Things to Stock Up On Before a Hurricane

Things to Stock Up On Before a Hurricane

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While we should be prepared for when a disaster hits, we rarely are. I wrote this a few years ago when Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas at a category 5 before scaling the Florida coast and causing quite a mess there.

Many people are not prepared for a hurricane, let alone a category 5 hurricane. When it comes to a hurricane, you need to make sure you are stocked to bunker down, as well as stocked to get out of town.

You never know when a category 1 could turn into a life-threatening category 5 hurricane. Below, you will find things to stock up on before a hurricane that will get you through the mild or severe! 

Things to Stock Up On Before a Hurricane

Why Should You be Prepared for a Hurricane?

Hurricanes and tropical storms pose three different hazards: wind, rain, and storm surge. Depending on the category of the hurricane, you could have minimal damage to catastrophic damage.

When in the threat of a hurricane, you should have enough of everything to last you for 7-10 days at the least. Here is why you should be prepared for a hurricane based on each hurricane category:

Category 1

A category 1 hurricane is minimal; however, it can affect you for several days. It can cause some damage to houses, especially mobile homes, trees branches can be thrown, and powerlines can be damaged. Although these damages are minimal, here’s what could happen:

  • Power Lines are damaged which means you may not be able to use debit or credit at your local stores. You will need cash. You may lose the ability to communicate, cool your home, have lights, TV or other electrical appliances, etc.
  • Trees branches could cause severe damage to your home. You would need supplies ready during this time. 
  • Stores, restaurants, and shops may be shut down due to power outages. 

Category 2

During a category 2 hurricane, you will have stronger winds which can cause a little more damage than the category 1 hurricane. Here are some things that could happen:

  • Power outages that last more than a few days. You won’t have power to your home.
  • Power outages can cause stores, restaurants, and shops to shut down for a few days.
  • You may not be able to pay for things like fuel, food, and water with anything but cash for a few days. 

Category 3

Once a hurricane gets to a category 3, you are looking at substantial damage to trees and houses. Here are some reasons why you would want to be prepared for a category 3 hurricane:

  • It will take roofs off of well-constructed homes.
  • Knocks out electric and water systems for days or even weeks.
  • The roads will be blocked by fallen trees and poles.
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Category 4

A category 4 hurricane is catastrophic to those who are in it. You will be looking at more damage than with any of the other hurricanes. Here is why anyone should be prepared for this type of hurricane:

  • Affected areas may be uninhabitable for days or weeks afterward.
  • Most trees will have fallen and caused damage.
  • Most electric poles will have been damaged and fallen. 
  • You will see catastrophic damage to most homes, even those that are well-constructed. 

Category 5

A category 5 hurricane will need to be prepared for in a whole new way. Most people can not bunker down during a category 5 hurricane. In fact, you will want to be prepared to get out of Dodge. Recovery from this can take months. 

Because hurricanes can be so destructive, it is important to be prepared. Below, you will find things you need to stock up on before a hurricane strikes. 

Things to Stock Up on Before a Hurricane

Because hurricanes can go from category 1 to higher categories, it is important to be prepared. You can be prepared by stocking up on the right things in your home. Here are some things to stock up on in case of a hurricane:

#1 Food

Even in a category 1 hurricane, machines at local grocery stores may be down. Buying food may be a challenge for a few days. I would recommend having at least 2-weeks worth of food, but at the very least, you need 3 days per person. If you aren’t sure what food to stock up on, here are some good options:

  • Cereal
  • Dried fruit
  • Soup in a can
  • Canned vegetables
  • Fruit in a can
  • Powdered or canned milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Granola bars
  • Saltine crackers
  • Trail mix
  • Canned meat like tuna and chicken
  • Pet food

#2 Water

Even though a hurricane is sure to shoot a bunch of water everywhere, it is not drinkable. Water pipes and lines may be broken. This means you will not have running water. The CDC recommends storing 1 gallon of water per day per person for a 3-day supply.

However, I would recommend storing 4-gallons per person per day instead. Don’t forget to include water for your pets. You will want to store enough water for at least 3-7 days. 

