It happens about once per year. A hurricane is on watch. And about every few years, the watch becomes more real, as the track holds steady, and the storms gains in intensity. And so then - we get ready. It's really nothing of a panic - it's pretty old hat for all the people living in this region. Evacuations are rare in our area, just a little south of us in North Carolina they often evacuate a few of the islands there that people live on.
To prepare, about 3 days out - you buy stuff. Water, food, batteries...in the event of power failures you need stuff to eat and drink. You could wait until closer to "go time"...but then there would be no food or water left to buy.
Joaquin hit the Bahamas in full force as a Category 4 - 130+mph sustained winds. And it seems to have changed its course, and is tracking more east - out to sea. Yay. It will likely only be a tropical storm by the time it reaches us.
The last time we had to really "prepare", we did get hit with Hurricane Irene, as a Category 1 (74-95mph winds). We boarded up our house, and my sister was in town visiting us. We didn't lose power in our neighbourhood, though many did. It was basically just a fun time. But the power of wind is NO JOKE. Anything left outside on a porch (a chair, or a rake) becomes a deadly weapon being whipped around by the wind, smashing a window etc. Not to mention tree branches etc.
Those are the more major storms we've experienced in the last 11 years we've been here. We arrived just after Hurricane Isabelle, which hit Va Bch as a Cat 2, and did a lot of damage. Prior to that, the one people around here talk about is Hurricane Hugo (1989, Cat 5).
So while Hurricane watch is something to take seriously, thankfully our area does not suffer often.
This weekend Joaquin will hit, but chances are, in only Tropical Storm force, and we'll enjoy a little at home time, due to flooding in the roads etc. For most, it's likely a bummer that weekend plans are all cancelled throughout the region, but for us it means DADDY'S HOME. Haha. He's still out working today, but I'm guessing/hoping he'll be off tomorrow & Sunday. He's been working on a big project with a big deadline though - so if there's any way that Norfolk is not underwater, I'm sure he'll try to find a way to get there and get stuff done;-) But the kids have grand plans for staying up late, watching movies, and playing Catan...Mom has plans for sneaking in a little extra school work, haha.
We'll update in a few days with pictures from our rainy weekend! Praying for safety in our area, and for all those rebuilding in the Bahamas in the wake of Joaquin's destruction.