I know, I know. You’re big. You’re strong. You ain’t no punk. I know you would never run from something named “Irma.” After all, what kind of name is Irma? Irmas bake pies. Irmas serve on the Usher Board. Irmas have furniture with lace doilies in their living rooms. But Hurricane Irma is not a regular Irma. Hurricane Irma is dangerous.
Experts smarter than you or I are using adjectives like “catastrophic” and describing Irma as “the most powerful Atlantic storm on record.” Stronger than Katrina. Stronger than Harvey. Stronger than the bouncer who threw you out of the club that one time. If Hurricane Irma was from your neighborhood, it would be described as “swole.”
It is being called one of the strongest hurricanes ever. Do you know how long “ever” is? It’s before Frankie Beverly met Maze. Before Donald Trump went bald. When Earth, Wind and Fire was just dust, breeze and sparks. “Ever” is a long-ass time.
Irma hit islands in the Caribbean early Wednesday with winds blowing 185 miles per hour, causing major damage in Barbuda and Antigua. Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands are bracing for its expected landfall late Wednesday. Puerto Rico’s only electric company warned its customers that they could be without electricity for four to six months. Nearly 300,000 people have already lost power, and 4,000 have already lost water because of power outages, according to the New York Times, and ...
Wait? Did we just say four to six months without electricity?
Unlike areas in the United States, power companies on many of these islands cannot send in trucks, workers and machinery from neighboring states to restore electricity. For example, Forbes reports that in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, almost 10,000 utility workers from 21 states are in Houston assisting with Texas’ utilities. Island nations can’t do that. And Irma is already headed for Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
I’ve actually lived through several hurricanes, so here’s some advice:
- Get your insurance information together. This would include flood insurance, homeowners insurance and even car insurance.
- Let someone know where you are. Don’t have your aunt Wilene out here worried about you.
- Take a phone charger. And an extra battery if possible.
- Check the evacuation route. Know where you’re going. Know the path of the hurricane. Fill up your tank now.
- Pack wisely. Take more than you need. Don’t forget diapers for kids, toiletries, water (and a refillable bottle to put fresh water in) and snacks. (Surprisingly, toaster pastries like Pop-Tarts are among the lightest and most filling things you can take.)
- Secure your home. Lock the doors. Tape the windows (winds might shatter the window, but tape can prevent the shattered pieces from falling). Lean your mattresses against the biggest windows (they will block debris if the windows do break). Put food in your freezer and fridge on ice (if the power goes out, it will last longer in a cooler).
- GET OUT!
Yes, take our advice, and get out now. It doesn’t matter whether your home survives if you are not around to enjoy it. If you are under evacuation orders, evacuate. Don’t try to stick it out. Don’t try to be lucky. Be smart. There are some things you can’t fight ...
... even if their name is “Irma.”