Related: How to Store Water for Drinking and Cooking

#3 A First Aid Kit

Whether there is category 1 or a category 3 hurricane, you will want to always have your First Aid kit stocked. This could quite literally save your life in any situation, not just a hurricane. If you don’t have a First Aid kit, you can learn how to fully stock one in my First Aid for Kit for Survival post

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#4 Health Supplies

Usually, you know a hurricane is coming at least a week before it gets here. So, it may be easier to get your medications filled before it hits. However, there are other health supplies you will want to make sure you have such as:

  • Vitamins
  • Pain relief such as Ibuprofen
  • Anti-diarrhea medications
  • Your prescriptions (2 week supply if possible)
  • Insurance cards

#5 Toiletries

Most people think about stocking up on toilet paper and baby wipes, but there are a few other things you really need to keep stocked up as well. These include:

  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Baby wipes
  • Diapers
  • Toilet paper

#6 Important Documents

When SHTF, you want to make sure you stocked your important documents where you can easily access them. You will need copies of the following important documents:

  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security cards
  • Birth certificates
  • Insurance cards
  • Home and property insurance policies

Use my Important Documents Emergency Grab and Go Binder to make sure you have everything you need in one place. 

#7 Other Important Things to Stock Up On Before a Hurricane

Additionally, you will want to make sure you are stocked up on some life-saving supplies. Here are some other items you should have stocked in your home:

  • Flashlights: One for each person along with extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
  • Solar-powered chargers and equipment
  • Plastic grocery bags
  • Butane lighters and matches: store them in plastic bags to protect them
  • Portable cooler/ice chest
  • Portable barbecue grill or camp stove
  • Utility knife
  • Handheld can opener
  • Extra blankets and pillows in water safe pouch
  • Bleach: you can use this as your cleaning agent for everything
  • Clothing: at least one extra set in a waterproof container

Things to Stock Up On in Your Car Before a Hurricane

Just as hurricane Dorian started at category 1 and reached a category 5 by the time it hit the Bahamas, you never know what could happen. Just in case, you should have your car stocked for a hurricane as well. This will help you if you need to get out of Dodge. Here is a list of items you will want to have in your car:

  • Extra blankets
  • 1-set of extra clothes for each person
  • Water-3 days worth per person
  • Food-3 days worth per person
  • Paper maps
  • Full gas jug
  • Car charger
  • Important documents binder
  • Smaller first aid kit
  • An emergency car kit

Final Word

When it comes to a natural disaster, a hurricane gives you quite a bit of time to prepare. However, when it comes to getting things stocked, hurricane proofing your home, or taking off, you will want to be prepared before you even know a hurricane is coming. Not only are these things to stock up on before a hurricane, but they can be useful anytime SHTF.

Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda

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  1. Linda,
    As I read this, I have been through more than my share of hurricanes and tropical storms. And, right now, my daughter and her husband are in the middle of the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda. And, there are two more tropical things dancing around farther out in the Atlantic. From my own experience, I can’t stress to folks enough that, if they are in hurricane prone areas, they need to strongly heed your list and don’t wait until the last minute to TRY to stock up. Good job on your part as usual. We are sitting here in the extremely dry Texas Hill Country wishing we could get some rain from the remnants of Imelda, but it looks like it is heading north and missing our area.

    1. Hi Harry, you are so right, do not wait until the last minute to stock up! I sure hope your daughter and husband will be okay after that storm settles out. It’s been a couple of years of crazy weather. I don’t see it changing anytime soon. It was great to hear from you. Praying for some rain in your area! Linda

  2. Linda ~ I know that this sounds harsh and unsympathetic to those who live in hurricane areas: but, they have advance notifications that the storm is headed their way and if they don’t start preparing as soon as they hear about it, they are fools. This is especially for those who have been experiencing those kinds of storms periodically over the years.

    I am fortunate in that here in the PNW we don’t have such severe weather. That being said, when we do have issues such as snow storms that cut us off during the winter or heavy windstorms from the Pacific Ocean that could cut out our power, we have advance notice and I don’t feel sorry for those here who do not prepare!

    I am, in general, a pretty sympathetic person but…my sympathy bone is broken when people don’t heed the warnings! And, even people who are on limited budgets can prepare – it just might take them longer and should start yesterday!


