How to Hack a Hurricane

Not really hacks, but hopefully these tips will help you make the most out of a crappy situation.


  1. You cannot have too many gas cans.  Believe me – if you wait four hours in line for gas, you want to get as much as you can carry.  I had four two gallon cans and it just wasn’t enough.  Between the generator sucking gas and the car sucking gas (remember, in a post-hurricane situation you will be driving around a lot looking for food, gas, etc) – you’ll go through gas.  I bought about 16 gallons a day – four gallons a day I gave either to the older couple across the street or the cop across the street.  The older couple couldn’t get around that well and the cop was working so many hours he didn’t have time to find gas.  I bought two more 2 gallon cans as soon as I could find them – about ten days into the power outage.  I literally saw an Auto Zone semi pulling up to an Auto Zone store and followed him until I could ask the driver if he had gas cans.  When he said he did I immediately went to the checkout line and got in place.  You really can’t have to many gas cans!
  2. For 24-48 hours after a hurricane it may be impossible to find any gas at all.  Even stations that still have gas (after the mad rush to stock-up before the storm) most of them won’t have any power for the pumps.  Once power comes back, or they get generators hooked up the lines will be huge – but look over there – the Premium lines are short!  Go to the Premium lines – it’s worth the extra 15 cents a gallon, and by the time you wait for hours for Regular they may just run out of it.
  3. Help your neighbors every chance you get.  The next storm you might need the help.
  4. If you find a restaurant open (for us it was a Domino’s on the corner of Babcock and Palm Bay roads in Palm Bay, Florida) – buy a lot more that you can eat.  Drop some off at neighbors – even if you don’t know them.  In my experience the food is cheaper during a hurricane – Domino’s was charging below fair market price for pizzas, but they were only cooking large cheese only.  The lines were huge.
  5. Thank every public servant you see on the street – from the cops to the tree trimmers, trash, water and especially the power crews.  Chances are these guys came from far away to help, and they are working unreal hours.  Oh – and the soldiers on the street corners with their M-16s.  Be nice to them as well.  Why?  Because we got our electricity on two days earlier than we might have because I gave a few bottles of water to a line crew.  I didn’t ask them for anything in return – but they certainly returned the favor!
  6. Buy a generator that’s big enough to power your refrigerator, a windows A/C unit, a television, your cable modem and a lamp or two.  Bigger generators burn more gas (see item 1 above!). 
  7. If you have a pool use that water to bath with – chances are it’s warm (if you are in Florida during Hurricane season it will be).  It also has chlorine, so it’s going to stay “clean” longer.
  8. Have a plain old fashioned TV antenna ready.  Cable TV might be out for weeks, but you’ll be able to get over the air broadcasts.  DO NOT put it up until after the storm!
  9. Toilet paper is useful.  Have enough of it!  Also, baby wipes are wonderful when you can’t take a shower.  They are at least refreshing!
  10. You can’t have too many gas cans.


  1. AH! You have shares in a gas can manufacturer.. I get it now!

  2. Hah – I’m trying to get you to buy more gas cans!


  3. What are you trying to do here?SCARE me?Well.. it worked!