Anniversary an important reminder

Published 10:35 pm Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hurricane Isabel was a relatively non-event where I was living in North Carolina in 2003. It was quite breezy and rainy, and I think the power went out for less than a day.

I was determined to go to a Dave Matthews Band concert the night before the storm. It was my birthday present, after all, and I wasn’t going to miss it. The concert weather was nice — just a little breezy. But I regretted the decision a little on the drive back home in strong winds (and virtually no one else on the roads) later that night.

I knew northeastern North Carolina was harder hit, but at the time I didn’t have any connection to the Hampton Roads area. The big storm we always marked every hurricane up against was Hurricane Floyd. Nothing has quite measured up to the flooding produced by that September 1999 storm. Thank goodness for that.

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When I started dating my husband, we started discussing hurricanes at one point. He told me all about how hard his parents’ Chesapeake neighborhood was hit hard during Isabel. I didn’t fully grasp the extent until I saw the pictures.

My now in-laws lost dozens of trees that just littered their yard, narrowly missing their house. Their power was out for more than a week with no generator (they have now fixed that problem with a massive generator).

Their neighborhood lost a not-so-small forest, and it was quite hard to drive in as the tree trunks and debris lined the roadways for weeks after Isabel.

Suffolk and the rest of Hampton Roads seemed to fare like Chesapeake — hit hard. Lots of flooding, trees down and power outages.

Even though the current hurricane season has been a mild one so far, this milestone anniversary of Hurricane Isabel is an important reminder that we must take these threats seriously. Being prepared to be without power, running water or electricity for at least several days is important as all too many people found out 10 years ago.

The American Red Cross recommends certain supplies to have on hand in preparation for a hurricane:

  • Water — at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
  • Food — at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents
  • Cellphone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area
  • Baby supplies
  • Pet supplies
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Extra clothing, hat and shoes
  • Rain gear
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen
  • Camera for photos of damage