clear and the sun is out.

Cell phone - Make sure that you have it charged. When Emily hit this was the only way I had to talk to Donna while she was at the house. Was able to tell her what sections of the city were coming back on line and what stores were open.

Food - Get you a reserve built up. Canned foods, crackers, cookies, MRE's(Meals Ready To Eat). And be sure and have a good can opener and knife.

Lights - Flashlights are a necessity when the power goes. The new LED dive lights are great. Lots of burn time and super white light. Stock up on batteries.

And don't forget to have the tools you need to get out of your house. With all the rain every door is going to swell no matter how well they're sealed. Hatchet, machette, screwdriver, pliers.

If you have a grill gas or wood stock up on supplies. Cooking on the grill keeps the house cool and if you have things in freezer/refrigerator you can use them up before they spoil.

Cash - Eveyone makes a run on the ATM's and banks right before the storm. So make sure that you have a good supply on hand because when the storm is over you will still need to pay for things from cleanup to groceries.

And understand one thing. No matter how well your house is sealed it is going to get wet on the inside. Unfinished cinder blocks will weep with 100 MPH + winds, water under the doors and where the windows slide together. But that is the great thing about having a house made from concrete, cinder blocks, tile and rebar clean up is much easier than having carpet, hardwood floors and sheetrock to deal with.
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#4 divadiver

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 10:06 AM

*** Cash - if power is lost for days, only cash will be accepted for purchases. It's wise to have small bills, as change may become scarce.

From NOAA hurricane preparedness

Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days

Food - at least enough for 3 to 7 days
— non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
— foods for infants or the elderly
— snack foods
— non-electric can opener
— cooking tools / fuel
— paper plates / plastic utensils

Clothing - seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes
First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs
Special Items - for babies and the elderly
Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes
Flashlight / Batteries or handcrank flashlight
Radio - Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
Telephones - Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set
Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards - Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
Toys, Books and Games
Important documents - in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag
— insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
Tools - keep a basic set with you during the storm
Vehicle fuel tanks filled
Pet care items
— proper identification / immunization records / medications
— ample supply of food and water
— a carrier or cage
— muzzle and leash
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#5 divadiver

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 10:26 AM

Home prep:

Store all outdoor furniture and anything that could become flying debris.

Disconnect and store gas tanks, especially those not in enclosed space.

Trim trees with weak branches that could become missiles.

Fill and secure tinaco.

Wind protection prep:
Check caulk on windows and doors.
Within 24hrs of predicted landfall, cover windows with shutters or plywood. NHC recommends 3/8" marine plywood. Don't know if that's available here.

Flooding protection:
Raise furniture above ground level, concrete blocks can serve this purpose.
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#6 divadiver

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 10:32 AM

The Commission cuts power in advance of landfall, so be prepared to be in the dark long before the winds pickup.

Cable and internet service maybe shutdown in advance.

One of the last things you may want to do is shut off electric breakers to prevent damage to electronics and appliances. Surges may over as power is being restored.
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#7 divadiver

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 10:45 AM

Though I haven't been here for a big hurricane, the hand-crank flashlights and radios came in handy after the power was out.

One other thing I find useful is power inverter for your car. You can use it after the storm has passed to charge your cellphone until power is restored. I've used it to charge my rechargeable flashlights, too.

Great recommendations from Jim, especially adding Stabil to your stored gasoline.

One recommendation for those with generators, place in a secure location until the storm has passed. There heavy, but can still get knocked around during the storm. Also secure the gas cans you've filled.
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#8 Carey

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 10:58 AM

Home Prep Part I

Windows and Doorways -- If you have any large glass windows or doors, you need to plan your protection strategy well in advance. Many people have metal hurricane shutters installed. These are pricey. And there was one company on the island, much cheaper than the others, who had their shutters fail during Wilma. So do your research if you go this route. The old fashioned way (and cheaper but more labor intensive) way to protect glass windows that might blow out is to put up plywood. The old way they used to do it before the advent of metal shutters is the way we have it on our homes:

3/4" plywood (no less thickness) painted on both sides with varnish to impede warping. Cut in advance to the exact size of the openings. The plywood, of course, must then be attached to the window which is the hardest part. We have predrilled holes around all our doors and windows. (Our house has 8 large metal and glass french doors that must be protected) Holes are drilled at near the top, middle and bottom of the wall on either side of the door. Large wall anchors are inserted. 3 galvanized pipes are cut to size for each door. Large stainless steel eyebolts are purchased. (Bring from US). Before the hurricane, the plywood is set in place, the eyebolts inserted into the holes with wall anchors. and the 3 pieces of galvanized pipping are slipped through the hole in the eyebolt on either side of the door. This hold the plywood firmly in place, tight against the glass so there can be no vibration getting going.

If you just have a few windows to protect, you can probably do this yourself. However, if you have a lot of them or they're up high where you'd be careening up there in a high wind trying to put them in place, either make advanced arrangements with some workers to come and help you out and do this well in advance with someone really trustworthy. OR opt for the shutters and consider it the price of living in the tropics.

Small panes of glass tend to do very well and may not need protection. Celosia/louvered glass windows do very well and may not need protection.

