Thinking on Hurricane Harvey

Twelve years ago, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I wrote two article for the North Texas e-News detailing how banks and governmental agencies protect your data. This usually involved backing up computers and taking data off-site each day. Given the growth of the internet, cloud-based services, and privacy concerns, these options have probably been tweaked, hopefully for the better. 

But I didn’t address the issue of what I would take in such an emergency. Where I live is not prone to hurricane activity, but tornadoes. Given the latter, I’d have maybe five minutes to decide what to haul with me to the basement, which I, unlike most of my neighbors, have. My first thoughts: my cats and my electronics–computer, iPhone, iPad. Hopefully, my purse with my ID. And then we’d grab a bottle of wine from the rack, locate the corkscrew and have a drink as the storm raged overhead. 

But what if I had five hours? What would I take then, and in a car, not to the basement? What if I were fleeing a natural disaster? 

Would it be like packing for a trip and hence, clothes for a week? Medicine, which I can see I didn’t grab in my five minute haul. Still, the cats and computers, my purse for sure this time. Any jewelry I value. Cash on hand. Staple food. I buy fresh produce so we’d be reduced to canned tomatoes. The ice chest with something in it. Ice. Water. Wine. Paperwork. The articles twelve years ago suggested taking the last bank statement. Insurance papers? We may be a cloud-based society now (which is why I didn’t grab all the photo books), but it might be handy to have actual paperwork in hand for bank and insurance purposes. 

I’m looking around my study: so full of things. Replaceable things. Yes, I’d like to have my Bernina, my KitchenAid mixer. My great-aunt’s table and chairs. But, replaceable. 

What would you take? Does a disaster like Hurricane Harvey in Houston prompt you to think what if?

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