Bluffton, SC –
It was 11 months ago today, October 7, 2016, that Hurricane Matthew came ashore and cut a devastating path across my adopted Lowcountry home.
I decided to weather the storm at a friends house in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Savannah, Georgia.
The BOOM, SNAP, CRASH of 11 massive Georgia Pines fell overnight. One crushed a car and sent me scurrying from my bed.
I awoke before dawn huddled under a blanket near the fireplace, which I’d figured was the strongest structure in the house.
After cutting ourselves out of the neighborhood I drove from Tybee Island, through Savannah and Bluffton to Hilton Head Island.
During the 90 minute drive I passed thousands upon thousands of fallen trees on Hilton Head and Wilmington Island and found smaller structures torn to shreds on Tybee Island.
Our friends had their homes flood at The Farm, in Palmetto Hall and Hilton Head Plantation.
Power outages, road closures, storm damage, debris and tarps on rooftops seemed to be everywhere.
The pier that used to extend from the Quarterdeck toward Daufuskie Island was completely destroyed, its remnants strewn across Harbourtown’s famed 18th green.
Today, Hurricane Irma is churning its determined path toward the U.S. coast, with an estimated 16 million residents in its path.
Unlike last year, when many neighbors were convinced that the storm path would turn, residents are working to secure yard furniture, filling gas tanks and making evacuation plans to get family and pets away from the coast.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests the public plan ahead of a hurricane and pack an emergency kit for at least the first 72 hours after a diaster.
These kits should combine basic staples (food, water) with supplies reflecting your family’s unique needs, such medications or baby formula.
15 Things Every Hurricane Emergency Kit Needs
Important documents – Social security cards, insurance documents, bank account information, medical documents and other information should be kept in a water-proofed container. Mementos and photo albums should be secured and water-proofed.
Extra Cash – Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods of time following a storm. Emergency officials recommend people have cash readily available in the form of small bills.
Stay connected! – Don’t forget your Cellphone with a portable charger. * A battery backup or a solar charger can be useful during hurricanes. FEMA officials are reporting this morning that they plan to close roads and provide updates on Google Maps in realtime before, during and after the storm.
Tools – A tool kit should be easily accessible during the storm. Recommended items to have on hand are a can opener, hammer, screwdrivers, rope, duct tape to waterproof items (masking tape isn’t strong enough), canvas tarps and sturdy nails. After-storm cleanup items should include a chain saw, rope and sturdy working gloves.
Water – Officials suggest you have at least 1 gallon of water daily per person for a period of three to seven days.
Weather radio – A battery-operated or NOAA radio, along with an ample supply of extra batteries for flashlights and other devices needed during and after the storm.
Seasonal clothing – At least one change of clothing for seasonal conditions, rain gear (ponchos, umbrellas, boots) and sturdy shoes.
Portable Generator – Anyone not evacuating out of the storms path should expect extended power outages, which are stressful and dangerous. If weathering the storm, a generator is essential.
Toys, books and games – Hurricanes can take hours to pass. To combat boredom for hours after the power goes out (and TV and Internet are unavailable), turn to the following: Cards, games, books and toys for the kids.
Pet care – Pet owners should have ample supplies of food and water, bowls, leashes, chain and stake, a carrier or cage, and medications.
Bedding supplies, such as blankets and pillows.
Non-perishable foods – Officials suggest stocking up on non-perishable packaged or canned foods and juices to last three to seven days. Suggestions include: Peanut butter, crackers, nuts and trail mixes, granola bars and protein bars, dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, apricots), Canned meats (tuna, chicken, salmon etc.), canned vegetables and fruits, canned milk, dry cereals and canned beans and chili
First Aid kit – First-aid kits should be added to your home and one for each car. Among the items that should be included are adhesive bandages in various sizes, sterile gauze pads, antiseptic spray, rubbing alcohol, tweezers, etc. Nonprescription items such as aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever, Benadryl and peroxide should be kept on hand. Mosquito repellent is also suggested.
Baby needs – Extra formula and baby food is a given. It’s also suggested that you include: disposable diapers, wipes, diaper-rash ointment, medicines and medicine dropper.
Prescription medications – Keep at least a one-week supply of prescription medications and vitamins. Residents are strongly encouraged to write a list of their medications and dosages and store in safe, dry place.
Photographs from Hurricane Matthew, October 7, 2016
Harbourtown Lighthouse Pier destroyed, remains strewn on 18th green. – Hilton Head Island, South Carolina