Not everyone will evacuate in the event of a hurricane. Plenty of people stay behind for whatever reason. As with past hurricanes, I will be one of those people who elect to ignore mandatory evacuation orders. Leaving can be dangerous (Hurricane Rita killed 7 people, but 113 died in the evacuation before the storm made landfall), costly (renting hotel rooms in the far north corner of the state that lose power anyway) and frustrating (idling on Highway 27 for 2 days while waiting for the traffic to move 100 yards).
Whatever your reason, should you decide to stay, you need to be prepared, and that means preparing today. Those who wait until the storm is heading for the area will find themselves on a crowded canned goods aisle with 600 other lunatics all fighting over the last can of asparagus. You'll leave the store with only a roll of paper towels to show for your efforts.
What you need is a hurricane box. It's a box full of junk that you'll need during a hurricane. Should one hit, knock out power and communications, you'll be prepared while others will be trying to open a can of beans without their electric can opener.
I have a large Sterilite tote which serves as my kit. You can pick one up at Wal-Mart or the dollar store. Or just get some cardboard boxes and fill them up. Anyway, here's a list of what you can put in there to turn the rough times into an adventure.
Instant brown rice
Campbell's chunky soup
instant mashed potatoes (just add water kind in the small bags)
pre-cooked chicken (preserved in bags)
battery powered radio
roll of quarters
manual can opener
camp stove with fuel
Now you might be asking why one would need cash and quarters. I have experience in the post-hurricane scenario and having cash is a huge help. When a grocery store finally opens up but because of downed communications the credit card machines don't work, only those with cash can shop. And as soon as you can, you'll want to wash some clothes and the commercial laundromat will have power before you do.
The trick to buying these things is to do your shopping when you go to buy groceries. Each time you make a trip to the store, add a few items from the hurricane list to your shopping list. Start with the items that will go first if a hurricane hits, like the canned goods and batteries. From there, get the radio, candles and more food. Work your way down until you're done. If a hurricane moves into the gulf, speed up your purchases.
Soon I'll post again about what to do just before the hurricane makes landfall.