International Student Gives Tips for “Hurricane Virgins”

Graphic by Anabelle Torres

Maria Lago/Staff Writer

Experiencing a hurricane can be stressful and chaotic. You never what the outcome is going to be, and it is even more terrifying when you come from a country that doesn’t have hurricanes.

I’m from Brazil and we do not have any type of natural disasters, no hurricanes or earthquakes. When I arrived in Miami and saw dorm rooms with hurricane-proof windows, I knew it was something serious. But don’t fear! It is not possible to control the weather but you can be prepared to the best of your ability.

Here are some useful tips to follow for your first hurricane, if you have not experienced it before:

Know what is coming:

Before you even prepare for the hurricane, know what is coming your way and stay updated. Reading or watching local and national news is essential, they are constantly updating their platforms with new information. Another option is downloading apps such as Hurricane Tracker or My Hurricane Tracker & Alert. 


Think of the basic things you need to survive. When natural disasters come around, you will need to think of the most essential things you need. Food and water. Battery chargers. Lanterns or candles. Make a list of the things you will need and (I can’t stress this enough) go to the grocery store as early as you can. Food and water will run out, and it will be really hard to find other stores that have all the supplies you need. Be organized about it, because even if the hurricane hits pretty hard, it can also turn into a tropical storm and you are left with all this food you won’t eat. Grab snacks that you know you will eat and that don’t need to go on the fridge. Potato chips, cereal bars, chocolate, pastries and popcorn are just a few options. 

Transport and Shelter:

If you drive a car, make sure that you fill up your tank ahead of time. The app Gas Buddy can help you track the nearest gas station that still has gas. Try to use your car for emergencies only. You never know when you will have to leave your dorm or your house to go somewhere safer. If you don’t have a car, it’s best to rely on Uber or Lyft, since it’s not certain if public transportation will be available.

When it comes to shelters, make sure you know a few options near you. If you can, call them beforehand to know if they accept any pets (if you have any) or if there is anything you should bring that the shelter doesn’t provide. 

During the storm:

Stay indoors as much as you can when the hurricane happens. If you lose power, I recommend you have entertainment that does not require power. Board games, cards, books, drinking games, use your creativity while you’re waiting for the power to go back. 

If you see that the hurricane is going to last longer than expected, save as much food as you can. Restaurants are closed, so don’t expect to get food so easily. 

Relax, think positively, and help your community:

I know, it’s hard to remain calm during hurricane situations. But staying calm and relaxing is best. You can’t think straight if you are stressed and you will need a clear head if things go south. Try not to be alone; staying with friends and family will help you get through the hurricane more than you can imagine. Humans are social creatures and we need to share our nerve-wrecking moods. 

Think positively, the hurricane will pass and it will all be over soon. Lastly, help your community as much as you can. If you know a friend or colleague that will be staying by themselves during the storm, check if they want to spend it with you or your family. After the hurricane the city will not be looking the same, so check if there are ways you can help and volunteer for your community. 

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