Top Ten Things Not to do During a Storm


Stock photo. Not a picture of the three-day storm

The inspiration for this list is a recent three-day storm here in Texas. Although I had enough sense not to do these things, they did come to mind as I was going through the various circumstances.

Top Ten Things Not to do During a Storm

10 If you are in a storm, do not decide to drive around to check out the damage. If you do, at best you may find yourself stranded by high water. At worst, you might be trying to explain to the nasty looking guardsman why you didn’t heed the warnings to stay inside. (You have to wonder if that rifle has real bullets)

9 If you are in a storm, do not call the electric company to report a power outage. If you do, at best you will be on hold for hours. At worst, you will be reminded that the entire grid is down and asked the embarrassing questions designed to point out the dark all around you. (Never thought to look out the window huh?

8 If you are in a storm, do not rush your grocery store for a month’s worth of food and water. If you do, at best you will be in the company of your hysterical neighbors. At worst, you will find yourself in a primal fight over a roll of toilet tissue with Shultz, who is the county cow tossing champion. (And you almost wrestled it away before you blacked out)

7 If you are in a storm, do not ignore the weather warnings. If you do, at best you might be surprised at how fast things come at you. At worst, you might be challenged to swim for safety with only a duckie ring as a flotation device. (And you read on the duckie that it is not to be used as a flotation device. What’s that hissing sound?)

6 If you are in a storm, do not try to move through the darkened house without a flashlight. If you do, at best your shins will take a beating on the furniture you fall over. At worst, that candle you lit will somehow fall into the pile of newspapers you left in the living room last night. (And guess how long it will take the fire department to reach you?)

5 If you are in a storm, do not keep driving in the heavy rain. If you do, at best you will stress out to the maximum. At worst, your car might be invisible to that giant 18 wheeler behind you with the devil himself at the wheel. (It must be the devil given the recklessness of the driving)

4 If you are in a storm, do not think all your emergency gear takes the place of common sense. If you do, at best the gear may not fully perform. At worst, you will think you will be able to ride out the storm only to change your mind two minutes after it is too late. (That wall of water is called a Tsunami)

3 If you are in a storm, do not think you need to go outside to fix something in the middle of wind and downpour. If you do, at best you will get very wet. At worst, you could find yourself being carried away along with some your neighbor’s roof shingles. (You might be able to turn around in a mile or so.)

2 If you are in a storm, do not think a quick dash to the mailbox doesn’t require wet weather outer gear. If you do, at best you will need a bath and hot cocoa to thaw out. At worst, the chill you received on the jaunt turns into something that keeps you in bed for a week. (And what you are doing cannot be remotely described as enjoying yourself.)

1 If you are in a storm, do not think you have to brave the elements to get to work. If you do, at best you will show up, and no one else will be there. At worst, you will have battled the storm for hours and once you get there all questions about your judgment skills will be answered. (And you thought you were indispensable)


  1. During aftermath of “The Great Storm” of ’87 (a hurricane that flattened much of the South-East of England, including East Sussex, where I lived at the time) a friend of mine decided to heroically attempt to get to work after finding his ten mile bus journey interrupted by numerous fallen trees blocking the road. He walked the last half of the route, clambering over splintered trunks and smashed fences like some sort of middle class men’s fashion retailer reinvented as Indiana Jones, only to discover that practically the entire town was closed for business when he eventually arrived.

    1. I experienced that storm myself! What a night. Walking around London the next morning was like being in a post-apocalyptic movie…

      1. It was extreme. I was walking to work the following morning and had to jump over a sheet of steel cladding that had blown off an industrial unit and was flying along, about three inches above the ground, to prevent it cutting my feet off at the ankles.

      2. Whoa. Good thing you could jump.

      3. Whoa! Sounds like you’re light on your feet!

      4. It was pure reflex. I heard a noise behind me, turned and saw it acc just jumped. It went straight under my feet

      5. Amazing. Look at the degrees of separation here.

    2. Yes this is the usual payoff for such gallantry. 🙂

  2. I was glad to see that a certain bunch of folk in Austin took heed of number five on Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday morning.

    1. Most everyone took heed.

  3. Always somebody that breaks these rules in every storm. Though I know we call the power company right away to leave a message about the outage. They have a ‘squeaky wheel’ system at times, so people shout to get higher on the list.

    Sad thing about #1 is that I had a job in the past where we were encouraged to come in during bad weather. Especially snowstorms. It wasn’t blatant, but they did the ‘try to come in during the storm’ rule. A few times I actually made it in and ended up being one of three people in the office. Not fun and no rewards for stupidity.

    1. I lived in Indiana a while ago and did the heroic drive to work. I was in a whiteout and drove into a ten-foot drift over the road. I was trapped in the car since I couldn’t open the doors. Lucky for me a farmer saw me drive by and got his front loader and dug me out. My car was there for four days.

      1. Yikes. Glad you got out of that okay. You always hear about people who weren’t so lucky. Thank god for observant farmers.

