8 Items That Disappeared Immediately after Hurricane Harvey

James Walton
By James Walton October 27, 2017 10:59

8 Items That Disappeared Immediately after Hurricane Harvey

There is a parallel between the core basics of survival and those things that nature takes from us in one of these powerful hurricanes. When I think of survival and the very basics, there is shelter, water, food and fire. As the powerful winds and punishing rains of Hurricane Harvey approached Texas people were most concerned with these survival basics.

It was immediately apparent that there were many people unprepared to deal with the aftermath of this storm. Most resources were gobbled up in storm prep and no one really knew when trucks would return to Houston to restock shelves.

The struggle to find resources immediately after Harvey was no surprise to many. Al Green, a Texas congressman, made these comments about the state of Houston from information he gleaned from constituents.

The thing that people most need is security. And when people are not being rescued — people are still waiting to be rescued — that is an immediate need. Just having security. We also have people who have been out in the weather for some time and they need to get themselves properly warmed in a place so that they can have food and proper clothing. So, when people go to shelters, we’re trying to make sure that they get the food and the clothing that they need. People also need to know that at some point we’ll start a recovery, and when that recovery starts, that there will be resources available to help them get housed immediately. I remember going through this with other storms, and sometimes the housing can become difficult to acquire. But housing is important, short-term and long-term housing. Those who have had their property damaged, they need to know that there will be the resources available to them to get repairs. (Source)

Food

Whether people were evacuated from their homes and forced to leave their pantry’s behind or if they were hoping to fill their pantry after the storm, the hurricane cleared shelves of most basic food staples. Many supermarkets were left bare by those preparing for the storm.

The trucks could not traverse the flooded streets of Houston and some stores were suffering from flood water damage. This meant the shelves would not fill anytime soon.

Related: When Grocery Stores Go Empty; A Back Door Shopping Strategy

Water

There is no greater challenge when it comes to hurricane relief than clean water and sanitation. The back-flow of black water as well as the toxic mixture of waters flowing into homes as well as up and down streets. Without proper water storage survivors were left to that which could be found, scavenged or brought by those providing aid.

Many stores were out of water before they were out of food. I talked to one man in Texas who told me that people were buying water before the hurricane and they had no idea why! It was this lack of understanding that just blows me away.

With water you have but three days. Drinking the toxic sludge in the streets could be more of a death sentence than waiting out the dehydration. If your tap is producing water after a powerful hurricane there is no guarantee that it is safe.

Shelter

Following the evacuations, many people were immediately without shelter. Their privacy was taken from them and they were left in a high school gym to contemplate their future. Shelter is always the first thing to go for those who must be evacuated.

For those who dared not evacuate, many ended up alongside those who had following rescue. You cannot will your home to stay on its foundation or not to succumb to the rising flood waters.

Nearly 80,000 homes were affected by Harvey. Along with the damage that was done on the wood and nails of these structures, the Houston area has also taken a severe blow when it comes to real estate prices.

Fuel

The nation took a deep breath when we realized that oil production was impacted by Harvey. There were incredible pictures of gas lines. Cars in four lanes that spanned 20-30 car lengths. This was a gamble in itself because there could be the instance of these pumps running out of fuel before you were taken care of.

Fuel for cars was not the only casualty. Stores that sold 2 cycle oil for things like chainsaws were also swallowed up in flood waters. This meant access to lubricants and mixed fuels was also jeopardized.

Trash Bags

You can never have enough trash bags or ziplock bags” said a survivor of Harvey. (Source)

Local stores of trash bags came under serious stress as evacuation sites were set up all over the region. I know many people who keep a roll of trash bags in their car as well as in their bugout bag. These multiuse bags disappeared fast following Harvey.

Bleach

The people of Houston like many others who have survived the flooding waters of a powerful hurricane are at risk. There are waterborne illnesses all around them, air borne threats from molds and even the mosquito borne risk goes up when due to all the standing water.

When the supermarkets shut down so did the access to bleach. Without bleach your ability to sanitize your living environment and drinking water goes out the window. A good way to get rid of those pesky buzzing blood suckers is to add bleach to those stagnant water pools. This kills the larvae before they can become airborne mosquitoes.

Related: Disinfect Huge Amounts Of Water With Bleach

Tarps, Rope and Plywood

Tarps, rope and plywood were all in short supply even before the hurricane made landfall. This collection of items is example of things you should have on hand long before the hordes head out to buy them.

