Preparing for Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence Nearing the North Carolina Coast

 We’ve battened down the hatches in preparation for Hurricane Florence. We’re 300 miles from the NC coast, but remember the damage from Hurricane Hugo in 1989 when it came ashore in Charleston and traveled inland to Charlotte, taking down over 80,000 trees and leaving us without power for a week.

According to the National Weather Service:  Hurricane Florence is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge to portions of the East Coast, and life-threatening, catastrophic inland flooding due to exceptionally heavy rainfall, damaging hurricane-force winds and deadly surf and rip currents this week.

The Category 1 hurricane made landfall at 7:15 a.m. ET near Wrightsville Beach, just east of Wilmington. With its crawling pace, it looks like we should feel the impact of Florence here on Saturday with heavy rain, winds and possible tornadoes.

I’ve made at least a dozen trips to the grocery store this week in preparation for Florence, buying essentials like water, batteries, nonperishable food. Trips number 6 – 12, I blame on watching too much Weather Channel / Florence coverage.  My hurricane essentials on my last trip. . .wine, flowers and heirloom pumpkins that had just arrived at Publix. ;)

We have our water, devices charged, extra batteries for flashlights and battery operated candles. Duke Energy sent out crews this summer to cut trees and limbs threatening power lines. We’re one of three houses on a power line on the edge of the county, so when we lose power with a wide-spread outage, getting it restored is a low priority for the power company.

To keep myself occupied with the power out, I have my Kindle Paperwhite charged with books downloaded, which doubles as a nightlight/flashlight in the dark.

I’m keeping my Kindle (along with my cell phone)  on airplane mode to save power. The Wi-Fi/3G remains active even when your device is asleep with the screen saver on. Just like a cell phone, your Kindle uses more power trying to access a weak signal.


An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.

You can find safety tips from the American Red Cross on Power Outage Safety, HERE.


 I froze some water bottles that will double as ice for coolers and perishable food. You need plastic water bottle that aren’t filled to the very top so the water has room for expansion as it freezes. When it thaws, you have water to drink. Store at least one gallon of water per person per day for three days in cases of emergency. We have more than that on hand as we are on a well, no power = no water.

Here’s a *tasty* and fun nugget of information, have you heard of the “Waffle House Index“?

The Georgia based Waffle House chain operates 1500 locations mainly across the South and along the Gulf Coast, in areas vulnerable to hurricanes, tropical storms and flooding. They’re known for their reliable service, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. FEMA coined the term “Waffle House Index” as a reliable gauge of a storm’s path of destruction. Often after big storms, Waffle House is the only place open, as they have a lot of generators. In other words, if Waffle House is closed, you probably don’t want to be in the area.

Here are two dogs that don’t like getting their feet wet, which should make the next few days interesting.

If you’re in the path of Florence, Gracie & Lola hope you stay safe. ♥

  95 comments for “Preparing for Hurricane Florence

  1. Donna C
    September 14, 2018 at 9:21 am

    Stay safe! Keep us posted! We are all thinking of you.

  2. September 14, 2018 at 9:22 am

    I’ve been thinking about you, Mary. I see that you’re well prepared with all your supplies, and your Kindle ready to read. Prayers are with you. Stay safe with Gracie and Lola! ❤️

  3. September 14, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Thanks, Mary for the update. I have been wondering how things were with you. Stay safe. Praying it will not be as bad as anticipated. You sound prepared. Keep us informed if you can. Prayers for you and all affected.

  4. Gina Buffum
    September 14, 2018 at 9:26 am

    What’s important at your grocery store makes my heart sing!

  5. Gayle Bowing
    September 14, 2018 at 9:27 am

    My prayers to you and all that are in the path of this deadly storm.

  6. Marie in AZ
    September 14, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Take care, Mary. Here’s hoping for the best…

  7. Kari
    September 14, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Stay safe Mary…We went through the exact same procedures one year ago with Hurricane Irma here in SW Florida. We were lucky to have a generator, but just after the Captain sat down to relax after hooking the generator to TV,Computers, AC, Fridge and freezer….our electricity came back on. LOL We were more fortunate than most…so we started helping those with electricity needs by loaning everything we had, from prepared food to water, etc.
    Prayers that no lives are lost.

