Re: When is it time to go?
Having lived on the southwest coast of Florida since 1993, Hurricane preparation is an annual ritual, both for our home and our boat including loading up with extra supplies of fuel, food, water and essentials for a month of self sufficient living, if necessary. We also developed a formal storm plan for the yacht that, after Katrina, became a mandatory requirement for our insurance coverage. I do not agree with the idea of hauling a yacht out as, ashore, she is out of her element and dependent upon stands and supports that will be undercut by rain and surge and dependent upon tie-downs that may or may not hold, particularly when the storage yard is subject to surge that may float her off her stands or hold her in place for awhile, pounding against the ground/stands/ and other yachts that may have broken loose.
When we are threatened, we strip the canvas and sails off the yacht, run her lifts, halyards and the like to the masthead with 1/8" messenger lines (to minimize windage) ensure that the fuel tank is topped off, shut down non essential electrics to ensure that all our battery power is reserved for the bilge pumps, if necessary, and move as much expensive equipment off the boat as possible to minimize losses in the event the yacht is lost. We secure the yacht in our marina, which is relatively well protected with large (2'x5') inflatable fenders and fender boards, and double up lines, particularly surge lines, secured to "Tide Minders" that will roll up and down our pilings as the height of the water changes. We also prepare our storm anchors as, if the wind will be coming out of the south, across our breakwater, and the predicted surge/waves will top the breakwater, we move the yacht out into the River and anchor her on a 3-point storm set, favoring the south shore of the River to gain the lee of the land there. The decision as to whether to remain in the marina or anchor out is reserved until we have a clear sense of the track of the storm.
As for quitting the house, that decision is delayed again until we have a clear sense of the track of the storm as, at least here, earlier departure may well have one running into the path of the storm rather than out of it as many discovered during hurricanes Charley and Whilma. When it is clear, however, if necessary we finishing boarding the place up and head out. IF we remain in the house, our final preparations including lining the bathtubs with plastic and filling them and making as much ice as reasonably possible, recognizing that power may/will be out for an extended period. Fortunately for us with few exceptions our power lines are under ground and less subject to damage than is the case in other areas. We also have natural gas which has never been interrupted although we do turn off the main gas valve to the house somewhat before a storm arrives to ensure that, if there is any problem with damage, it will not be compounded with an uncontrolled flow of gas. (A CNG powered generator also comes in handy to provide power in the absence street mains.) Has the folks in Long Island taken such precautions, the Breezy Point Fire might not have happened.
Frankly, in my opinion one of the principal reasons the northeast is suffering so badly is because folks simply did not, or did not know how, to prepare for the storm and many didn't take the warnings to heart. I find it astonishing that within two days of the event, so many people are out roaming around looking for food, water and fuel unless their homes were destroyed. And why folks in high-rise buildings didn't realize what their lives would be like without power escapes me. (But why residential high rise buildings are not required to have auxiliary generators to provide minimal service--at least elevators--also escapes me.)
I could go on but to what end?
"It is not so much for its beauty that the sea makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air, that emanation from the waves, that so wonderfully renews a weary spirit."