Following the hurricane these items were unable to be restocked because of the serious flooding. That meant leaky roofs or other damage to homes was postponed until more stock came in.

Enmity

I have never seen racial and social enmity in this nation at such a level as I in 2017. When the storm hit, the water rose and something else seemed to disappear in the wake of hurricane Harvey. I watched people of all races lifting and sharing, helping and giving.

Enmity in the nation also disappeared as desperate neighbors cried out for help. Sloshing through those rising waters we saw the true face of America. We saw the idea of what America should be. People were making sacrifices for those around them. The hurricane forced us out of isolation and I was glad to see we hadn’t lost our ability to be good neighbors.

If you are still expecting the government to bail you out in a natural disaster you must be a blind man. It comes down to learning, practicing and executing a preparedness plan. You must have the tools you need to survive. You need the resources to survive as well.

Don’t wait until the hurricane is blowing by the Bahamas to head out and get the items you need. 2017 has pried open the third eye of the common man. For those still asleep at the wheel I fear they will never be prepared. I feel they will never wake up.

As of October 18th, the Houston reservoirs had discharged all the water from Harvey. This is great news for the people of Houston but we all know those reservoirs will fill again someday. Be prepared.

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James Walton
By James Walton October 27, 2017 10:59
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49 Comments

  1. Wannabe October 27, 12:40

    Great article! Addresses major needs when disaster hits and emphasizes the NEED to be prepared before disaster hits. My sentiments exactly. Think of it this way, what do you use in every day living when things are as they should be? That is what you need to have in reserves. I fill Tupperware tubs with everything I can think of I use on a daily basis. Nails, duct tape, food, toilet paper, feminine products, cleaning supplies, paper towels, camp fuel, charcoal, and the list goes on. Seal them as water proof as possible and keep in a safe dry place. Use if you need to while times are good, rotate stock. Just good wisdom. Thanks again for article

    Reply to this comment
    • JJ October 28, 16:34

      Shoe boxes are $1 now and I once got a shopping cart half full for .50¢ each.
      Stackable, label…efficient.

      Reply to this comment
      • dp October 28, 16:48

        I don’t know what you would use a shoe box for. They deteriorate over time, rats and mice chew through them, not air or water tight, lids would have to be taped down or something, bugs can get into them. I just don’t see a use for them when food grade 5 gallon plastic buckets are $7 with a sealable lid.

        I’d suggest dumping the shoe boxes for something more durable if prepping for disaster is your goal.

        Reply to this comment
        • Goldmerry November 5, 02:35

          JJ probably meant plastic shoe boxes. I have never seen cardboard shoe boxes for sale. These could be useful for storing medical supplies or smaller items on taller shelves. Especially if you are space limited.

          Reply to this comment
          • dp November 6, 11:17

            maybe they were talking about a shoe box sized plastic container. I have never seen shoes sold in anything but a cardboard box, so I just took them at face value.

            Paper and cardboard attracts roaches, moisture, and get moldy if they get wet. It didn’t make sense to use regular shoe boxes for emergency storage… maybe I misunderstood the original post.

            Reply to this comment
  2. Toni October 27, 15:04

    Besides bleach, citric acid and vinegar will change the pH of water to make it inhospitable to mosquitoes.

    Reply to this comment
    • dp October 27, 17:36

      I know that if you have old tires around you can put just a little oil in them to keep mosquitoes away. I am not sure that anything will work when you have a whole city full of standing water areas.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Lynn October 27, 15:52

    My sister is in Tampa during Harvey and was responsible for getting supplies to feed a group of people. She said the first things off the shelves besides food and water was CAN OPENERS!!!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Ceph October 27, 16:12

    I’m sure a lot of people in the Houston area did have a lot of these things stocked up, but it didn’t do them any good. When you are being rescued from your flooded home you can’t take your stockpile with you. You are lucky to be able to take anything at all with you. A stockpile is only good if you can shelter in place safely. Some things are impossible to prep for. Harvey was one of them. Thank God for the people that came from other areas to help them.

    Reply to this comment
    • wannabe October 27, 18:59

      Always good to keep as much as you can in food grade 5 or 6 gallon buckets with the rubber seals. When you get back to your property they should be okay to open up and start using contents.

