Anyone who follows the blog probably knows by now Hurricane Matthew swung a wider path than anticipated and hit well north of us. We of course feel for those who have borne (and may yet bear) the brunt. We do have a lot of residents who arrived in 2006 or later as we have had calm hurricane seasons. They have not seen trees bent over, rain coming down as if from a fire hose, power lines snapped and arcing sparks and flames across the road, phones and electricity out for days. (And that was with only a Cat 1) The idea we took measures that were not in fact required doesn’t mean it was wasted effort. The problem, as always, is if you wait until the last minute to be sure, you wait too long for certain things. Shutters and food/water provisions are the best examples. If you have bolt-on metal shutters or plywood, they are heavy, difficult to maneuver, and time-consuming to put up. What is more difficult, however, is to try and do so when the wind picks up to 30-40 miles an hour, then increases. Waiting to go to the grocery store means, at a minimum, you’ll be in long lines with less choice (sometimes a lot less) than you would have otherwise.
Unlike tornadoes and earthquakes that come with little, if any, warning, hurricanes and blizzards generally approach over a period of time and you have to make decisions. This really is why having basic items on-hand during whatever the “season” is makes sense. That can in fact minimize what you have to do when threatened. Since items like batteries and non-perishable food can be kept for long periods, buy them at the beginning, then plan to use them in the later months. (Okay, we did forget the case of water in the garage that sat for more than two years, but it was useful for watering plants.)
Sure, it’s irritating to wrestle with something like heavy shutters when it turns out to have been not needed, but it’s a great deal less trouble than dealing with the aftermath of even a Cat 1. In actuality, one of the best “preps” is to sit with someone who genuinely knows how to read the detailed discussions of weather reports such as you get from sites like Weather Underground. It may seem confusing, but once you understand the minutia, you are better equipped to make your own decisions.