How to Prepare Your Kitchen for Tropical Storm Erika

Choose cheese and salamis that don't need refrigeration.
Choose cheese and salamis that don't need refrigeration.
Courtesy of Whole Foods Market

Just as we commemorate the anniversaries of Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina, tropical storm Erika is churning toward South Florida.

According to the Weather Channel, Erika is about 285 miles east of Antigua, with tropical storm warnings issued for the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and most of the northern Leeward Islands. As Erika moves to the west-northwest, she is expected to remain a tropical storm and, according to the "cone of uncertainty," she will make her way to the Bahamas over the weekend, and might hit South Florida, including Miami, by Monday morning.

The good news is that we've got a few days until Erika hits to prepare. Miami-Dade has a handy hurricane emergency supply checklist on its website that's a great guideline for everything you need to survive a storm or other catastrophic event. It's recommended that your supplies should include three to 14 days worth of items for every member of your household (dogs, cats, and other pets included). You should also keep the items in easy to carry plastic containers or duffel bags.

Basic recommended supplies include:

  • One gallon of drinking water per person
  • Manual can opener and bottle opener
  • Nonperishable foods
  • Canned meat, fish, fruit, or vegetables
  • Bread in moisture-proof packaging
  • Cookies, candy, or dried fruit
  • Canned soups and nonperishable milk
  • Powdered or single-serve drinks
  • Cereal or granola bars
  • Packaged ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise
  • Peanut butter and jelly
  • Instant tea or coffee
  • A portable grill or camp stove (never grill indoors)
  • Disposable plate, cups, and utensils
  • Dry and/or canned pet food
Nuts and granolas make healthy snacking.
Nuts and granolas make healthy snacking.
Courtesy of Whole Foods Market

Briana Madrid, regional associate marketing coordinator for Whole Foods Market, says that your hurricane food doesn't have to be all canned tuna and Pop-Tarts and, since you're going to be spending time with spouses, roommates, and loved ones, you might as well break bread with them while riding out the storm. "We all know people come together during a hurricane, so why not open a few bottles of red wine? You could pair that with some dry cheeses and salamis that don't need refrigeration. Add olive tapenade, which is a great spread for crackers. That could spice up a hurricane meal."

Madrid also notes that you don't always have to look for canned or ultra-processed foods to find items that have a long shelf life. Snack items like chips and cereal bars at Whole Foods are shelf stable but don't have many preservatives. Also, shop for nuts, dried fruit, grains, and granolas. 

If you lose power, your fancy pod coffee maker won't be serving you the espressos you crave. Instead, pick up some ground or instant coffee for your morning caffeine.

Stocking up for a hurricane doesn't mean skimping on fruits and veggies, either. "There are a lot of produce items, like bananas, apples, oranges, and carrots that can last for days or even weeks." 

If you're in doubt, look for the hurricane preparedness signs posted throughout Whole Foods. "Every year, we send out these signs to all our stores at the start of hurricane season. These signs mark items appropriate for your hurricane kit like water, pet food, shelf-stable milk, canned foods, and paper items. They're good reminders of items you might forget to purchase when you're getting your storm supplies."

For the complete list of supplies recommended by Miami-Dade, along with other valuable store preparedness information, visit miamidade.gov.

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