  8. katwell321
    September 14, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Stay safe! I live in Florida & was without power for over a week last year with hurricane William and in previous storms up to 2 weeks. I am on a grid with about 35 houses that always gets power restored last. Your tips are excellent – I always do the frozen bottle trick as well – it such a perfect solution when no ice is available & you end up with nice cold drinking water. I love your last shopping efforts – can’t have too much wine haha. Thinking of you and hope you weather the storm without much damage.

  9. Kristine
    September 14, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Sending prayers your way! Stay safe!

  10. Barb Zuleski
    September 14, 2018 at 9:32 am

    God bless you all, we are worried for all those in the wake of this storm. Your suggestions and advice are just what we all need to Prepare for whatever weather related problems we are bound to face.

  11. Linda
    September 14, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Stay safe up there. Sent from north central Florida!! Nice to see y’all are so well prepared.

  12. Sue Farmer
    September 14, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Stay safe Mary. Thoughts and prayers for all of you!! xoxo

  13. Ginger Gaubert
    September 14, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Stay safe, Mary! I’ve been praying for all of you! <3

  14. September 14, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Stay safe Mary. You have prepared and hopefully it won’t be as bad as predicted. Praying for all❤️

  15. Lori Carter
    September 14, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Praying for you & all who are in Florence’s path! I love your supplies from the last store run. I do understand about watching the Weather Channel’s storm coverage – there’s a lot of info. I woke up feeling exhausted almost as if I had been prepping for Florence – I went to sleep with the Weather Channel & woke up with it! Thank you for all of the good info you provided in your post. Stay safe along with Gracie & Lola! May the Lord keep everyone safe! Love, hugs & blessings!

  16. Priscilla Shoulders
    September 14, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Stay safe! Thinking of you and praying for safety.

  17. Jane Teague
    September 14, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Sending good wishes that all will be safe with you and those all around you in these hours ahead. Posting so many good tips is so thoughtful of you. We do not always know when emergencies strike, and you never know when your advice might come in handy for someone. You are a good woman, Mary!

  18. Karen
    September 14, 2018 at 9:53 am

    I like your shopping bags filled with all the essentials! . And yes, watching the Weather Channel can make you a little stressed but it encouraged you to be prepared. And you now have a Black Belt on how to prepare for this kind of emergency! Stay safe!

  19. Sue
    September 14, 2018 at 10:02 am

    Will keep you in our prayers Mary. Looks like you’ve made all the preparations…so loved your basket photo 😁

  20. September 14, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Praying that you and yours stay safe, warm and DRY. Good luck. Glad to see you have plenty of water and WINE!.

  21. September 14, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Uuugh my Cavalier King Charles hate getting her feet wet too! Sending prayers and positive vibes so that you are all safe!

  22. September 14, 2018 at 10:09 am

    Stay safe, and I hope y’all don’t lose power!!!

  23. September 14, 2018 at 10:09 am

    The frozen bottle water is a great tip. Looks like you are prepared. We are down near Wilson NC and are now under a Tornado watch. We are getting heavy rain with wind and the worse is yet to come. Praying all is safe! We have huge pine trees behind and side house. Already lost one large limb but thank God missed house. Keep us posted on your safety.

  24. Kathy M
    September 14, 2018 at 10:09 am

    We are as prepared as we can get here in Greensboro.I like your tip about freezing the water bottles. Getting ice can be a problem during a storm. Sometimes I think the bottles water companies sooner the weather channel!! I can only look at so many empty shelves☔ You really made we want to check out Publix for pumpkins. Are you able to save your volunteer gourds? Staying inside is hard on our dogs too.
    Stay safe ,dry and may the power stay on.🌇

  25. Virginia
    September 14, 2018 at 10:15 am

    Mary so glad to see you are prepared, your cart has all the essentials. The stores here were out of ice for two days no deliveries were made so I filled gallon Ziploc bags with water and put in the freezer should we lose power. So far so good here, still have power. The river is up about a foot, not over the dock but surge not predicted until later when we get the back side of Florence. Newborn is about an hour south and the news from there is not very good. Will be thinking of you tomorrow as the storm moves your way. Hope you have puppy pads for the doggies, I don’t want to go outside either.