You need to have these plans implemented and in place well before any storm is on the horizon. Do not wait until the last minute. If you already have your coverage plan set up, check before every hurricane season to be sure you have all the tools and parts you'll need. It is an ugly surprise indeed to find you've got a burned out drill, it's Saturday afternoon and the hardware stores are all going to close for the weekend in 15 minutes. If you could even climb your way to the top of the crowd waiting.
To give you an example, last hurricane season, I had to find a new bag of large plastic anchors because the others got shaken up so much by Wilma that they are all going to need to be replaced. If I'd waited until the last minute on that, I would have been out of luck.
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#9 CZMDM

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 11:23 AM

Most importantly...1 gallon of Jack Daniels.
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#10 Carey

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 12:09 PM

Bring from the states ahead of time:

LED headlamp flashlights. Great as they last a long time and leave your hands free

Candles. Don't buy locally. They melt and warp when stored and they sputter even when new.

Battery-powered fans if you don't have a generator that will run the house for extended periods. (Ours can be run 4-6 hours per day and we got by just fine for two weeks after Wilma turning it on just enough to keep the fridge somewhat chilled. And we could read, use the internet and take showers in the evening.)

Batteries. they cost hideously more here than at Costco in the states.

****

If you are renting or otherwise living in a place you've never been during hurricane season, find out from the landlord or neighbors if your area gets ground water rise in a bad storm with a lot of rain. During Wilma Glenn and Trish of Mesa 17 fame were in a rental in Corpus Christi watching with horror as the water rose into their living area as they tried to figure out what to do about it. Fortunately, it stopped well before bed height. But had they known what to expect, it would have saved them a world of worry -- especially with their three year old in tow!

***
Very good tip from Jim about keeping some tools to help you get out in the safe space where you plan to stay. Our badly made wooden doors DID swell tightly shut during Wilma and Tony had to use the screwdriver we DID have to take the door knob off and then kick the door open. A book and a rubber mallet would have worked wonders but we didn't have that. We also had a window AC that was built inside a little cement latticework cage with a cement roof over it blow partially into our room during one bad gust. It shoved a good 15" into the room. So we pushed it back in and Tony braced it with a wall hanging coat hook bar he was able to attach and detach with that trusty screw driver. I guess we must have had a drill too or he wouldn't have been able to do that. which bring me to another very handy tool to have -- cordless electric drill!!

**
Have we scared you enough yet? Good. Get worried ahead of time so you get the job done and you can just kick back with a cerveza at the last minute while everyone else is running around like chickens with their heads cut off. (Not that we would wish that on anyone but why should you be one of them, right?)
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#11 Carey

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 01:51 PM

Actually, if you like you liquor and it looks like a big one, a case of gallons is more like it. Remember they shut down the booze for I think it was three weeks after Wilma, wasn't it? And our new mayor shut down the booze about 12 hours before one of those storms that didn't happen. Thereby enraging many.
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#12 Carey

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Posted 27 February 2010 - 02:03 PM

The Commission cuts power in advance of landfall, so be prepared to be in the dark long before the winds pickup.


The local CFE takes the power out suprisingly late. For Emily and Wilma, the wind was screaming like a banshee and we were already shuttered up inside when they switched it off. We were glad for those last few hours of electricity and a bunch of us had an online drinking party during that period when all that could be done HAD been done and all there was to do was wait it out.
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#13 Orm

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 07:18 PM

Hmm.. beer :rolleyes:

Biggest problem we had in Tulum was the lack of beer! Went on for a week after Wilma left... not that I was counting. :huh:


The thing that took us by surprise as Hurricane virgins, was the apparent lack of concern from everyone as it approached, then seeing those same people leave on busses and packed cars a couple of days later.

We were told to listen to the radio and watch the TV for updates. Then we lost the power.

We cooked chicken curries and spag bol on our little portable gas burners and watched movies.

I think if we had our time again, we would have made a decision way way earlier and acted on it, instead of listening to so-called advice. Nobody knows the stength and duration, until it's on you.

We kind of enjoyed it though, in a strange way :)

Hello all!
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#14 divadiver

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 08:35 AM

That being incommunicado can be unnerving. That's why I recommend a battery powered or hand crank radio, so you can still be receiving some info on the storms progress after the power is off.

As for evacuating, that's a decision you should consider long before the storm is in range. In the US, it becomes a real problem when many people decide at the last minute. It makes me think about the Katrina and Rita evacuations. For Katrina, many didn't evacuate and those that did it took a long time. With Rita, many people evacuated Greater Houston, but the volume of traffic caused all sorts of problems. They ran out of gas, car trouble, drinking water & food or the road trip, some left pets on the side of the road and lastly there was a bus of elderly people that caught fire. I have family that evacuated from Houston to Dallas and it took them 18 hrs.
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#15 Orm

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 09:24 AM

We made stayed mainly because we didn't know anywere else to go. We could have gone inland to Merida... but we'd heard that's where everyone else had gone, last thing we needed was to be wandering around Merida with nowhere to stay and a massive storm on the way.

