No one wants to have a hurricane visit their area, but they are a fact of life in the tropics. Traditionally, the North coast of the Yucatan has generally been a safe place to be. Due to the geography of the area, which tends to see storms follow the Yucatan channel or lose strength as they cross land. However, there have been a few notable exceptions such as Glibert and Isadora, that did huge amounts of damage. The one good thing about hurricanes is you can see them coming for days and have lots of time to activate your plans. You do have a plan don’t you? Here in Mexico, once a storm reaches certain proportions and is predicted to hit this area, on the North Coast of the Yucatan, an evacuation order will be given. Once given, it is mandatory that you leave, it is NOT optional. You need to do your own homework, to find out where the closest evacuation shelters are and make sure you know how to get to them. For people who have pets, the problem becomes much more difficult, as the shelters do not allow pets. If you are a pet owner , you will need an alternate shelter for you and your pets. Now is the time to canvas friends, to see if they will allow you to bring your pets with you, in the event of an emergency. Remember, you may be stuck there for a week or more, under not so nice conditions, so tempers of both you and your pets might get frayed.
When a hurricane strikes it is not just a case of high wind. Hurricanes also bring massive amounts of moisture and humidity levels skyrocket. It could be 35+ degrees and 100% humidity for days on end, with no electricity for fans or A/C. Anything you get wet, will never ever dry, clothes, pills, papers, NOTHING! Plus mold and mildew will run rampant if unchecked. It will not be pleasant, to spend a week or more in a damp environment, exposed to mosquito’s nightly, along with your wet dogs. The only way to keep your sanity is to be absolutely prepared for the worst and make sure you have a way to keep everything as dry as possible. If you have an alternate place to stay inland and you have a generator. Make sure you have extension cords and spare fuel, also fill your cars gas tank and have a syphon hose. A modern car has 45 or so litres of fuel which can power a small generator for 4 or 5 days of reasonable use. So having a syphon hose handy is a good idea.
Below is a list of suggested items to have handy in the event that a hurricane does arrive. But, even if you head to a friends house or shelter and then return home, you will still need to be prepare. You may be with out power for a long period, if transmission lines are down and there is a good chance your beach home and more likely its contents maybe substantially damaged. Remember, no power means , no city water and fuel stations can’t pump gas, stores won’t have cold storage, etc. Like the Boy Scouts say “Be prepared”.
Here are recommendations on what to do before a storm approaches:
— Use hurricane shutters or board up windows and doors with 5/8 inch plywood. Make them now before you need them!
— Bring outside items in if they could be picked up by the wind, place screws in your tinaco lid, as they tend to fly away.
— Turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting in case power goes off. Use a cooler to keep from opening the doors on the freezer or refrigerator.
— Make sure your cisterna and Tinaco are full and you have 5 or more Garafons of water available.
— Make sure your vehicles fuel tanks are full and you have spare fuel for a generator, also have a siphon hose
— Have an evacuation plan.
— Learn the location of the nearest shelter or nearest pet-friendly shelter. This is a big issue for pet owners in the beach areas.
— Store important documents — passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates, deeds — in a watertight container.
— Have a current inventory of household property.
— Leave a note to say where you are going.
— Contact relatives and let then know you maybe out of touch for a week or more.
— Unplug small appliances and electronics before you leave.
— If possible, turn off the electricity, gas and water for your residence.
Here is a list of handy supplies:
— A seven-day supply of water, a minimum of one gallon per person per day.
— Three days of food, with suggested items including: canned meats, canned or dried fruits, canned vegetables, canned juice, peanut butter, jelly, salt-free crackers, energy/protein bars, trail mix/nuts, dry cereal, cookies or other comfort food.
— A can opener and eating utensils
— Flashlight(s) and candles.
— A battery-powered radio.
— Extra batteries.
— A first aid kit, including latex gloves; sterile dressings; soap/cleaning agent; antibiotic ointment; burn ointment; adhesive bandages in small, medium and large sizes; eye wash; a thermometer; aspirin/pain reliever; anti-diarrhea tablets; antacids; laxatives; small scissors; tweezers; petroleum jelly.
— A seven-day supply of personal medications, in waterproof containers.
— A multipurpose tool, with pliers and a screwdriver.
— Cell phones and chargers, laptops are handy if the Wifi in Merida’s parks is still up and running.
— Contact information for the family.
— A hammock setup, for each person, as a bed is almost useless in high humidity and will never dry.
— Extra cash.
— Mosquito netting or mosquito coils
— A map of the area, as familiar routes my be closed due to downed trees or other debris.
— Pet supplies.
— Wet wipes, showers may not be an option.
— Insect repellent.
— Rain gear.
— Duct tape.
— An extra set of house keys.
— An extra set of car keys.
— Household bleach.
— Toilet paper in zip lock bags or the handy single wrapped Costco rolls.
— Paper cups, plates and paper towels.
— DRY, Charcoal and matches, if you have a portable grill. But only use it outside.