      Reply to this comment
      • Older prepper October 27, 21:00

        I like this idea. gallon buckets with seals. ^5

        Reply to this comment
      • Illini Warrior October 28, 12:19

        Sorry to inform – the standard 5 gallon bucket – even with a gasketed locking lid – can’t withstand total immersion in water for a more than a few days without allowing leakage past the sealing ….

        Reply to this comment
        • dp October 28, 16:19

          5 gallon buckets are going to tend to float around in a flood anyway. I can’t comment on whether the gasket will leak or not as I haven’t tested this personally, but the 5 gallon buckets from the store seem to seal just fine even with things like oil in them that would tend to seep past a seal anyway.

          I understand that underwater is under pressure, but blanket statements like the above with no verifiable references seem questionable to me unless I have tested it myself.

          Probably some of the best storage containers are 55 gallon barrels. I pick up several every month or two, There are the blue food grade suitable for water that have had flavoring syrup in them, and the metal food grade that have dry goods shipped in them. The metal ones have a lid with a sealing ring. They both cost between $10-$15 each around here used.

          I also use the food grade 5 gallon buckets for things like rice and beans. These dry goods go into individual old water bottles (12-16 oz drinking water) before going into the 5 gallon bucket. This way if a bug gets into one, or it goes bad for another reason it does not ruin all the food in a 5 gallon bucket. Even if the 5 gallon bucket did leak a little the food would be fine being sealed in individual air/water tight bottles.

          These bottles are good for anything small enough to go into and out of the hole that you want to keep dry and package in smaller units… ammo, oatmeal, spices like salt, sugar, and pepper, etc. The 5 gallon bucket keeps them organized and helps to keep mice and rats away from the smaller and thinner plastic bottles.

          It also makes it easy to measure the correct ratio of water to rice – 1 bottle of rice to 2 bottles of water, and each bottle holds approximately on meals worth of rice or beans. Throw a little salt in the bottle with the rice or beans when you are packaging it, and you are set.

          Sorry for the long post, but maybe it will help some folks with their prepping procedures.

          Reply to this comment
          • Illini Warrior October 28, 17:05

            Ever see a bucket of a fluid stored upside down – try it yourself – you’ll learn a thing or two about proper gasketing …

            Reply to this comment
          • Chad C. Mulligan October 29, 03:34

            For small items, Smucker’s peanut butter jars. These seal up so well that you can keep acetone in them indefinitely. I use them for salt and sugar. Keeps them dry and free flowing in humid weather, never cake. Only drawback is that they are glass, so can be broken if handled too roughly. .

            Reply to this comment
            • dp October 29, 04:38

              Chad,
              the glass is definitely better than plastic due to the chemicals leaching our of most plastics over time. I could never get the peanut butter smell out of those particular bottles, and pickle bottles had the same problem.

              I’ve had better luck with just either buying canning jars, or else reusing the ones that my honey comes in.

              Still the glass is better than plastic, and packed into a 5 gallon bucket with some padding breakage is not an issue…

              I have a lot of used water bottles due to providing water to our organization’s events, so I try to re-use them rather than throwing them away.

              Reply to this comment
          • joe October 29, 04:11

            Awesome You are also recycling the bottles! Great post!

            Reply to this comment
          • RJ November 8, 12:56

            Using the small water bottles inside the 5 gallon buckets is a really good idea and I appreciate you sharing it. Thanks and blessings to you and yours…

            Reply to this comment
  5. Frank October 27, 17:07

    I think it’s important that people understand that you can create a survival kit or bug out bag with small items and at a low price if you shop wisely. In your home or apartment you need to stock up on everything you need to stay clean, healthy and well fed. You’ll also benefit from larger tools such as axes, pry bars, tarps, tools to make repairs, and adhesives to fix and reconstruct your home, maintain your vehicles, execute self rescue if you’re trapped in your domicile, and for any reason that comes up requiring a tool box. After all the cool stuff is purchased, food,water, cleaning products, hygiene products, and that mundane stuff is what keeps one going. And if you don’t have it, you’ll miss it terribly.
    I have taken note of people stocking up on toilet paper and trash bags, etc. It’s not clear to the uninitiated and uninformed that they really mean they have MORE than enough for normal times. I hate to use the term “hoard”, but people need to understand their needs will be greater and can easily exceed their normal usage and consumption of what they usually buy. And they can shop all year, taking advantage of sales and coupons. And it is NOT hoarding to buy extra supplies. The stores will order more. Nobody is going to deny themselves whatever they want to buy, so shop and get your stuff before a disaster hits. Forget the judgment of people who can’t see the light and don’t plan.