Then there's the issue of running into the path of the storm. Up to a day before Wilma hit, there was always a chance that it would swing in or out of Mexico. You simply don't know where to go unless you travel 1,000s of miles out the way, but then the cost of flights are extremely expensive, then you have the chance that they'll close the airport at any time.

No, I think if I were to go through it again, I'd stay put. At least you are aware of the local resources around you. Being on the move, unless it's absolutely vital, is not the way to go.

One thing we found useful was the electronic barometer on my watch. We could see as the pressure started dropping from 1010, down through to the 900s as the storm approached. Then eventually the pressure started rising back up again, that's how we knew it was moving away.

Knowing the internal pressure of the approaching storm helps. Wilma had the lowest recorded pressure in the eye of 882mb :o
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#16 nauticab

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 09:54 PM

the old timers all stay put. they know what to do, they act accordingly and without panic. most have their boards and other protective measures ready to go. anything less than a cat 2 is treated like a strong norte basically. bring in the flying stuff, have boards ready, get gas and food and ride it out. projected cat 2-5, and you see the island getting ready. truly a team effort. you should see puerto de abrigo and la caleta when a storm is approaching. pretty fun actually.
we live in cement houses, not wooden shacks or houses on stilts like many coastal cities in the states. we may get some flooding, but the houses stay put. and we live on limestone.....this island ain't going anywhere, even though much of the world thought that cozumel was no longer after wilma. we were just very very wet and very eager to be able to get out of our homes.

if you have a cement tinaco, remove and secure the cement top somewhere on the ground. these WILL fly off, even in a mild cat 3 (roxanne).

hand crank radios allowed us to monitor the storm the entire time. the craziest was when they announced that while wilma was stagnant over cancun, that they thought it just might return to cozumel! ACK!!!!

if you are in a flood area and have a car, get crank nylon straps and strap your car to columns of your open driveway or carport, if applicable.

get all your important papers and documents in a drybag and put it up high. when our place was flooding, we got some clothes and important stuff in a large garbage bag, just in case. didn't need it thank goodness.

after the storm, once you assess your property and make sure you and your neighbors are ok, GET OUT THERE AND HELP CLEAN UP YOUR STREET. yes, i was yelling. if you start, others will follow and it will help unite your neighbors for the betterment of your street. all my inlaws' neighbors, after wilma, had their trash and tree limb ladened street CLEAN, completely clean, before 12 noon. then they got working on their own property. it looked like nothing happened. this street, by the way, is inhabited by old timers. everyone worked together and helped the other neighbors who were more affected.
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#17 Charles

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 11:23 PM

Hurricanes are no fun, but there is probably no place safer to ride one out. I'd be terrified if in Florida, where do you try to run to, Ohio? If Cozumel couldn't withstand hurricanes, it would never have been developed. Most anywhere along the Gulf of Mexico U.S. States, you're at high risk of storm surge for maybe one mile inland, Cozumel, three blocks is usually good.

Both from the durability of construction and the resourcefulness of the inhabitants, it is a good place to be.

After Wilma finally left the area, it roared across Florida quickly as a category 1 storm. Two couples from Cozumel were living in Ft Lauderdale. Both of their families had electricity and water restored days earlier in Cozumel before basic services returned in Florida. One man had to drive 15 miles to eat in a restaurant, charging his cell phone to call family on the island on their land line. It took ten days for electricity and two weeks for his home phone to be restored and that was a category 1 moving at over 30MPH.

In the event of a storm approaching Florida from the east, southeast, Cozumel is probably the closest, safest evacuation point. Key West, real scary.

You can't emphasize cash too much. If you have the financial means, you should try to keep double what you think you might need. If you could sock the money away through all of storm season, when the season ends then you are ready for Christmas. It could happen most anytime, but the traditional hurricane season for the Western Caribbean is after mid September to the end of October.
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#18 Carey

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 07:01 AM

Hmm.. beer :rolleyes:

Biggest problem we had in Tulum was the lack of beer! Went on for a week after Wilma left... not that I was counting. :huh:



Hi, Orm, and welcome! You think you had booze probs on the mainland? Cozumel was dry for 3 weeks. I bought several bootleg bottles during that period and, when they removed the ban in Playa, I took the ferry over and came back with a case hidden in a plastic mason bag bungeed to a portable dolley. The military was out in force at the muelle, the city passenger ferry pier, checking every single person who cam in or out but I guess they were too embarassed to harass a blonde gringa or else I looked too innocent to be a bootlegger.
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#19 divadiver

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Posted 11 March 2010 - 08:58 AM

Too bad we don't live in Merida. The NOAA & the Air Force are hosting public events in the Caribbean where the hurricane hunter plane can be toured. Merida is the MX east coast venue on March 23th.

http://www.noaanews...._hurricane.html
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#20 Coz2wonder

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 09:14 AM

Tis the season.

 

Now is the time to check the age of your propane tank.  If it is 10 years or older it may not be filled.

 

Check to make sure it is secured, and that all bolts and strapping are in good order.

 

If it is a bottle of propane, remove and store it in a safe place.

 

Turn off all gas lines into the house during the storm.


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