    • September 15, 2018 at 11:55 am

      Hi Virginia, I hope you’re tucked away safe and staying high and dry. The ziploc bag with water is a great tip❣️💦💨🌊

  26. Pamela McKeown
    September 14, 2018 at 10:17 am

    All the best will be praying that there will be no loss of life material things can be replaced stay safe xx

  27. September 14, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Sending many prayers heavenward (barelling bravely right THROUGH the storms!) for your safety and for all in the hurricane’s path. XOXO

  28. Linda
    September 14, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Praying for your safety and all of those in harms way.

  29. Tricia Miller
    September 14, 2018 at 10:28 am

    I am thinking of you and hope you don’t have any damage- water, wind, or any other. Stay safe and keep those fur babies safe, and I hope they are not stressed. We live in Kansas and our volleyball team was supposed to be in a tournament in Greensboro this weekend. The games got moved up here so UNC Greensboro girls volleyball will be safe in Lawrence, Kansas this weekend.

  30. Linda
    September 14, 2018 at 10:50 am

    A quick tip for fur babies that don’t like the wet. Take a child’s plastic swimming pool, sprinkle the bottom with water, and line it with pieces of sod. Put it in the garage for your babies to use. It will last the couple days of storm time. We went without power 10 days after Irma. Prayers for your safety!

    • September 14, 2018 at 10:07 pm

      I hope all are safe and well! Where are you located? I am in Thomasville NC, and so far it has not been bad here. I have been watching the deer and their babies in our back yard eating the morning glories. 😊☔ I love your site! 💚💋

      • September 15, 2018 at 7:15 am

        Thank you Cheryl, we’re on Lake Norman, not far from you. Just a lot of wind so far, it’s moving so slowly. Take care and enjoy your deer watching❣️🦌💨💦

  31. Patricia Jones
    September 14, 2018 at 11:00 am

    I put my bottled water in the freezer before the storms. It helps to keep my freezer cold and my water cold when the storm comes in and the power goes out. I live on the Gulf Coast so I really feel for you! Stay safe!

  32. Debbie
    September 14, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Prayers with you and your family.

  33. Donna B Oliphint
    September 14, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Praying you just get a nice soaking rain to prepare your property for a fabulous spring. Stay safe and enjoy that last basket of groceries! That little one is too adorable!

    • September 15, 2018 at 11:53 am

      Thank you Donna❣️💦🌻🍷🐾

  34. September 14, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Good luck to you and everyone else affected by this storm. It sounds like you are well prepared. Thanks for reminding us of the Waffle House index. Sending prayers for everyone in Florence’s path.

  35. Kathleen Mahlke
    September 14, 2018 at 11:22 am

    You are well prepared and God be with you.

  36. September 14, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Thoughts and prayers go to you and all in the path of Florence. I remember Hugo…my parents’ home in NC was affected by trees falling in the yard and one almost hitting their house! Please let us know as soon as you can how you fared.

  37. September 14, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Sounds like you are well prepared and good tips for any emergency. Stay safe!

  38. Roberta Ingram
    September 14, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Stay safe. We will be thinking of you.

  39. Sue
    September 14, 2018 at 11:45 am

    Thanks for the “Waffle House Index” info! My husband grew up in Alabama. We travel the south and he always wants to have breakfast at a WH, but I had never heard this. :-)

  40. Susie
    September 14, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    Our hurricane preparations were much more practical–we got CHAMPAGNE and flowers and pumpkins. :D
    Really, that’s all you need, besides some dog food!

    • September 15, 2018 at 11:50 am

      I like your hurricane preparedness Susie! Stay safe❣️ 🍾🥂🌻🐾🐾

  41. Norma
    September 14, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. Stay safe. It looks and sounds like you are well prepared or as well as you can be. Dealing with Mother Nature is sometimes risky. God be with you

  42. September 14, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    I see you are well prepared. It’s important to plan ahead. Once power is gone, one’s life of comfort is greatly reduced. The Waffle House Index is funny. It’s pretty errie when a town shuts down.
    Stay safe and keep those puppy paws high and dry!

