It's beginning to look increasingly likely that Hurricane Matthew will hit Florida. Government agencies have been giving out typical advice: Have an emergency evacuation plan, stock up on nonperishable food and water, make sure you have extra flashlights and batteries, and so on. All good advice, but we figured some of you could use extra guidance on what not to do during a hurricane so you don’t end up in a “Florida man” (or “Florida woman”) headline.
1. Don’t go jet skiing (or kayaking, kiteboarding, windsurfing, or swimming, for that matter).
It should be obvious, but the worst place that you can be during a hurricane is IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FREAKING OCEAN. And yet, every time one hits, people like this guy think it looks like a great time to take the Sea-Doo out for a spin. This is completely unnecessary. If you really want to see how big the waves are, grab a beer, sit down on your couch, and type “hurricane kayaking gopro” into YouTube. Spoiler alert: The answer is "very, very, very big."
2. Don’t rob local businesses and then try to hide in a vat of cooking grease.
Long before “Florida man” became a thing on Twitter, a man was trying to break into an Orlando restaurant during Hurricane Frances when a security guard noticed and started chasing him. He attempted to hide in a trash can, but it turned out to be a vat of grease. He was charged with burglary and curfew violation. The local police chief labeled him “the slick criminal of the day.”
3. Don’t get drunk and drive through the police barricades.
The whole upside of hurricane parties is that you can drink as much as you want since you know you aren’t going to be driving anytime soon. This Connecticut man apparently missed the memo and got in his car anyway, then drove through caution tape and several police barricades before ultimately crashing into a tree and being charged with a DUI. Please, don’t do that.
4. Don’t try and use the storm surge as a backdrop for your music video.
When Hurricane Sandy hit New York, some aspiring garage rockers thought it would be cool to head to the Rockaways and set up their drum kit in the surf. While nothing bad happened to them or their instruments, the resulting music video is... kinda lame. The camera keeps shaking, PROBABLY BECAUSE THERE’S A HURRICANE, and the overall effect is decidedly amateur hour.
5. Don’t insist on having the beach wedding of your dreams “because nothing stands in the way of true love.”
Again, this would seem to be a no-brainer, but there’s a surprisingly large number of stories out there about couples who refused to reschedule their wedding plans in the face of impending doom. Yes, weddings are expensive, and venues have to be reserved three million years in advance, but expecting anyone to travel during a storm because it’s your “special day” is a dick move.
6. Don’t steal money from old people and then buy yourself a Jaguar.
This is just mean: A guy in Naples offered to help an elderly man in New Jersey file insurance claims after Hurricane Sandy destroyed his business but had the insurance claim checks directed to his girlfriend’s address instead. He then used the $96,000 to buy a new Jaguar, a boat, Lasik eye surgery, and a vacation to Key West. Don’t be that guy. No one likes that guy.
7. Don’t blame the storm on gay people (or whomever else you hate).
Any time a big storm hits, certain people always want to suggest God is exacting retribution on mankind. Usually, gay marriage is involved in this argument. Other favorites include legalized abortion and gambling. Actually, hurricanes are caused by rising moist air. Look it up.
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8. Don’t take a cruise to the Bahamas.
Take it from David Hughes, a North Carolina man who recently found himself stuck on a Royal Caribbean cruise in the middle of Hurricane Hermine where everyone kept vomiting as the boat lurched through 40-foot swells. “This is inexcusable,” he told a local TV station, arguing that Royal Caribbean should have canceled the trip. With all due respect to Mr. Hughes, who seems like a nice guy, no one is forcing you onto the ship at gunpoint. You can always choose not to go.
9. Don’t throw knives in the air or scale a building for “fun.”
Look, if your hobbies are throwing knives around or free-climbing tall buildings, that’s your business. But during a hurricane, emergency first responders have a lot to deal with besides saving your dumb ass when you fall and/or stab yourself. At best, your eccentric behavior will likely yield calls to the police, who are busy enough as it is. Just go home.
10. Don’t go whitewater rafting down the street on an inflatable air mattress.
Actually, this looks super fun. And if the streets are flooded, it’s probably a safer method of transportation than trying to walk or drive. Watch out for downed power lines, though.