|Goodbye awesome beachhouse, sure was nice while it lasted.|
First there was the realization a few days before that we were screwed.
The number one thing you can plan for is to be without power for a very long time. Think weeks. Just the widespread nature of a hurricane makes it so hard for utilities to get around to fixing everyone quickly. So get water and non-perishable foods. Things like peanut butter and bread, crackers, granola bars, nuts, trail-mix. Stuff with protein that you don't have to heat up or add milk to. And get plenty of extra batteries for your flashlights and a crank/battery powered radio would be good. Smart phones are awesome for keeping tabs on radar when the power goes out but use them sparingly if you have no generator to charge them back up with. You'll likely only be able to text, not call out, with your cell phone for awhile afterwards.
If you have a gas grill, make sure you've got propane and store it INSIDE during the storm. Take absolutely everything inside, your plants, your furniture, your grill, your kids sandbox. Everything not nailed down. Several of our neighbors had their wooden playsets destroyed and trampolines were blown clear over fences.
That was hours ahead of the heart of the storm. It got much scarier and you can find a little more video on my Flickr site. We also had this amazing sunset at the start of the storm.
But I really don't want to ever go through that again. Houston was a wreck after Hurricane Ike and it was a hard and slow recovery. I will say though, I was so impressed with the way Houstonites handled everything and helped one another out.
Read more details about my experience:
I really would love it if you'd drop me a comment if you're in Irene's path and what you're doing about it. I'd be happy to answer any questions.