  43. Rita C.
    September 14, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Yes, I’ve been thinking of you, Mary! And my sister (also a Mary) stayed put in Beaufort! She will get the storm tomorrow probably. We will probably see the rain into Mon-Tues. The media coverage is a bit overdone IMHO. Nonetheless, I empathize with all those who will sustain water damage and loss. It’s frightening. Take care.

  44. chloe
    September 14, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Hope all remains well in your area and that you do not lose power.

  45. Alice
    September 14, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Lived through hurricane Hazel but not comfortably. Thank you Jesus that Florence was downgraded to a category one. We were without electricity for weeks no running water and our mother had to be hospitalized. We used kerosene lamps and a wood stove and I was 12 and my sister was 16. That Old saying “what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” is very true. Its something I never want to experience again. We were in the eye and after the eye passed the winds were even stronger. I saw building being blown away right in front of my eyes and men holding in the windows to keep them from caving in. We could feel the floor lifting and settling back down. And if you had never prayed you prayed to God to be saved. We are so blessed Florence was downgraded.

    • September 15, 2018 at 10:07 am

      Hi Alice, My mom grew up in Wilson and remembers Hazel. It must have been terrifying before we had all the warning systems we have today. Stay safe❣️💨💦🌊🌪

  46. September 14, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    You are prepared but I’m still worried sick about you and your pups!

  47. Norma Rolader
    September 14, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Prayers sent for all may God wrap his arms around all and keep each safe

  48. Deri
    September 14, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    I will be thinking of you and hope you stay safe. As well as all those others that may be in the storms path. I live on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada and we don’t get hurricanes. But through your wonderful Home is Where the Boat Is that I enjoy so much, you seem like a friend to me. Take care and I will be reading you blog and hope you are safe.

  49. Rhonda
    September 14, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Prayers for safety! I have two children in Columbia and a daughter with a husband and little ones in Charleston. They’ve all been through Florida hurricanes and know the drill. I always felt more comfortable, however, when they were under my own roof that might blow away! Trying to entrust them to God’s care!

    • September 15, 2018 at 10:04 am

      Thank you Rhonda! You’re a hurricane veteran. I hope your loved ones stay safe in the storm❣️💦💨

  50. Melodie Strickland
    September 14, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    I pray that you, your husband and fur babies stay safe as well as any other family in your area.

    • September 15, 2018 at 10:02 am

      Thank you Melodie❣️🐾🐾

  51. September 14, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    🙏🏻🙏🏻 prayers for everyone’s safety! Stay safe!

  52. Kaye Wright
    September 14, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Know you will weather the storm in your usual style. Hoping for sustained power and no damage, though the babies may have to suffer wet feet!

    • September 15, 2018 at 7:44 am

      Thank you Kaye❣️💨💦🌪🐾🐾

  53. Vivian Brossman
    September 14, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Praying for you and all those being affected.

  54. Granny Gay
    September 14, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Hoping that all is going well for you, Mary…

  55. September 14, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    I see you’ve stocked up well Mary:@) Stay safe and take care!

  56. Marion
    September 14, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Prayers for you and all in the path of Florence.
    Marilyn,Joan and Marion

  57. September 14, 2018 at 4:57 pm

    Thinking about you, Mary & praying you & the Mister as well as the pups are high & dry. {{{HUGS}}}

    • September 15, 2018 at 7:41 am

      Thank you Rett, I think about you every time I see a beautiful quilt on Pinterest. I hope you’re sewing up a storm❣️💨🐾🐾

  58. Cyndi Raines
    September 14, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Your shopping cart cracked me up, especially the pumpkins! Gotta love it! Really liked the idea of freezing bottles of water, so smart. Hope your new roof stays put and no damage to it, your house, pontoon boat and no loss of lives for anyone. Glad you are so prepared, smart lady! Prayers being sent for you and all our southern states. Keep us posted on how you are if possible, you know we will all be waiting anxiously to hear. Love ya, girl! And of course those precious fur-babies. God bless!

