Living in the Texas valley has given me firsthand experience with dozens of hurricanes. From the moment they change from a tropical depression to a category 1, it’s time to get ready for the worst.
Every single time a hurricane heads my way, the WalMart and Target stores throughout the valley quickly sell out of batteries and flashlights.
Seeing bare shelves at a mainstream store was pretty intimidating when I first moved here, but I’ve since found there’s plenty of places to go to get flashlights and batteries before a big storm hits.
- Hunting and Outdoors stores! This is actually my first stop when a hurricane is coming in because they carry a massive variety of flashlights, lanterns and batteries. (Cabelas, Academy)
- Hardware stores! Tons of batteries and construction-level flashlights abound! (Lowe’s, Home Depot)
- Kids toy stores. Often overlooked, these stores always have lots of batteries and some passable flashlights. (Toys R Us)
- Arts and crafts stores. A seriously overlooked stash of batteries can always be found here, but they carry mediocre flashlights at best. (Michaels, Hobby Lobby)
- Home accessory stores. They have a massive battery wall, but they’re usually hidden somewhere in the store among the appliances and bed accessories. (Bed Bath and Beyond)
- Office supply stores. They do have most batteries and they’re usually on an endcap display near the front of the store so you can run in and run out. (Staples, Office Depot, Office Max)
- Radio Shack. Yes, their custom batteries are overpriced and stink on ice, but they usually do have a lot of them.
- And finally, “scent and body” stores. Places that have soaps and candles and things that smell usually have a wall dedicated specifically to candles. Yes, they’re all probably going to be scented, but they’re also all massive glass encased urns of solid wax, they will burn for hours, and these places always have plenty of stock. (Bath and Body Works, Yankee Candle, Williams Sonoma and Cracker Barrel)
If you have around $300, though, I highly recommend investing in a generator from Sam’s, Costo, or one of the home improvement stores in the area. You can get a decent generator in the $300 price range, and with a few gallons of gasoline, you can have actual plug-in power. Fans, microwave ovens, and lamps are awesome to have on when the rest of the city has been dark for over 12 hours. If you do get a generator, be sure to…
- Get a high-gauge extension cord since the generator will be outside your home and you will need to run an extension cord inside to your home to plug everything into.
- Set up the generator BEFORE the storm! There’s some small things to put together before a generator can be run for the first time, and you definitely don’t want to be unpacking one of these things in the dark with no A/C.
Hope this little trivia helps.