Hurricane Safety

Mar 18, 2004
Lawrence, KS
For anyone that has intercepted a hurricane before please feel free to post any suggestions or tips that you might have for someone that is going to be doing it for the first time. This is not a thread to continue the ongoing debate but meant to be useful for someone whether they have intercepted 200 hurricanes or none at all. Please don't turn this into a flame war.
Just a few hints based on my experience.
Try to get on the east side of the eyewall. This is where the strongest winds will be. There is a BIG difference in intensity on the east side vs the west side. Find a multistory parking garage if possible. You can protect your car from flood water and have a great place to film from. Wear a swim suite and a rain coat. Not one of those flimsy rain ponchos.

What to bring:
Lots of towels.
Paper towels
Underwater housing for your video camera
Plenty of batteries.
Plenty of tapes. You will film hours, then have to edit down to the best.
Food for several days: sandwiches, fruit, canned stuff (don’t forget can opener)
Bottled water.
Extra gas (do not store it inside your car)
(I am sure there is more. Cant think now)

Suggestions to film:
Find palm trees or something that shows the wind strength.
Film flimsy roofs that may break away.
Film gas station overhangs.

Be patient. You may film for hours waiting for that one good shot. As soon as you turn off the camera, that is when it will happen.

Be prepared to be stranded for several days.
Excellent list, cedwards. I agree completely.

I would add car rechargers for all your electronics. Also fix-a-flat, and maybe a chainsaw if your chasing a large storm in big tree country. There are lots of large pines around the I10 corridor... they will end up blocking roads if the storm is a major one. I10 itself will probably remain passable but the state roads were ALL blocked where the right side of ivan came ashore. If you think you have enough gas, get more. you can never have too much gas. If you dont use it chasing, you can use it in 2 weeks.

...durring the height of the storm stay away from large trees and power lines... dont drive through water if you cant see the road markings.
A chainsaw may get you out of a few minor jams, but from my experience in Isabel, it wouldn’t have done any good. The next day crews were in with chainsaws and bulldozers. They were cutting treed 18-24 inches around then pushing them out of the way. There were a couple hundred trees that had to be cleared before I could get out of there.
Just my two cents worth

Some other items that one might take would be a trauma kit or some kind of medical kit that is better than you get at Walgreen’s or Wal-Mart,
Try this link for the trauma kit Also one might rent or buy a satellite phone since cell service will probably be out or limited.

Also for the extra gas, might get some fuel stablelizer, it will keep the gas good longer and help keep the water out.

my cell phone always worked in each of the three i was in storms last year.

jeanne knocked out all the NOAA weather radio stations but the cell phone towers stood.

a first aid kit should definetly be added to the list. Maybe a snakebit kit too. This is the home of water mocasins and there will be plenty of water around.
I'd think a spare (fullsize) tire and wheel, or better yet, 2 would be handy in case debris were to down one of your tires. From a mechanical standpoint, I'd also suggest a full set of spare belts and maybe hoses and some (eg. enough for a full change) transmission fluid, oil, and other fluids for necessary components of the vehicle like brakes, power steering, etc. if equipped with such, and some basic tools to pull off basic repairs noted above. Also some starting fluid.

For the body, I'd say, on top of what everybody else has suggested like MREs, food, water, gas, etc. is a water purification unit like the military uses. Perhaps a CamelBak to keep on your person as well. Some survival vitamins to keep in your pockets as well if you can't get to food for some reason. The hydration and vitamins would at least keep your body sustained fairly well, given you're not losing blood or sustained a really serious injury. This is mainly for if you're separated from your vehicle or supplies in general.

Also some chains, ropes or straps; or a winch for the vehicle if you can dig it. But mainly ropes and chains. If you go out in the 'cane, it'd be nice to have a lifeline back to the vehicle so you're not swept away with the winds. Auxiliary lights on the vehicle would be handy, as well as portable spotlight.

If you really wanna get into it, perhaps some knee pads and shin guards; as well as heavy duty eye protection if you plan to actually get outside-the-vehicle footage. Eye protection really is a must, like military goggles.
Some tips for riding out the storm.

Make sure your windows are protected from debris. A quick fix to this is tape. Tape your windows in an x pattern. If they are struck by debris the glas will stay in large pieces and is less dangerous to you.

Get lots of water. You may be without it for days. Filling the tub with water is not recomended as it will drain out even with it plugged up.

Make sure all vehicles are filled up on gas.

If at all possible place your self on the west side of the storm.

If you can afford it have a generator handy. This single item will make your life so much easier.