I know the title of this post sounds more than a little silly, but from experience I learned to maintain a stock of no less than a two-year supply of the tall kitchen garbage bags, 1,000 or so t-shirt style plastic shopping bags, along with a couple of boxes of the large, heavy-duty, contractor style bags. If panic buying before an impending catastrophic storm does not strip your local retailers’ shelves of garbage bags along with the food, water, batteries, toilet paper, etc., it is likely the supply will be gone shortly after the calamity. From what we learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, we cannot expect FEMA, under any President’s administration, to be sending in timely emergency shipments of anything. The highly volunteer Red Cross does a much better job than FEMA does, but it is impossible for any organization to be 100% prepared for disasters of such magnitude. Your larder, planning, and skills may be all that gets you (and your needy neighbors) through.
What I have found firsthand is that plastic bags keep things dry during a storm and are vital to have for the cleanup afterwards (or for tossing together essentials and sentimental items for a hasty evacuation). With some strategic slicing here and there, the larger sized bags become makeshift raincoats for your ill-prepared neighbors.
An overabundance of bags is handy to have for reasons other than catastrophic weather events; they work great if you are moving to a new home. A few years back there was an extended work stoppage by our regional refuse haulers. When our curb-cans were full, we used the larger bags to store the smaller bags of household waste until they settled the labor dispute.