    Reply to this comment
    • Judy October 28, 02:58

      Buy one or two extra of the necessaries and you will not notice over a year or so and you will be well stocked. Those 5 gallon water jugs are great and can be sealed if to do not keep 35 or 50 gal water storage containers. Those smaller ones are easier to move around and keep fresh if you rotate them. If you have the resources and can rent a small storage unit away from your home in a flood, fire or hurricane safe location you can set up a little stockpile that will be available when your home is gone or your property is not livable and then you can at least have a startup storage A good tent or camping supplies kept there or even a camping trailer is worth the investment for those who live in flood prone areas.

      Reply to this comment
  6. dp October 27, 17:42

    As other people have alluded to, all of the preparation and stockpiling in the world will not help you when the government comes and forces you out of your home at the point of a gun.

    Just another good reason to not live in or near a city.

    Reply to this comment
    • Wannabe October 27, 19:03

      Hopefully you see the writing on the wall before that happens and can hit the road with your stock piles in tow

      Reply to this comment
      • dp October 28, 17:17

        I know that folks like their bug-out bags, but that is a move of desperation and a last resort for me.

        I suggest planning on bugging-in with enough supplies for 6 months to a year minimum with seeds and other supplies to become self sufficient after that.

        If you have to bug out, then try to keep a trailer loaded with as much as you can carry, and have a plan in place well before hand.

        If you have to bug-out on foot that is a disaster – not a long term survival plan.

        Reply to this comment
        • Goldmerry November 5, 02:52

          DP, I agree with most of what you say. I have always thought bugging in would be best unless you are underwater or your house has blown away. I am fortunate that I don’t live in an apartment or in the interior of a city, as I think that in the case of TEOTWAWKI, those would end up being dangerous locations. I really like your idea earlier of using smaller containers inside a five-gallon bucket to help keep the varmints out. I also think that you need to stockpile for at least six months, preferably a year. And have a plan to become self sufficient after that. I hope I never have to bug in or bug out, but with the way things are going……

          Reply to this comment
    • Illini Warrior October 28, 17:06

      Ever see a bucket of a fluid stored upside down – try it yourself – you’ll learn a thing or two about proper gasketing …

      Reply to this comment
      • dp October 28, 17:35

        Yes, I have seen buckets of liquid stored all different ways in over 30 years as an auto mechanic. Generally they don’t leak much if properly sealed. Maybe a little weeping around the gasket if you are talking about oil or hydraulic fluid which tends to penetrate seals anyway.

        If you are that concerned about having a water tight seal, then a little silicone or RTV gasket glue on the seal before you close the bucket would more than take care of it.

        I think that you may be overly worried about an issue that does not really present a problem in real life. Like I stated in an earlier post, put your perishables into individual sealed containers before you put them into the bucket, and you are better off anyway.

        Reply to this comment
    • i October 28, 17:11

      Of course the gooberment or the military with orders to confiscate won’t be intelligent to go to the food source – the farms – according to you they’ll only be door-to-door in the cities confiscating people’s cans of Campbell soup ….

      Reply to this comment
      • dp October 28, 17:43

        One word… Katrina.

        Door to door confiscation, and BTW, it seems that you have never been to a war zone or other disaster where soldiers and rescue workers supplement their “Goobermint” rations by looting the local populous.

        Why would the drive to a farm when there is free food all around them?

        Derogatory comments like yours with no actual experience to back up your conclusions… never mind, go on back to your bubble.

        Reply to this comment
  7. Maggie Magoo October 27, 18:06

    Thank you for your message of hope for ourselves as caring individuals–as well as, of course, the practical. My breaking heart over the state of the enmity that has polluted our country had a healing moment as I read your remarks. What will make us truly great again–One Nation Undivided–will be the rise of our compassion instead of our tempers.

    Reply to this comment
  8. DocJ October 28, 01:17

    I actually wrote a blog post about this after the hurricanes:
    http://drlynnjohnson.com/listening-to-rocks/

    Reply to this comment
  9. PB- dave October 28, 03:02

    Your last point about working together was demonstrated by the folks in Texas. It was amazing to see the newscasts showing neighbors working together. The national reporters couldn’t find stories that they could “race-bait” on the 6 o-clock news, so they moved on pretty fast. Texans from all walks of life pulled together and went from crisis response to clean-up and rebuild mode, in a relatively very short time. New Orleans and PR folks could take a few lessons.

