Gearing Up For Gustav And All His Friends

While there’s ultimately no rhyme or reason to what hurricanes will and won’t do (see the loopy ‘d’ loop path of Jeanne in 2004), there is a formula (maybe “more like a guideline,” as someone once said) to surviving, and even maximizing surf sessions during the stormy season.

Here are some tried and true tips. And we always welcome any additional insight, so just post it right on this article.

But remember the number one rule of hurricane season: always be ready for both the best and the worst.

Search for surf.
Research the strength of the storm as well as it’s projected path, and break out a map. The best case scenerio is to be as far away from the storm but still in a position to its receive swell. If a storm’s right on top of you, the waves will most likely be out of control. With a Category 3-5, the swell can be huge. Look for headlands and points, spots that might not normally break very well, but that’ll light up when rogue hurricane waves bomb the shore. Be prepared to do some legwork.

Keep your finger on the pulse, literally.
And by pulse, we mean your computer mouse. There’s a wealth of charts and forecasts posted in real time online. Use them to your advantage. And check them often because things change fast during this time of year.

Watch the Weather Channel.
The meteorological pros and state of the art technology are strikingly accurate, especially inside a three-day prediction—when forecasts really count. If you see fear in their eyes, starting packing some stuff up.

Buy emergency supplies ahead of time.
That means plywood, water, food—anything you’ll need when there’s 100 mph wind buffeting your house, the power’s out for a week, and all the grocery store shelves are empty. Two days before a storm hits, the line at Home Depot wraps around the entire store.

Protect your valuables.
If a storm is within 24 hours of landfall and it looks like it’s going to pass through your area, pack valuables in watertight containers—you know, things like computers, electronics, pictures, and other delicate personal items. Doing so will help preserve them if your roof springs a leak, or if you have to move stuff out of your pad at a moment’s notice during inclimate weather. The process is tedious but it can save you a lot of money and lost memories in the long run.

Make evacuation plans. Now.
Within a few days of a potential strike, every hotel and motel room in surrounding areas outside of the projected path will be completely booked. And within a day, the highways will be gridlocked like rush hour in Los Angeles. Do a little research beforehand on out of town lodging—and polish up on your road map knowledge for alternate routes.

Stuff you might need:
Hurricane shutters: You can get these fitted for your house, so the process is easy and automated every year—that beats hammering plywood in 90 degree heat.
Tarps: Drape them over furniture or beds for short term protection.
Rubbermaid containers: These come in many sizes and are perfect for storing things you don’t want to get wet—I saved my stereo components by doing so.
Generator: You will be everyone’s best friend in your neighborhood.

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