As Hurricane Michael continues to strengthen in the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 storm, those who have faced catastrophic weather events are turning to social media to search for — and resurface — tips that may be useful as dangerous weather hits the Florida coast.
Millions of Americans are preparing for the hurricane, particularly those who live in Florida, which is in the storm’s path. Michael is also expected to dump up to a foot of rain in some surrounding areas in Alabama, Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas — which were recently slammed by Hurricane Florence.
Floridians have been told to prepare for anything — from life-threatening storm surge to power outages and other major damage caused by hurricane-force winds.
Ahead of Florence last month, people turned to social media to share “pro tips” to help them during the storm. The Gold Hill Volunteer Fire Department in North Carolina posted a list of 45 hacks and tips on Facebook ahead of the storm. The post went viral with nearly 5,000 shares, though the department clarified it “cannot guarantee they will all work.”
Here’s a look at some of those useful household hacks you may want to consider using in advance of Hurricane Michael’s landfall.
Freeze Ziplock bags with water
Officials recommend filling several Ziploc bags three-quarters full of water and placing them on top of one another in your freezer. The water will turn to ice and therefore keep your freezer cool if your refrigerator loses power. Plus, when the ice melts, you’ll have a plethora of drinking water available.
The Gold Hill Volunteer Fire Department also notes you can freeze water inside empty 2-liter bottles or milk jugs.
Use a washing machine as a cooler
The U.S. First Responders Association reposted a classic hurricane hack: using your washer as a cooler.
The non-profit recommends filling your washing machine with ice and using it to keep your drinks and other perishable items cold in case you lose power during the storm. The water should drain out as the ice melts.
“Make sure you unhook all the lines from your washer so water/sewage back up isn’t a problem,” the association warned.
Freeze a cup of water with a quarter on top
For those evacuating their homes, a woman from North Carolina recommended freezing a cup of water and then placing a quarter on top and putting it in the freezer.
“That way when you come back after you’ve been evacuated you can tell if your food went completely bad and just refroze or if it stayed Frozen while you were gone.”
“If the quarter has fallen to the bottom of the cup that means all the food defrosted and you should throw it out,” she continued. “But if the quarter is either on the top or in the middle of the cup then your food may still be ok,” she wrote.
Create your own “soft glow lights”
If you lose power, there’s another way to light up your house without turning to candles. Instead, tape flashlights or headlamps to a water bottle or milk jug to illuminate a room with “soft glow lights.”
“Safer than candles and smaller batteries than some lanterns use. Also stock up on batteries,” the U.S. First Responders Association added.
Fill your bathtub up with water
Hurricane experts have continued to use this trick while facing tropical storms through the years. Many suggest filling your bathtub up with water before a storm hits. The water can then be used for cleaning, drinking or flushing toilets if power is down for an extended period of time.
“Sanitize the sinks and tubs first by using bleach. Rinse and fill with clean water,” the National Weather Service advises.
If you’re able to, officials recommend lining your tub with a plastic tablecloth or paint drop sheet to ensure the water stays clean.
Hurricane experts recommend filling your bathtub up with water before a storm hits. (AP)
Florida resident Karyl Niemi suggested using a pot cover to make sure your bathtub drain stays sealed.
Make your own “hurricane dog potty”
With hurricane-force winds and heavy flooding, it may be difficult to take your pooch outside. Therefore, you may want to consider creating your own potty using a baby pool or other item and some grass.
Show your dog where to go and voila.
“If you do not have a baby pool you can put plastic bags flat on the ground as well,” Florida resident Steve Brandt recommended in a hurricane preparedness Facebook group back in 2016.
Patriot K-Nine, LLC Dog Training, a group located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, suggestedbuying pieces of sod and a kiddie pool, placing it in the garage during the storm.
“NEVER** let dogs off leash into the yard during a storm! Dogs can get easily spooked during hurricanes and may take off, scaling even a large fence. Also, fences and gates are easily knocked open/over during hurricanes. Keep your pets safe and secured. DO NOT take your pets outside during the height of the storm, it’s especially dangerous for you and them when debris is flying,” the group warned.
Alexandra Deabler and The Associated Press contributed to this report.