Aside from keeping a close eye on weather reports and news updates, there are several telltale signs that an incoming hurricane is going to be big. There are frantic shoppers trying to stock up on groceries and survival essentials, citizens vacating the area to avoid the storm altogether, as well as Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore warning folks that it's gonna be a big'un.
Then, of course, there's the stock of Hurricane Cakes available at Florida's local Publix supermarkets.
Florida citizens are in a panic as they try to prepare for Hurricane Ian. As of writing, CNN reports that the storm has been classified as a Category 4 hurricane with "winds just shy of Category 5 strength." As it fast approaches Florida's western coast, citizens in the area are bracing for Ian's inevitable impact.
Yet even amidst the severity of the situation, people have tried to make the best of it with lighthearted jokes — and heavily frosted cakes.
Publix Hurricane cakes are a long-standing tradition of hurricanes.
In late September 2022, Foodsided reported that hurricane cake memes have been making the rounds as Hurricane Ian approaches. As the name suggests, these are a Publix supermarket delicacy in which major storms become frosting decorations on high-quality cakes. These are usually depicted with colored cake frosting drawn in the appearance of a hurricane weather forecast. People on Twitter look to these cakes as a sign of severe storms. For some, the cakes are as essential as storm safety equipment.
Hurricane cakes appeared back in 2019, when Publix decorated cakes in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, another severe storm that hit Florida. Going back even further, other cakes have been made heralding storms like Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Though people are reviving the joke in the wake of Hurricane Ian, a viral image of Hurricane cakes has been misreported as cakes baked specifically for the 2022 storm. In actuality, the cakes are no longer allowed to be sold.
According to Sarah Rumpf, a freelance writer and purported "former Publix cake decorator," several people complained that the nature of the cakes was insensitive to those who brace for the worst in the middle of severe storm warnings. As such, Publix stores were barred from baking and selling the cakes.
"If you want hurricane cakes in the future, call corporate and politely voice your support," Sarah tweeted. "No one wants to look like they're celebrating something that could hurt people, but 'GO AWAY, [name of hurricane]!' does sound good to write on a cake IMHO."
Nevertheless, some people on TikTok are supposedly still finding stores selling hurricane cakes. And even if Publix isn't allowed to bake and sell them anymore, the internet has proudly claimed Hurricane Cakes to be a de facto indicator of how bad a storm can get.