It's hurricane season here in NC, and let me start by saying that hurricanes are NOT ninjas. They will not (generally) sneak up on you. So to justify waiting until 3 hours before it hits to make a mad dash through wally world grabbing everything you need to prepare for Armageddon and the following nuclear winter is just....ridiculous. That being said, some of the "hurricane preparation kit" lists that plague store counters during our season are equally ridiculous. Now I have not been through Andrew, Hugo, or Hazel, but I have been through every hurricane in NC since 1998, and one more small one before that. 7 hurricanes and countless tropical storms in 13 years will in fact, teach you a thing or 2.
REALISTIC TOURIST HURRICANE PREPARATION LIST
non-perishable food (just enough for the stay....don't overdo it)
sunscreen and bug repellent (chances are you are already packed these)
extra cash (see above)
rain ponchos (these pack up super small)
a pack of matches
small first aid kit (see travel size aisle in walmart or target, or make your own)
pocket knife or swiss army knife
plastic bag to hold valuable documents and wallet (just like a quart size ziploc bag)
extra bar of soap (unless staying at hotel)
This is just an idea, but should at least start you off right. Packed correctly this should fit into no more than a portion of a carry on, or under a seat in the car. Some of this may seem a bit unnecessary, but when I tell you our stores run out of everything, I mean EVERYTHING. It's never a bad idea to bring a bunsen burner with as well, to heat things up...heck, I wish I had one of those in Europe, even without storms. Hurricanes do not have to be a terrible damper on your summer trip, and they are honestly very exhilarating (despite all the damage...gotta find a silver lining somewhere). When you see the other 5 bajillion tourists running around, scrambling to find one more bottle of water, you will be glad to have this little kit. Wilmington's population grows exponentially in the summer, and we are LONG overdue for a big one. This summer has been fairly mild so far (although today is a little warm) and that can be a good intro for a rough storm season. come prepared, but not paranoid, remember: those of us on the beaches have been through this, and are still here. A little caution goes a long way.
p.s. Folks, I cannot stress this enough, if Law Enforcement/Emergency Management tells you to evacuate, EVACUATE. Do not be hard headed..chances are you have never been through something as destructive as a major hurricane. Ignorance is nothing to be ashamed of, but pride goeth before a fall. I know you spent a lot of money to come here, and I know you want the kids to see the ocean, but put them in the car, count the money as a loss, get on I-40, and GET OUT. When you see the traffic pattern, you will be glad you took this advice early. If you have to leave, get on the ipod or phone, and shoot me an email. I'll tell you a lot of other cool trips throughout our beautiful state that you will really enjoy. I'll be happy to recommend hotels, help with directions, and try to help you salvage a cool trip. Please trust me though, I work at 911, which is under Emergency Management, and I HAVE to work through the worst of storms. I get to be in the command center when things get heated up, and I get to see how bad it gets. I do not get to leave with my family, I have to get them evacuated somewhere safe. Leave when told to, because some of us do not get to.