Several months ago, I started making distributed (i.e. on more than one machine), automated, daily backups of my home directries, project and reference directories, and assorted important files.
I have at least one copy of all of these with me on a 500 GB external hard drive. They’re updated until Saturday, when I unhooked my desktop and hauled it up to Mandeville. I left my desktop in my parents’ house in Mandeville, and just brought the 15″ and 17″ PowerBooks. Even if the desktop in Mandeville sustains damage, I have everything I need to keep writing my paper while New Orleans is salvaged.
Make regular, automated backups, people. It just paid off for me.