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Preparing a Young Urban Family to Outlast a Hurricane

Kathy Zucker took stock of her condo disaster kit to make sure her family could outlast a Category 1 hurricane.

Last winter, I wrote about how the Great Blizzard of 2010 caught me off guard, which led to me in the event of blizzards, blackout and hurricanes.

Guess what? I forgot to include earthquakes in the list.

One of the side benefits of having a completely childproof house is that it is also earthquake-proof. L-brackets secure all my bookshelves and tall furniture to the walls with L brackets, so nothing fell over during . However, that event was an excellent wakeup call for disaster preparation. I didn't realize quite how quickly I would need my disaster kit until Wednesday evening when the Movie Under the Stars got canceled due to pre-hurricane winds (the kids were disappointed to not see Toy Story 3) and the Hoboken mayor sent out an .

Evacuation is not an option for my family since all of my relatives live in areas equally at risk for flooding from a category 1 hurricane. With Hurricane Irene scheduled to make ground on Saturday, that gives me 24 hours to batten down the hatches and get my family ready to outlast the storm. A storm surge could cause flood waters as high as ten feet in Hoboken, so we might lose electricity for several days while we wait for them to recede.

I spent the morning checking my existing disaster supplies and making a shopping list to last my family for a week. I already have plenty of water, working flashlights and garbage bags, so my list included food (almonds, granola bars, healthy cereal, juice, shelf-stable milk), C batteries, duct tape, battery-powered radio (can't find our old one) and a backup power supply to charge our cellphones.

I got all our supplies in Newport Center, Jersey City, driving first to Best Buy (they had three remaining backup power supplies when I was there), then the A&P and finally Target. Everywhere I went I saw shoppers who were clearly stocking up for the hurricane (the huge jugs of water and bulk packs of batteries were a tipoff). A&P had ample food supplies and plenty of shelf-stable whole milk, although they were running low on low-fat milk. The Target camping section was picked bare by 3 p.m. today.

After unloading my car and dividing up supplies with the three other households I am helping, I parked my car for $30 per day in an upper level at the Sky Club parking garage on Second Street between Harrison Street and Marshall Drive. My husband and I want to keep our car handy in case we need to make a getaway (although we probably will need a boat in that event).

Now that the basics are taken care of, I am cooking meals (shepherd's pie and apple pie) to use up our perishable food supplies before the storm hits. Fingers crossed for happy sailing in Hoboken!

To read more about what makes Kathy Zucker tick, check out her blog at http://hobokenmomcondo.com/momblog and follow her at http://twitter.com/kathyzucker

Kathy Zucker August 28, 2011 at 11:55 PM
Glad I could help! Updated my blog with storm updates at http://momcondoliving.com/2011/08/25/5149/, we are not out of the woods yet since winds are stronger than yesterday & high tide is here so flood waters have stopped receding.
Karen O'Shea August 31, 2011 at 01:58 PM
Hey Kathy How are you doing? I have been thinking about you and your family during the storm. Hope all is well.
Kathy Zucker August 31, 2011 at 04:11 PM
We are back to normal, thanks for asking! We lost power for 8 hours on Sunday and had about 5' of flooding in SW Hoboken, but the waters started receding Sunday afternoon and were completely gone by Monday AM so my husband made his usual commute via Light Rail & ferry. Our building sustained almost no storm damage so we are thankful.
Karen O'Shea August 31, 2011 at 04:16 PM
So glad to hear that. Five feet of water is awful!
Kathy Zucker September 02, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Gratitude to My Community - After Hurricane Irene, I owe thank yous to a lot of people. http://momcondoliving.com/2011/09/02/gratitude-to-my-community/

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