Ready to beat a dead horse? Yes? Well, you’re now in hurricane season. You can either be prepared to go or to stay, or you can ignore it all until your only option when/if one hits is to assume the position and kiss your assets goodbye.
How do I know that we should talk about this? Consider me a “been there, done that” kind of guy who was virtually asleep at the wheel when it came to hurricane preparedness, when I got caught in a whopper of a blow (Katrina) for six days—me, two other bipeds, and seven critters that I became responsible for.
A couple of things to note: first, the people who predict the weather are no different than you and me; the only difference between them and us is that they get paid to get things wrong. Whatever they say is not only up for debate, but subject to change from day to day. They also get paid to keep us tuning back in for updates on the weather that they, having every conceivable electro-whatsis at their disposal (VIPIR, radar, StormTracker, Exact-Cast and friggin’ spaghetti models, for Chrissakes) have no specific clue as to what Mother Nature is actually going to do. BUT, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t watch.
Second, our blessed city has been flooding in mere rainstorms in the past year; what is gonna happen if a real storm comes our way? If we get sustained rain, wind, mini-tornadoes, and quite possibly a hurricane (or even tropical depression) … we are screwed.
So, what’re our options? We know that hurricane season is going to be here, every year, for the foreseeable future, or until New Orleans sinks into the Gulf of Mexico (which IS in our foreseeable future). What, given those guidelines, are my (your) contingency options? Move away from the area, spend summers elsewhere, or continue to stay and be prepared? Remember, we will never know for sure when/if or what degree of nature’s wrath is in store for us.
Just suppose, for the sake of debate, that we take door number three and decide to stay and be prepared for the worst and pray for the least; how do we do that? Well, first we decide whether we take one of two other options: be ready to stay through whatever is thrown at us, or to be able to evacuate when we’ve decided that it’s gonna be rougher than we can/have prepared for. How do we tell the difference between a game plan and a lame plan?
Well, if you need to get ready to evacuate, then you need to be ready to evacuate. Remember, when the big one blew, traffic was backed up for hours that ranged into the double-digits. Can your vehicle stand to stand in heat for hours and hours? Do you have nourishment, bladder control, and patience to be on a roadway that’s moving so slowly, it’s lookin’ like a parking lot? The following words are the gist of the situation as voiced by folks who have been there: “Contraflow, my ass!” The view from those roaming TV helicopters of the jam that everyone found themselves in is enough to make a sane person decide to tough it out at home. And don’t think that the services provided to get you out (busses and such) will fare any better than your neighbors in their SUV. When you’re stuck, you’re stuck; if you didn’t bring water, you’ll be drinking your own saliva. My advice is that if you’ve a mind to get out of Dodge, get out a week prior to any occurrence, if possible. However, my experience with that scenario is that when we evacuated for a storm that did not come, it cost a couple of thousand dollars and loss of employment time.
So, you’re staying? I’m staying for a Cat 3 or less; so, what would I do to get prepared? First off, clean out the fridge of all non-essentials (stuff that will spoil before you can gobble it up. Leave about three days of food in your freezer). Next, for criminy's sake, do not put off supply-shopping until the last minute; like, start shopping now! Get batteries, flashlights, water, plastic garbage bags, and duct tape, and have some idea what windows and/or doors you’ll need to cover with hard stuff, like plywood. It doesn’t hurt to be ready. Remember, it’s gonna be the “season” until November. Next, try to figure out what you would eat and drink for three to five days. How you will take care of your hygiene needs when facilities become an issue (be prepared to be able to have water for flushing, brushing, and drinking).
Got pets? See to their needs better than you do yours; that means being ready for feeding and any meds. Are your critters micro-chipped? Do you have a first aid kit? None of this is rocket surgery and most of this stuff you’ll use, eventually, so it doesn’t hurt to have stuff like that on hand.
Consider a generator. Maybe if you’re really a survivalist, get a boat. C’mon!
My biggest concern, after all that other stuff is taken care of, is do I have enough adult beverages, can I keep them at a comfortable temperature, and do I have enough to read? Remember, there was no TV or even cell service during the last one (banks and post offices will be closed).
The grand majority of us cannot afford to leave town for the summer. Heck, most of us are only a few paychecks from homelessness as it stands, and, dig this—your landlord is going to expect the rent and there will be no utility forgiveness. (Consider your water bill’s excess when we had that pipe-busting freeze last year.)
So, want to beat a dead horse? Welcome to the season of the witch.