    1. Hi Leanne, you took the words right out of my mouth! I totally agree. We are all aware of the weather our city and state will experience. It may be today or next week. We must be prepared for the worst EVERY DAY! Linda

  3. I have a question. Do you store your food and everything in another location? I see to many places totally destroyed after a hurricane or tornado. It appears nothing is left. How do you prepare for that?

    1. Hi Donna, no I store everything that is food-related inside my home. All my emergency preps are stored outside in the garage. My propane is stored outside of the garage. Here’s the deal, I do not live where tornadoes or hurricanes are common. I would try to dig an airtight bunker in the ground or hopefully would have a basement in those locations. My area is subject to fires and flooding. I would have to say, we can only plan for the worst when looking for a home or apartment to reside in. But even with that being said, stuff happens, I could lose everything. I am prepared to rebuild if I need to do that. But until then, I am totally prepared for anything. Linda

      1. Thank you Linda, I have been working on prepping and using your list. When I saw the devistation in the Bahamas I became overwhelmed. I live in a tornado area. You know I could story non food related items in the storm shelter. Dah. Then grab food items when we are under a tornado warning. Again thank you Linda

        1. Hi Donna, oh my gosh, you have a storm shelter!!! You are rocking with preparedness! We are preparing for the worst and hope for the best. You are on the right track, trust me so many are not prepared at all. We can do this, I promise. Linda

      2. in regard to those propane tanks – you should prep with the possibility of them being stolen as well as the safety aspect >> be able to hide them adequately if not stored in some small yard building – and chain/cable them together and then anchored down

  4. Linda,
    I Have mentioned before that I work at a convenience store. Last week we had a
    power outage. I wasn’t working that day. I called to see if things were fine, unable to get
    through ALL phones are powered through electric power plugged into the wall. ALL gas pumps
    were down, I’m sure the store had to close. When I finally got through after the power came
    back on I could hear my boss telling customers…….CASH only. So I hope people can learn from
    all this. I live in the middle of the U.S. so we don’t get hit my hurricanes but we do get tornadoes,
    snow storms and ice storms so need to be prepared for everything!!!!!!

    1. Hi June, thank you so much for sharing this experience. We all need to have our gas tanks at 3/4 full and have small bills at our home stored in a safe place. It’s amazing how many things we take for granted when we have electricity! Thank you so much, Linda

  5. As a child, I can vividly remember watching the water come across an open stretch of land covered in salt grass. We were located about 3 miles from the Intercoastal Canal along the Texas coast, and the water rolled in just like waves at the beach. We opened the front door and let the water roll on in. Luckily we were built up off of the ground and it leveled out at about 18 inches. In those days, there were only limited warning systems, and many of the “old timers” usually chose to ride out the storm. I also remember my brother standing on the front porch, shooting the huge rattlesnakes as they floated by after being flushed out of the salt grass. All exciting for me, but very scary for my older and wiser family members. Everything turned out fine for us, but many others were not so lucky. My family does not stay today if the storm may possibly come this way. However, we have many friends and family who have run into problems in the area they evacuated to. Sometimes there is just no way of estimating it’s exact path.
    We did not go far for Harvey, and the effects were really felt afterwards. Most of the flooding in the Houston area was over and clean up had begun while we were still waiting for the water to travel down the river, and eventually into our home. All’s well now, but you just never know.
    But all the suggestions you gave are great and necessary even if you leave. Have supplies to take with you, and have supplies you can leave at home.
    The reason I commented, was to try to get help figuring out how to store the food supplies I have. I have invested in freeze dried foods I have tried and liked, plus a regular food storage plan. A basement or root cellar will not work here, too close to the water table. I need a place that will keep the stored food in a cool, dry area. Did I mention the humidity? What do other people do who live in this type of situation? I would love to live in the hill country, but sorry, not leaving the kids and grandkids. I’ve thought about building a cinder block room, but don’t know if that would help.
    I would appreciate any tips or suggestions. Keep up the wonderful articles. Luvya

    1. Hi Billie, I’m so glad you posted this question today. I am going to post it in my Food Storage Moms Facebook tomorrow. I live in a desert and the air is extremely dry. We need to ask others what they are doing. This is what I know right now. Because of your humidity, I have been you must store food in airtight containers. Let’s see what others post tomorrow. Here is the link to my private Food Storage Moms group for my readers I just started. We will find answers for you. Linda

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