Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Oh my!

This past week, east coasters experienced some highly unusual weather.  First, an earthquake that was felt clear up to Canada and then hurricane Irene storming through with a tornado watch added on.  I do hope that you, all your friends and loved ones are safe, your power is back on, and that you experienced minimal (if any) damage to your homes and property.  A native New Yorker, I don't think I ever appreciated our great fortune of being spared by natural disasters as I do now.  In fact, everything seems to have been put into a much clearer perspective after thinking that everything you own could be swept away in a moment's time.

Being able to survive a weekend that could have been so much worse, losing a little power, some food in the fridge, hot water, and access to TV and electronics for a couple days seem like trivial inconveniences.  I realized during the earthquake that the only important thing to save, was in fact life.  The thought of saving anything besides yourself doesn't even come to mind for a second (and I mean, possessions like clothing, furniture, artwork, heirloom hand-me-downs, paperwork, etc.).  I couldn't believe how selfish my first reaction was.  When standing in your hallway and everything around you begins to shake and rattle, you just want to get out as soon as possible (hoping you're fully clothed when it happens).

A view from my window the morning after the rain.  The Hudson River and the NJ Palisades across.

With hurricane evacuations and worst-case-scenarios being talked about, you can just hope that you won't be in harm's way.  Some things that I learned if you should ever be in a similar predicament is to do the following:

--If you normally park your car on the street, before a storm hits, find a relatively safe place away from tall trees
--They say to fill your bathtub full of water in case your water supply gets shut off.  I found that my bathtub stopper doesn't work... so investing in a plastic stopper would be wise just in case.  Having extra water would come handy for washing and for filling up your toilet to flush.
--Keeping ice in your freezer if the power should go out.  Any freezer-safe pie dish or bowl can be filled up with water ahead of time, even ziploc bags (although mine were imitation and leaked water right away)
--When stocking up with food and batteries, do not forget toilet paper to your list.  Also, if your power goes out, it's pretty pointless to have tons of raw meat or poultry in your fridge unless you remove and cook it right away.  Try to load up on bottled water, canned food, and fruit/vegies instead of anything that has to be refrigerated if possible.
--If your power goes out, but you have a gas stove -- you can still cook!  Just turn your dial on and use a match, and voila!
--Taping up your windows was a big thing here in NYC.  Although, I'm sure that using wimpy tape like blue painter's tape is also totally pointless.  I would stick to industrial grade duct tape or gaffers if you must.
--Having copies/scans of all your important documents saved onto a cd (IDs, medical records, taxes, etc.)
--Having a back up or two of anything important on your computer
--Having a stash of cash on handing case you need to just get up and go
--Having a plan B in case you must evacuate or your power does go out -- it's really great to have friends or family you can go to in these types of circumstances.  (Thanks B&J!)

If you have any tips or advice you would like to share so we can all be more prepared in-the-case-of-the-case there's a next time, we would be so appreciative.  Best wishes to all!