How we prepare for a tropical cyclone in American Samoa

Feb 17, 2020Lifestyle

Talofa friends!

It’s cyclone season in American Samoa, and this weekend has been one for storm preparations at home.

My fiance is still a little traumatized from Cyclone Gita, where we learned that our windows are not weatherproof, and that any storm system coming from the north west will hit our house directly making us more vulnerable to storm impacts.

(And in case you didn’t know, Cyclone Gita was only a category 1 tropical cyclone when it hit American Samoa, but there was so much infrastructural damage to many homes… even for us! Our roof almost came off, water leaked in so we had a couple of holes in our ceiling, and our windows and front door were like a waterfall of rain gushing into our house creating an inch of water all over. And then of course, after the cyclone, we didn’t have power or running water for a few weeks… yeah it was pretty bad for us.)

So, since there are a couple of monsoonal troughs hovering over us with a slight chance of turning into a proper cyclone coming from the north west, we got ready.

How we’re preparing our home for a tropical cyclone:

  • Boarded up the north west facing front windows, and our kitchen window
  • Duct taped around the front door and side windows
  • Collected 3 very big buckets of water for doing dishes/ flushing toilet/ taking a shower
  • Filled up an additional 5 gallons extra drinking water
  • Topped up the fuel on our truck (in case of possible fuel shortage, as has happened in the past)
  • Bought canned food/ groceries that could last us a few days (we are also experiencing a food shortage on the island because the freighter hasn’t been back for over a month)
  • Charged our cellphones, power packs, laptops, e-readers, and other electronics we may need if power went out
  • Got battery operated fans, lots of batteries, candles, a hand crank flashlight/radio, and roofing tape (in case of leaks)
  • Checked functionality of camping stove
  • Moved all our plants from the balcony indoors
  • Took showers before the storm was expected to hit, in case the water went out
  • Got a couple bags of ice for coolers, in case power went out and our fridge got warm
  • Did all our laundry in advance
  • Moved the stand up paddle boards, kayak, motorcycle, and floaties to miscellaneous indoor locations
  • Got the pets’ beds, food, and poop situations sorted
  • Prepared a bail bag for worst case scenarios

 

And with that – we’re ready! Here are just a very few photos of what our house looks like right now.

  • Weather update: the storm never advanced to a tropical cyclone, whew! We’re still in the middle of some heavy winds and rain, but thankfully the forecast shows it will probably subside by tomorrow.

 

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