    Reply to this comment
    • dp October 28, 05:49

      There were many folks that made a trip of hundreds of miles from out of state to help their brothers and sisters in Texas, may God bless them.

      Let’s not forget their selfless sacrifice…

      May God bless our Republic, and our People.

      Reply to this comment
  10. Normie October 28, 12:52

    Don’t forget betadine and peroxide, bandages. There are two kinds of bacteria, one needs oxygen and the other one does not, so combining the betadine and peroxide to clean a wound ensures killing which one might be in the wound.

    Reply to this comment
  11. mmercier0921 October 29, 04:01

    The primary tool of survival sits atop your neck, and is made of meat.

    Reply to this comment
    • dp October 29, 04:45

      LMAO… technically is is made mostly of fatty type materials along with nerves/neurons, etc – no actual meat involved… That is unless you are Rob Reiner…

      Not picking on you mmercier0921, just that the whole “meat-head” reference brought up All in the Family flashbacks. lol

      Reply to this comment
  12. TheSouthernNationalist October 29, 20:06

    After reading this article and the comments, it has made me realize that should I ever decide to move to another state or any area for that matter, to do some research on where it is that I plan on moving to.
    Some of the things to look for would be flood history, crime, weather patterns, ect.
    A lot of these problems could be avoided.
    But I do understand not everyone can choose where they live.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Radical And Dangerous October 31, 17:50

    All people that have plans to LOOT , either by Orders from a Superior Officer, Out of Desperation WILL Rethink their plans When the old tired men DECIDE that they are the Turning point of Reason AND Start Mowing Down the Looters in 1 last Act of Selflessness for Family .
    We Have to let them OUR Enemies Know- There will be a cost, and They WILL PAY for their Actions. Then it becomes too much to lose, with little to gain.
    If you are old like I am , DECIDE TO DIE so family can live, My Uncle Sam spent lots of Money Training me To Survive, But My Heart Demands sacrifice For My Family & Loved ones. May God Bless America, & May God D*** Our Enemies Both Foreign and Domestic .

    Reply to this comment
  14. DocJ November 1, 03:11

    Radical and dangerous has a point, but I would like to shape it somewhat. As I said in my Listening to Rocks blog (linked above), if you are needy and come to me, I will give you of what I have. It is not a duty, it is a privilege to help those in need. I think I made that point clearly.

    On the other hand, if you come demanding, then you are a robber, and I have an obligation to stand my ground and protect, for my family , and even for my unprepared neighbors, what is mine, and I have an obligation to be thoroughly prepared to accomplish that. I was also trained and I have tools and a willingness to use them.

    Let us not be selfish if the bad times come. Let us help all whom we are able to help. Who is to say that God won’t honor what we do and the meal and the oil will not run out? (That’s for those of you who have read the Whole Bible!) On the other hand, thieves and robbers are destructive to any righteous nation and cannot be tolerated.

    Reply to this comment
    • dp November 1, 07:05

      Doc,

      I like the way that you think. I revisited your site and bookmarked. I have a feeling that once I have looked around a bit that I may be subscribing as well.

      Reply to this comment
    • Wannabe November 13, 16:19

      Just be very selective and careful to whom you share with. Vent the individuals, get to know them a little and their situation. Disclosing your stores too soon can be costly to you and your family if the wrong person plans an attack. Just good wisdom.

      Reply to this comment
  15. dp November 14, 07:35

    wannabe,

    I would hesitate to share stores with strangers at all in a long term situation. My biggest problem will be friends, neighbors, etc, that have been warned for years to prepare for what is coming.

    I can’t stockpile food for 2-3 families that have nothing to offer, and think that I am going to feed them for months on end.

    Short term is a different story. Probably, the best way to do it is to provide actual meals only for those who are going to contribute to the general welfare. People are useful when watches need to be set, repairs made, or supplies scavenged.

    Each individual needs to be vetted and assessed – you are correct about that. Hopefully, you already have a network of people that are preparing, and are trustworthy.

    Even the friendliest neighbor will try to kill you for your food if their kids are starving…

    Reply to this comment
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