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Prep 101: Preparing In Hurricane Country, The Southeast

April 14, 2019 3 min read



The Southeast has many charming qualities; Disney World, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, The Georgia Aquarium (world’s largest aquarium), backyard alligators… ok, so maybe not all things in the Southeast are charming. Besides the occasional unfriendly gator, this region of the U.S. has experienced some of Mother Nature’s worst disasters. If you call Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, or the Caribbean (lucky) home, there are disasters that are known to happen specifically to this region. Are you prepared for these regionally specific disasters?


Hurricane season is typically between June and November and protecting your home is essential, emphasis on your windows. High winds can and will pick up large objects and hurl them at your house. Taping your windows may keep them from shattering, but in the event of a massive storm, high-impact glass, shutters, and plywood are going to be your best bet. Don’t wait until you are in the midst of a hurricane to protect your home and your family. Heading to the home-supply store with the panicked masses can turn into a fight for the last piece of lumber, and it maybe fight that you lose.


Catastrophic drought and heat waves in the south are more common than you might think. In July 2011, the Southeast was blanketed under the “heat dome.” The sweltering levels of high heat were compared to the area surrounding the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia. Florida and Georgia experienced their hottest August on record. This level of heat can quickly become fatal for those who are not prepared. The number one thing that is required for survival in a heat wave/drought situation is: water, and the colder the better because it helps cool your internal temperature. Stocking your food storage, fridge, and freezer with clean-drinkable water is essential. Dehydration is your enemy anytime, but when combined with extreme heat, it can quickly start to look like the grim reaper.


Nutria - or as they are known in Louisiana: swamp rats. They were imported from South America in the 1930s for their fur. The industry of “swamp rat” furs died, but the species thrived and grew out of control. They are relentless at destroying native plants and habitats of crabs and fish, which are an essential part of the southern food chain. Starlings – they may be pretty-little birds, but they are generally regarded as pests. They move in flocks that look like black clouds that fly over cities, towns, and mostly farms in search of food. They are capable of harassing bigger animals, such as cattle by stealing their food, which has resulted in a sizable decrease of beef available in the market. No beef = no burgers. Are you prepared to live in a cheeseburger-less world? Asian Citrus Psyllid – these tiny bugs are feared in the orange juice industry. This little insect carries a bacterium that is known by three names: yellow dragon disease, citrus greening, and huanglongbing (say that five times fast). This bacterium is basically cancer to citrus trees. It deforms roots, causes fruit to prematurely fall from the limbs, and eventually gives the tree a slow and untimely death. An enormous percentage of citrus trees (80%) are found in Florida, but Louisiana, Texas, California, and Georgia also provide the nation with citrus fruit and have experienced the wrath of the Asian Citrus Psyllid. These invasive species are threatening our availability of some of some of our most delicious foods. They may seem harmless, sometimes even cute, but they are considered disasters that can affect your livability.


Southeasterners are not strangers to tornadoes, which typically show up when the weather is hot and humid. Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana are places that have seen the most tornado-related casualties in history. In the 20th century, there has been an upward trend of tornadoes in this region. They show up unannounced, destroy all things in their path, and never apologize for the damage they cause. Tornadoes are considered to be severe storms and they will not hesitate to uproot your safety (literally). However, if you are prepared for their arrival, you can survive. Identify safe rooms and storm shelters,build an emergency kit, have a family communication plan, and follow instructions given by local emergency management officials. They often strike quickly, so planning ahead is an essential part of this crisis situation. No matter where you live; Southeast, Northeast, Middle Earth, or Narnia there will always be a possibility for disaster. The more you prepare, the better your chances of survival will be. Keep you and your family safe with an emergency plan, proper safety supplies, and plenty of food storage. Start preparing today!