[9/8/17] The devastating power of nature is truly amazing. As we just recently saw in Houston, Texas, a single hurricane can cause billions of dollars of damage, undoing in mere days what has taken mankind years to build. The cleanup efforts for the damage that Hurricane Harvey caused will take an estimated three years or more.
Fortunately, the loss of life from Hurricane Harvey was much lighter than from Hurricane Katrina. This was largely due to the simple fact that Houston is 80 feet above sea level, while parts of New Orleans actually sit below sea level.
But as I write this, even more hurricanes are churning in the Atlantic, and a large section of the U.S. is evacuating.
Should You Bug Out?
The first question you must ask yourself in any hurricane situation is whether or not you should bug out. This depends a lot on where you live, the terrain around you, and the strength of the coming hurricane. There were lots of people in Houston who weren’t affected by the hurricane, simply because their homes were just a few feet higher than the water.
If you don’t know how high you are above sea level, and how that compares to the area around you, then you need to get your hands on a topographical map. You can download these for free from the USGS website.
If your home is located in what is known as a “100-year-flood zone,” chances are pretty good that you’ll be flooded out in any major hurricane. This term means that there is a one percent chance that your home will flood in any one year. Other zones are listed as “500-year flood zones” or “1,000-year flood zones.” Anyone who buys their home with a mortgage loan and who lives in a 100-year flood zone will be required to buy flood insurance as part of their contract. Few of the rest of us bother with that.
Just in Case
Even if you are certain that you are living high and dry, where the flooding from the hurricane can’t get to you, you should be prepared to bug out. Hurricanes and tropical storms are unpredictable. Things might end up very different than you expect. Always make sure you leave yourself an avenue of escape.
To be specific, I mean that you should leave yourself an avenue of escape if there are five feet of water in your home. You don’t want to depend on being able to drive your car, unless you happen to have a monster truck parked in the driveway. Nor should you really count on walking. You won’t be able to see what’s under the water, so you might just step into a hole that’s 20-feet deep.
If you don’t happen to own a boat, you should probably invest in an inflatable rubber raft. You can buy these for as little as $100, giving yourself a means of getting to safety, instead of having to wait for someone to rescue you.