Being a native Florida girl, I have ridden out many a hurricane in my day. My Mom kept hurricane supplies stocked all storm season long in a special cabinet.
The first hurricane I ever remember was when I was about 3 years old. My family’s small home, which my parents still live in, is just a few feet above sea level right on the water in North Pinellas county in West Central Florida.
I remember like it was yesterday huddling with my family with the power out in a darkened room while the wind howled for hours on end like thousands of ghosts as my father and mother prayed the roof would hold.
I also remember asking my mother if I could go outside with my little umbrella so that I could fly like Mary Poppins.
Fortunately, that Cat 3 storm with 120 mph winds came ashore south of us so the storm surge never came and our home and perhaps even our lives were spared. In hindsight, our family should have evacuated but back in the 1960’s most folks chose to ride out the storm and stay in their homes to protect the homestead.
The last hurricane I rode out was in 2004 when I was just a couple of months pregnant with my daughter. The stress from that particular storm was high and we were without power for close to a week during very hot and humid August days which added to the misery. I remember thinking that this poor baby I was carrying who was no doubt being flooded with my stress hormones would end up being a nervous wreck. As it turns out, my daughter is one tough little cookie and not much at all seems to faze her. Perhaps riding out her first hurricane before she was even born contributed to her steely edge.
Since I lived my entire childhood and most of my adult life in a hurricane prone area, learning to stock hurricane supplies in a storm cabinet is a skill I learned very early and a practice I have continued to this day.
I keep hurricane supplies stocked all year long as it comes in handy if the power goes out for any reason not just because of a bad storm.
I don’t stock snackie foods of any kind as boredom eating can easily take hold in those hours or even days without power and overconsumption of these foods can lead to grumpy kids which is not helpful during such a time of increased stress.
I really focus my hurricane supplies on foods that will nourish and fill you up with just a few bites if necessary.
In my experience, you really need less food than you think during a hurricane, so if you focus on the nourishing foods, an adequate hurricane supplies cabinet really doesn’t require that much space.
Hurricane Supplies in My Emergency Cabinet
If you’d like to check out the specific brands of many of these items listed below that I am currently using, check out my Shopping Guide. Note: I re-check ingredients and update this list frequently as sometimes, manufacturers can change things for better or for worse over time!
- MSG free beef and buffalo jerky
- Pemmican, the Power Bar of the Native Americans for centuries. Can be stored for years!
- Canned red salmon
- Tins of sardines packed in olive oil
- SPAM (one of the few canned meats that doesn’t contain MSG)
- Dried apricots
- Dried prunes
- Yogurt covered goji berries
- Dried mango
- Dried pineapple
- Soaked/dried almonds
- Soaked/dried cashews
- Soaked/dried pecans
- Soaked/dried pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Popcorn (for popping on the barbeque pit)
- Peanut butter
- Sunflower butter
- Raw honey
- Coconut butter
- Cod liver oil
- Paper plates/plastic utensils
- Plenty of jugs of water
- 7-8 gallons of kombucha (brewing all the time .. doesn’t need refrigeration)
- Bottles of oil for the hurricane lamps
- Bags of charcoal for the barbecue
- Both cars tanked up with gas
- Wind up radio
Of course, it is important to have a source for cooking when the power is out. I have jugs of frozen water in our spare freezer so if the power goes out, everything stays nice and cold for several days. If stuff starts to thaw, you start cooking on the outdoor barbecue or firepit while you wait for the lights to come back on.
In my experience, this list will easily last you a few days to a week without power. If the power is going to be off longer than that for a very severe storm, it is best to seek another location until normalcy is restored.
What hurricane supplies do you stock in your storm cabinet?
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sarah Zarling via Facebook
Glad you’re okay!
I just moved from FL 3 wks ago to PA and was hit with Sandy! We live in the country so not only were we left with no power for 9 days but we, also, had no running water because we have a well. Since we have a propane stove, we still had a way to cook (just the oven does not work in a power outage). I want to add that you have no idea just how much water you will use. Figure out how much you think you will need, and triple it! A high quality water filter will be a must to save for. We have the Delaware River and a few creeks around just in case the outage was worse but without a way to filter it all, it is useless. I made a few loaves of bread, muffins for the kids and granola. Oats are a pretty good thing to have on hand. I put them in a bowl to soak in the evening and they cooked up very quickly the next morning so I did not have to use too much propane on that meal. I, also, have on hand some dehydrated veggies that I could throw in a pot to make a soup. Thru this, I learned, too, that it is a good idea to keep up on the laundry! It was cold so we were going thru socks and such quickly and the piles were adding up. Cash, as another reader stated, is a must. We have a local country store that opened and was dealing in cash only. And please, fill up those car tanks! I was so happy we did because the lines at those gas stations afterwards was insane!
In the end, I learned a lot about what to add/change to my list. And if all we lost was power and running water, we were lucky! So many people lost so much thru this storm. God bless them!
Although Spam doesn’t have MSG, it does have ham. In all likelyhood, there’s MSG in the ham. (or natural flavor, hydrolized protein, etc etc etc.) FYI for those sensitive to MSG. MSG doesn’t have to be listed if it’s in the ingredients.
I think it was when Charlie (or one of the hurricanes that hit in 2004, I lost track after the 2nd one) hit when we lived back in Tampa that I cooked a 5 pound meatloaf on the grill to use up the rest of the meat and eggs in the fridge. The neighborhood I evacuated to was out of power for a week, but my house when I came home was just fine (minus part of the roof) and the power had never gone out because the clocks were still set properly. Irony there.
All this talk about Spam made me curious and nostalgic, so I bought and ate half a can last night right out of the can (I know, it is supposed to be for emergency use only). Husband was perplexed and asked that I never serve it to him (he has never tasted it in his life). But it was very satisfying and I will include some in our emergency rations. When he is sick of canned salmon, Spam might win him over.
I noticed different varieties of Spam at the store including Spam Lite and Low Sodium Spam. The original appeared to have the shortest ingredient list.
Sarah, would you include pressure cooker home canned meats for emergencies?
Lisa Marie Lindenschmidt
Spam?! REALLY?! This blew me out of the water. Your entire list is so well-thought-out… and then there’s the Spam. Who knows where those animals come from? And what about all those chemicals in Spam? After all you’ve been touting, I find this inclusion bizarre.
Great list! Thanks for sharing. After nearly losing a bunch of meat in our freezers from losing power from the derecho (land hurricane) my area experienced this year, I canned some of the chickens in the freezers and hope to do more. Canned chicken doesn’t taste as good as freshly cooked, but at least it keeps and is ready to eat when the power goes off. I’m hoping to learn how to can other kinds of meat so I’m not so dependent on the freezers and it’s ready to eat during power outages or when I need a quick meal.