      2. He said to his wife, “There goes that city fella fixin’ to get himself killed.” His wife told me over a cup of hot coffee.

      3. Ha! Gotta love the honesty.

  4. Great list John. #10 needs to be repeated during every snow storm in Connecticut, especially to the people who think you should be able to get to work.

    1. I know. I had an office overlooking I95 in Norwalk CT and could watch the bumper cars in action.

      1. I95? Wow, I don’t even like that road on a bright sunny day.

  5. ” do not think all your emergency gear takes the place of common sense”

    Always read the fine print on your equipment, you know, the small paragraphs written under the bold and italicized word: MORON.

    1. I love this comment. Thanks.

  6. HA! Thank goodness for your intro — I admit i cringed when I saw the list title. 😀
    Back in the bad old days i had a boss (groan yes… another bad boss…) who demanded I do the #1 on your list. There was a hurricane that made it so far inland that it took out all the traffic lights in the north GA city where I lived then. I went through 37 miles of my commute in that because they company didn’t call anybody. They had a guy waiting at the unopen office to turn folks back. Then i struggled through the 37. By then there were enough people on the streets, in the traffic light free for all that I felt lucky to get home with my skin intact.
    Shortly after I got home the office called, demanding that I come in. I said “Sorry. I’m washing my hair.” LOL

    1. Great story Teagan. Too many times folks have tried to come in only to reach a closed office. I love the washing hair excuse.

  7. John, your list takes me back to when I lived on the Miss. Gulf Coast and weathered a few horrendous storms myself. Not fun!! And why, pray tell, does a dog insist on going outside on a leash to potty during the height of Mother Nature’s fury?? No way he’d go out by himself, ha!

    1. I had to shove our dogs off the porch and then they would only tinkle. I put on rain gear and took them on a leash and all was fine. The rain was quite warm so they had a good time.

  8. Great list, John! I wish my old boss believed number one. The guilt was unbearable. Loved number eight!

    1. Thanks for the high sign on eight. I know boss guilt is a big one.

  9. I need to get ready for El Niño. Right now.

    1. Yup. Maybe you West Coasters will get something out of it.

  10. You see, you started out on the wrong foot here. Where I live, driving around to check out the damage is the second favorite pastime. The first of course is to film said storm (usually the large twisty kind) while it barrels toward you.

    1. Ha ha ha. I can see it now. Thanks for the laugh.

  11. Great advice! Although I have to admit to DOING 2. & 6. a couple of times… No more. Stay safe, dry and warm. 🙂

    1. It is a beautiful day today so all is well.

  12. All good tips. Ha, I’ve done #1, dumb, I know, and very wet. But as it turned out, I had a lovely time sitting in the restaurant on the top floor drinking tea and chatting to the owner about his home in Venice. 😀

    1. Thanks Kim for the reblog.

  13. As we move toward winter, you’ve reminded me how people react to the potential snow … especially regarding the approaching snow …. I call it the White Death …. and all the craziness for an inch or two.

    1. I know right? Used to live in Chicago area and was almost panic city with each forecast.

      1. And Chicago residents have much more reason to panic than Cincinnatians.

  14. I need to print this out and keep it somewhere, given our propensity for storms. I hope you and your family weathered the recent storm without damage.

    1. We did. Thank you.

  15. Fun-ny. These are terrific and every single one is sensible. I especially like the last line in brackets you’ve added as I’ve mentioned before. Adds extra dry humor. I enjoy this addition. 🙂 😀

      1. You are more than welcome! 🙂

  16. Haha! Loved your list. Our whole family loves to watch storms from the front porch or the garage, We’ve had 5 lightening strikes at two different homes. It always struck on the same spot, and then went through the wiring throughout the house. Weird to hear it popping inside the walls and watching things either melt at the electric sockets or blow out of them and across the room. Needless to say, our electronics didn’t fare too well. It always came into the TV and spread from there. We kept having the TV repaired, along with everything else. Finally, I realized it was the TV that was attracting the lightening, so we replaced it. Problem solved.

    1. WOW. Some story. Good thing it’s fixed.

  17. Wasn’t there a song that had “Lightning is striking again and again and again and again” as part of the lyrics?

    1. Yes. I remember that song but can’t think who sang it.

  18. I needed to see this list! We had plans to go to Columbia, South Carolina at the outset of our road trip. My nephew and his family lives there. He had been politely warning me of the torrential rain and road closings over the weekend, but I was in denial until the Monday morning we were to leave. Then I saw news footage of the flooding and realized that even IF we could make to my nephew’s house, he didn’t need to be entertaining anyone. We detoured to Chattanooga instead. The good news is my nephew’s house was high and dry and they didn’t have to evacuate, but the devastation around the area was profound. As for number 1, too many times I’ve had to go into work in spite of hurricane warnings even though I’m a “nonessential” employee. Not fair 😉

    1. Not fair at all.Thanks, Marie.

  19. Good tips for any storm but only a hurricane comes to my mind. We escaped another year so far!

    1. Knock wood 🙂

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