Hurricane Florence

VA to NC to TN

We grew up in the coastal Carolinas so if there is one thing we are pretty good at understanding and prepping for its is hurricanes. Knowing when to listen to the warnings and when to batten down the hatches. The song, "Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em" keeps running in our heads. What we have not learned yet is how to manage a currently Cat 4 hurricane in a Van. The logical answer is you line in a van just drive somewhere else, but when a storm this size comes to the coast you finally made it to it's hard to determine which direction to choose. How many of reservations should we cancel, how far away from our end destination should we go? Neither of us wanted to ride out a storm with 140 mph winds in a van, but we also didn't like the idea of driving so far west or south we blew our budget for the month in gas and cancellations. So we did what has become our new norm - we made small changes, re-evaluated and went from there.

Our small change was to cancel our reservations for our campsite 80 miles inland and start looking for one on the other side of the Smokey Mountains. Thankfully we were able to find a campground near Sevierville, TN with openings. Plus, in this small world of miracles we ran into not one, but TWO families we love dearly from the Carolinas and were able to spend time with both of them (our favorite pictures below).

Our hurricane tips:

  1. Get gas/diesel frequently leading up to the storm because at some point the lines will not be worth it, but you will happily have a tank that is ¾ full rather than running on fumes. This applies to people inland too because you don’t know how quickly people will be coming through your town and draining your stations.
  2. Unfortunately 70% of news coverage is to sell panic and get people to watch intently. We use NOAA (http://www.noaa.gov/) to get our information. It’s not as pretty to read, but it shows figures based on facts and data not hunches and drama.
  3. If you can leave the area do so especially for Cat 3+. Don’t get us wrong Hurricane parties are a blast, but so is power (yay A/C) and being safely away from a storm.
  4. If you are sticking it out (in a house) fill up a tub with water – to flush toilets and have drinking water for pets. Though we have never been without water for very long flush-able toilets are pretty amazing when everyone is stuck inside.
  5. If you live like us full time in a mobile vehicle LEAVE! No matter how nice or big your rig is, it is no match for Hurricane winds. We promise as much as it may cost you in moving or stress of quickly hitting the road it is NOTHING compared to putting yourself in harm’s way.
  6. Update your family and friends of your change in plans. We typically delay post about our current location, but during the storm we made sure everyone knew where we were to lessen their concern.
  7. If you are traveling/evacuating with pets BRING all their documents at the very least gather what you can and your veterinarian’s information. Many hotels/campgrounds make natural disaster exceptions, but you don’t want to be told you can’t stay due to not having Fido’s shot records.

Seeing the town we would both consider our home for the past decade plus on the news preparing for a storm bringing“biblical rains” is heart wrenching. We are praying for and thinking of all of our friends, family and former co-workers and wishing them the safest possible path through this storm and the aftermath. We know the road to recovery for all the towns affected will be difficult, but have faith in humanity, love and the power of community to bring us through the storm.