hurricane season

Hurricane season arrived a couple weeks ago - June 1st, to be exact. It will be our first full hurricane season in Grand Cayman, and I don't intend to blow it off (no pun intended). It's no secret that Grand Cayman is in the Atlantic Basin storm path. Hurricane Ivan - a devastating Category 5 hurricane in 2004 - put an indelible mark in the minds of all residents, reminding them (and us) that anything is possible. I figure that the best offense is a good defense.

[Ivan photos]
photo by Courtney Platt; from
This shot is taken near where I work.

photo by Courtney Platt; from
Beach devastation

photo by Courtney Platt; from

They say that every year, The Powers That Be predict a devastating hurricane season. And for the past couple years, at least in Grand Cayman, they've been wrong. But when I read this post about predictions in my former resident state of New Jersey, it reminded me that there are fresh risks to consider during hurricane season every year.

A lot of good literature on proper hurricane preparedness has been made available, especially in the post-Ivan aftermath, so this post is just a quick compilation of the resources I've used. Obviously, I'm no authority on the subject, and I hope never to be, but if this short post will motivate you to put a hurricane kit together now while the sun is shining and there is barely a dark cloud in the sky, then my mission has been accomplished.

The main resources I've used to prepare were from and While these lists have similarities, I found the Cayman New Resident list to be more of a summary, while the Cayman Prepared kit was quite comprehensive. (I can't honestly say that I covered every word in that manual.)  I recommend taking a look at these resources as a basis for creating your own personal hurricane plan.

Since we don't own a home in Grand Cayman and none of the furniture here is ours, we will do little more on the home front than secure the hurricane shutters and perhaps throw our clothes into plastic bags in our bathrooms (our interior rooms) to protect from any water leakage. We do own a boat (for now) and two cars, all of which will need to be secured. I've been scoping out "higher ground" in Grand Cayman every time I'm out and about. Trust me; there isn't much of it. Basically, the idea is to find a place where our cars are relatively safe from being swept away by flood waters, and then use our rain boots (see below) to schlep to safety.

With not much to do around the house, my main areas of focus will be food, water, clothing, and  "MacGyver" items. While the first three are relatively intuitive and should include preparations for about a week's time, the fourth category would involve random items like a rope, matches, batteries, a flashlight, bug spray, and a battery-operated radio.

Here's the list I put together:

Hurricane Checklist

[Okay, so once upon a time when I uploaded this document, it looked like a spreadsheet. Now it has funky spaces all over the place. Sorry. Deal with it.]

Basically, all the items in italics above are items that are NOT pre-packed in our ready-to-roll-with-the-punches suitcase (simply because I'm likely to use them between now and hopefully-never).

Our suitcase primarily has non-perishable food, disposable items (plates, napkins, cups, etc.), basic cleaning supplies, and rope. (What will I need the rope for? I don't know. It was on a list of recommended items, and I had it, so in it went.) Also, I'll admit that the battery-operated radio isn't technically packed, because I just replaced the battery, and nothing happened. Hopefully that won't come back to bite me...

As far as food goes, the lists recommend about a week's worth of non-perishables. I tried to buy things that don't expire for months and that we wouldn't hate to eat in a pinch.  In the best case scenario, this food will sit around uneaten for the next few months. I joked with KK that we could have a post-hurricane season party, complete with canned goods, pop tarts, granola bars, candles, and bottled water. Exciting, I know.

Along with our personal basic preparations, it's comforting to know that our employers have experience in the hurricane department and have devised plans to deal with the potential chaos that could ensue. If a hurricane is in the neighborhood, there should be frequent communications from them to help us adequately prepare. 

I think the message I'm trying to send is to just have a plan. It might not be perfect, but make some kind of attempt at preparations. In the end, we'll all be here (or evacuating) together, and we'll help each other out.

And now, to dispel a few hurricane myths, as CayCompass clearly cuts through the chatter we've all been hearing at the office/pool/beach:

  1. Leaving your windows shut will not create a vacuum and make your roof fly off. Opening them will just allow water leakage.
  2. Secure all windows and doors, even ones that don't face the sea. Hurricane winds can come from all directions.
  3. Taping your windows with a big "X" is not effective. Hurricane shutters all the way, baby.

What might be most exciting about this whole thing is my new pair of rain boots. (No legit picture yet as they're still en route; you'll have to settle for the stock photo):

Product Image
Scored at

If nothing else, I plan to hit some pretty big puddles in these bad boys, just for the fun of it. Until then, I'll be keeping an eye on any potential hurricane activity on We'll be prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best!


  1. I _love_ chef boyardee raviolis.


  2. You're so on top of things! This is definitely on my to-do list in the next few weeks. AND- you and I officially have the same wellies. We'll have to puddle jump together sometime!

  3. very helpful list! b and i need a date night to come up with our plan. i want rain boots too! i'm hoping to get some when home in july...hope that's not too late...

  4. Also, American citizens can shelter at the Ritz. Wes should have more info if you want to know anything else. Don't forget your water! Oh, and 'high' parking fills up pretty fast!

    I'm coming for a visit July 4 if you're still around and have some free time!

  5. So my question is - what would Nate do without you, Jenn? I really wonder that sometimes - haha. I wonder what his emergency kit would look like if you weren't there to research it out and put it together - lol. Or would he have one at all?? Haha. I think you inherited this research trait from Mom and the whole list thing from Dad :)You GO Parks-Smith! :D

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