    • September 15, 2018 at 7:33 am

      Thank you Cyndi! So far just some wind. Florence is moving very sloooowly, but I’m watching the pontoon swing on our lift this morning {gulp}. Hope you’re enjoying some beautiful fall weather in Michigan❣️🍁🌻🐿🎃

  59. Victoria
    September 14, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    Mary. Didn’t read all the comments, so not sure if this was mentioned. I went thru several hurricanes and always filled my tubs with water for extra water for whatever. Stay safe and hope you don’t have too much damage.

  60. Joy
    September 14, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    You are well prepared, stay safe!

  61. Karen
    September 14, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    Stay Safe!

  62. Paula
    September 14, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    Prayers for you !!


    • September 15, 2018 at 7:26 am

      Thank you Paula❣️

  63. September 14, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    Stay safe Mary!!! Your grocery cart looked like mine!!! Wine , flowers and love that Publix has heirloom pumpkins for a great price!!!…We have been fortunate so far that we have not lost our power…hope that keeps up! I can imagine you and the girls with Wellies.

    • September 15, 2018 at 7:25 am

      Great minds shop alike Shirley, glad you have all your hurricane essentials too! Stay safe❣️🌻🍷🍁💦💨🌪

  64. September 14, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Prayers to you, your community, and all those in the storms path. I hope all remain safe and get through this without harm.❤️🙏🏼

    • September 15, 2018 at 7:20 am

      Thank you Ann! I hope you have smooth sailing and calm seas on your lake. 🌞⛵️🚤⚓️

  65. Jan Fusco
    September 14, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    Wishing you and yours the best. Take care. Keep us informed. Prayers for all.

  66. September 14, 2018 at 10:47 pm

    I am not sure you have enough Wine! I love your priorities!

    • September 15, 2018 at 7:12 am

      That made me laugh Gail, thank you 😀🍷💦💨🌊

  67. Sue
    September 14, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    I hope you stay safe.

  68. Granny 35 (France)
    September 15, 2018 at 4:19 am

    Prenez soin de vous et de vos deux petites chéries.
    Bon courage .

    • September 15, 2018 at 7:11 am

      Merci Granny 35 🐾🐾

  69. September 15, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Essentials are a must…and you definitely have the right ones🍷🍷🍷🍷!! We are praying for all along the East coast. A person also needs respect for Mother Nature..after being hit by two tornadoes, my respect for Mother Nature increased immensely…therefore, when the sirens go off or the weatherman says get to a safe place, we do it!! Safety also for those two precious fur balls!! Will be thinking of you! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🌊💨

    • September 15, 2018 at 10:01 am

      Thank you Ellen❣️🍷💨💦🐾🐾

    September 15, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Good luck and God Bless…will be in my prayers…from Florida.

  71. September 15, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Been thinking about you all day, hoping all is well in your Household!

  72. Cristy Bennett
    September 15, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Thinking of you and yours. Please stay safe.

  73. Cookie
    September 16, 2018 at 12:31 am

    Thoughts and prayers for safety. Take care.

  74. Cindy Bellwood
    September 16, 2018 at 4:14 am

    Stay safe! Don’t believe the weather channel all the time. They like making everything sound worse than it really is. I caught one of the reporters and I put it on facebook acting like he just could hardly stand up and two kids walked normal behind him. Now I have NO faith in the weather channel. Please be careful! Prayers for you all.

  75. Peggy Bryant
    September 16, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Prayers for all in her path.

  76. September 16, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Thinking of you this morning as we are getting the brunt of the remnants of Florence, still quite a lot of rain will come today and likely into tomorrow. We are also rural, and not a priority for the power co, so a few years ago after a 5 day stint with no power (and no water as we also have a well), we put in a big generator. Now at least I’ll be able to cook on small appliances, have coffee, have water, and be able to sew if it goes out. Stay safe, and sending good thoughts to everyone affected by Florence.

  77. Michele
    September 17, 2018 at 8:19 am

    Prayers for your family, neighborhood and everyone involved.

  78. September 17, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Hope you are safe, and dry—or at least above water. Great tips for all…for emergencies.

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