Thankfully Dean didn't damage U.S. soil, and while I wish no harm on our neighbors in the Caribbean or to the south, the Category 5 that made Texas a bit uneasy, prepared us for the coming season.
After six hurricanes and then a year off from storms, I had to spend a couple of hours repacking my hurricane bag before heading to South Texas. Many have asked, "What exactly do you take to a hurricane? An umbrella won’t work." Like the whole Adam and Eve jokes that stretch back to grade school, this question, believe it or not, has become quite common.
So to answer the inquiries, all of us who cover the monster storms have our own version of the necessities. I bring two checked bags, one with gear specifically for the storm and one with clothes that I hope stay dry for when the storm has passed. This year I forked over some cash and decided that bags with wheels will keep me in the game longer.
First thing in the gear bag are my shoulder high waders. During hurricane Rita these came in handy when waters flooded so many areas of southern Louisiana. They are a bit heavy duty, but provide protection from sharp objects underwater and unseen dangers caused by hurricanes. In fact, amongst the public, most injuries and deaths actually occur after the storm, not during it.
Alongside the waders are two sets of rain gear (pants and jackets) and our new bright blue FOX News hurricane coats. Those at the New York headquarters sent them our way and they have a removable fleece liner that can also double as a light jacket. They are bright and that should make the photographers happy when the power goes out and all we have are camera lights to show the shot. Dark jackets can make the lighting a bit tough.
Of course, inside the gear bag are boots, gloves and a hat, but there are some other things that might surprise you. I add a wind meter to read the power of Mother Nature; also, a hand cleaner, a quick-drying towel, a stainless steel mug for my bottled drinking water (also in the bag), a nice sized medical kit, and eye goggles like the ones made famous by my colleague Steve Harrigan, although I haven't put them on during a storm yet.
In the kit I also include a couple of flashlights, bug spray, extra batteries, a leathman tool and also a small-sized tool kit. The tools always come in handy because in past hurricanes we used them to fix doors, camera tripods, even fixed tires; I have changed tires in every hurricane but one!
The final three items are also very important. In the side pocket I add a power inverter, so we can use our car to charge phones, radios, etc. Alongside the inverter is an electric tea pot that can be used to boil water or even make coffee and tea. But the most important device — a portable satellite radio unit. It allows us to stay apprised of the latest weather and news reports, while being able to hear our own FOX News Channel coverage.
I did forget to mention one thing, our sat phone. I didn't include it because I don't own one. We bring it from our Los Angeles bureau and it is shared — and extremely important.
I hope this answers all of your questions. We do stock up on food, water and fuel in our large rental SUV's, and our personal bag has clothes and toiletries. Any suggestions you might have are always welcome; after all, I might be able to find a little more room!
• E-mail Adam Housley to give him your suggestions!
Adam Housley joined FOX News Channel in 2001 as a Los Angeles-based correspondent. Most recently, Housley reported from President Ford's funeral. He also reported from Nicaragua and El Salvador on the war against drugs and scored an exclusive interview with Sandinista leader, Daniel Ortega. You can read his full bio here.
Adam Housley joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 2001 and currently serves as a Los Angeles-based senior correspondent.