Weddings and Hurricanes don't mix! With Fay gone and Hannah and Gustav making their move towards the United States I thought many brides in the... Read More
Weddings and Hurricanes don’t mix! With Fay gone and Hannah and Gustav making their move towards the United States I thought many brides in the Southeast must be anxious to say the least. Brides well inland should be concerned too. Obviously this wasn’t the plan. A hurricane making landfall near or on your wedding day. What to do now? My advice is to plan and gain understanding of the situation putting safety first. Having been through two eyes of hurricanes on the coast and in many well inland I’d like to offer 10 Tips on how to make riding out the hurricane tolerable or provide some insight on what to expect.
Check that Forecast Track 7 Times a Day
Hurricanes can change course rapidly. Speeding up or slowing down it’s forward speed is common. Checking the latest National Hurricane Center Updates, the forecast here on BridalWeather.com®, or your local meteorologist is a must so you’re not caught by surprise.
Let’s Not Do The Until Death Do Us Part Just Yet
Hurricanes offer so many opportunities to injure or kill. Better to postpone the wedding if you are anywhere near the land falling eye of the storm than to risk your life or the lives of your guests. Listen and honor any evacuations promptly.
Storm surge is the most amazing thing I’ve seen as a meteorologist. I’ll never see one again. Picture this your on the beach and the waves are monstrous, the wind is blowing so hard the rain hurts, but it’s tolerable. Standing on the beach gives you a sense of hey I can ride this out. Then the storm surge arrives which lifts the water level 5 to 10 feet making those monstrous 15 to 25 foot waves now 20 to 35 feet high. The surge part is that it moves inland covering the beach you’re standing on and pressing about two blocks inland like an avalanche of water. Trust me you won’t survive.
Have a Generator, Water, Non-Perishable Food
You’ll hear have enough for three days. I say enough for two weeks if you are near a hundred miles of where the storm made landfall. In Raleigh, NC Hurricane Fran in 1996 raced across the state! Almost every other tree came down on cars, homes, across roads, and these things called power lines. Many residents went weeks without power. Water became contaminated for many and of course the refrigerator didn’t work. This was many miles inland. And remember to buy a gas powered generator and have the fuel to make it work.
If you or loved ones need to take medications of any kind make sure you have enough for at least three weeks. Because hurricanes are so wide most of your state will be affected if the eye makes landfall there.
Raingear, Dry Clothing, and Mosquito Repellant
You will get soaked if riding out a hurricane and if your house suffers flooding damage or a tree comes through the roof dry things will be very hard to find. My suggestion is to get zip lock bags and completely waterproof containers and put in dry underwear, socks, and clothes that you can put on after the storm passes. When a hurricane hits at least 6 to 12 inches of rain will fall. Most of the time there will be more. Puddles or ponds will be standing for a long time which will dramatically increase the bug population.
Make Sure Guests Know It’s OK NOT TO COME
People are funny in that they’ll die trying to save face. They’re not going to be the ones that missed the event. Everyone will talk about them. So Aunt Milly heads out and drives through the flooding rains. She and her gift never arrive and are found weeks later washed down a stream bed. Take the lead and postpone the event or tell guests that you’d rather have them stay away so they can celebrate your first anniversary. Remember to do this days in advance because cell phones won’t work during or after the storm.
The Rain Starts At Least A Day Before the Storm
A landfall means the eye of the storm has reached land. Hundreds of miles in advance of the eye are bands of heavy rain that normally start a day before the storm. Some of these bands can spawn tornadoes. Final decisions to postpone or evacuate need to be made at least two days before the storm.
Umbrellas and Tents won’t Work
This may not be obvious if you’ve never experienced a hurricane or tropical storm. The rain doesn’t fall from above you to the ground. Most of the rain will be moving from directly in front, behind, or a side of you and moving at around 50 mph. At times it will be like someone is spraying you constantly with a high pressured hose.
It’s OK to Cancel and Still Miss The Storm
I know you’re thinking Shut Up Weather Boy! I’m really speaking to those who are in the direct path of the storm. Cancelling a wedding after all that planning is not a fun thing to do. It will be more painful if the storm makes that dramatic turn west hours before landfall and you could have gone ahead with plans in the rain. So my point here is that it’s still ok. You’ll be mad and say stuff like I’m never listening to those forecasters again! But that’s too close to take that gamble. If that scenario happens you did the right thing cancelling. Trust me as a meteorologist we don’t ever want you to take the next storm lightly because of a slightly off forecast. Hurricanes are different and have a mind of their own. Most of the time the track is spot on. Katrina was forecast perfectly in track and strength at least 3 days out! Something that isn’t mentioned much because of the massive loss of life and destruction. People chose to stay. The common thinking in disastrous situations is…It’ll be bad, but it won’t be that bad, and if it is I’ll be ok. That’s not good. In the end it’s your day and you’ll decide, but it’s just a day and some money. They can be replaced you and your guests can’t.
These are my opinions of course and there are many other things you can do if you chose to ride out the storm. The key is safety first. I pray you don’t have to use these tips ever.