By Kerry Sanders, NBC News Correspondent
ATLANTIC Beach, N.C. -- I've covered hurricanes from El Salvador to Montauk, on the tip of Long Island, for three decades.
There's no question hurricanes are a hassle. What you don't want to learn is that they can also be deadly.
Here are a few tips that may not be on the usual lists suggesting provisions of food, water, and batteries.
* Ignore your inner-self that wants to think this is all hype.
Hurricane force winds and storm surge are real and there is nothing you can do at the last minute to push back.
*Find comfortable cotton clothes. You will lose power and that means it will get hot. Hurricanes leave you locked inside thick humidity, so you want to be comfortable. Baby powder is nice to have and forget the jeans, they're just plain uncomfortable.
*Choose the spot you will hunker down. (Ideally that will be an interior room with a load-bearing wall with no windows). Don't go to the basement as that could fill up with water and you could drown (drowning is the leading cause of death during a hurricane).
*Prepare that room for comfort. Pillows, food, board games to pass the time. And if you can squeeze a mattress in that room, do so. Why? If the hurricane breaches your home, windows break, roofs tear off, you can hunker down under that mattress in your interior room. Ask survivors of Hurricane Andrew in South Florida and two out of three will tell you that's how they made it thru that storm. The most popular spot to go is also the most uncomfortable, the bathroom.
*Fill your bathtub with water and find a bucket. After the storm, if you lose power and the toilet won't flush, take a bucket of water from the tub, hold it waist high and dump it quickly into the toilet. Your toilet will flush.
*Go to your balcony, or around your home and pull in the planters. Those small items can become missiles in the storm. In the tropics, one of the biggest concerns is coconuts going airborne in a hurricane force wind. It can become a cannon ball.
*Don't ride out the storm alone. It can be scary when you hear creaks and other sounds that you have never heard before. Together you can reassure each other that things are ok.
*Skip the alcohol. Hurricane parties are always popular, but if there is a calamity and you have to think on your feet quickly, the last thing you want to do it be impaired. I know lots of folks will ignore this tip, so my only advice is moderation is your friend.
Remember, Irene is moving slowly, so this will be a long haul. If the eye passes directly over you, you'll be tempted to go outside.
It's a rare experience to see the eye: calm skies, birds flying, just beautiful. Just remember, the winds are strongest right up against that eye-wall and if you're outside, you could die.
Finally, don't rely on anyone but yourself.