Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hurricanes for Yankees

Tropical Wave:

This is rain. For Pete’s sake.

Tropical Depression:

This is a thunderstorm, not the beginning of the end.

Tropical Storm:

Begin watching the hourly Weather Channel ‘Tropical Weather’ updates every so often. If you are a weather nerd, get a Hurricane tracking chart and begin plotting the storm’s course. (Note to amateurs: get a pack of colored pencils and plot the storms in different colors. Why? Because.)


Panic!! You are going to DIE!! Realize the Caribbean is a long way away. Begin watching the twice hourly storm reports on the Weather Channel. If you cannot remain home to monitor this potentially life, limb and property threatening situation, compulsively check internet weather sites (I prefer Weather Underground, personally.)

Natives will begin to tell you stories about a friend of their cousin who was trapped in an air bubble inside her refrigerator along with a great white shark that had washed up with the storm surge in Hurricane Hugo. Don’t believe them. Unless it happened in McClellanville, then it might be true.

Understanding Hurricane Categories:

Okay, so the hurricane is now officially within 1000 nautical miles of your home and is predicted to pass within 100 miles of you, maybe, if the winds turn sideways and blow the moon one millimeter to the right. How do you estimate the level of panic to engage in?

Category One:

If this is your first hurricane, please feel free to pull out all the stops and panic as much as your heart desires. Buy everything on the hurricane supply list, engage in all the safety precautions. Or do like the natives: beer, chips, bring in the lawn chairs and the dog.

Category Two:

Same as above. Unless you live on the beach and the storm is coming in at high tide. Ignore the apocalyptic frothing weathermen. You are not going to die. Put the garbage cans in the garage.

Category Three:

Okay. Now start paying attention. DO NOT LISTEN to the local weathermen! Note the current location of the hurricane, its direction and speed of travel, then do the math yourself. Subtract six hours from ETA because that is how long it is going to take you to get from Charleston to Summerville and you should be safe in Summerville.

Do NOT put tape X’s on your windows. Tape will not stop a flying tree. You will look like an amateur and your neighbors will laugh at you. If you are rich, you will have ready made titanium shutters that just snap in place for every window on your house. Aren’t you special? If you are a normal person, you will go to Lowe’s and stand in line for 10 hours to buy plywood, then the Pig for beer. Then you and your idiot cousin will spend the day drinking and cussing and nailing random bits of wood over a couple of windows.

Category Four:

If you are a complete idiot, stay. Have fun. When the nice policeman comes around, just give him your name, address and next of kin’s contact information politely. Don’t tell him he is ruining the mood of your hurricane party.

If you plan to evacuate, it’s best to leave about three days before anyone knew there was a hurricane coming. If you wait until the last minute, bring lots of water and books. Blankets and a shovel come in handy for those urgent calls of nature on the side of the highway in full view of the other 100,000 refugees. Food for at least 12-24 hours is also a good idea for that lovely 0.0025 mile per hour “Up Close and Personal: I-26 Tour”.

Category Five:

The weathermen are finally correct: YOU ARE GOING TO DIE!!


Pam said...

Very well put! When I first moved to Charleston and we had our first hurricane "scare" (my first, rather) - I went to the Publix to get "supplies" - not really thinking too much about what a supply really was. I bought beer, water, cans of tuna and charcoal. Now, I only owned an electric can opener (which I long ago tossed - it had been a gift)and I didn't have a grill to put the charcoal in (I figured I could dig a pit). These days I just call a friend who lives inland (and in a more well-built home than my own), or call my favorite Comfort Inn in Aiken that allows pets. And I just buy beer.

Heather said...

That is a fabulous summary. I'll link my husband to it, later.

Badbadivy is my category 4 or more back-up. Other than possible tree damage, Moncks Corner is far enough inland that I only have to prepare for power outages. For anything 3 or under I have enough stock-piled to get us through until the power comes back up.

With a 4 or greater it may be weeks and I'll high-tail it to Nashville and hang out until the welcome is worn thin.

chucker said...

Last year caught my attention so I went to Lowe's and bought a generator during the "H" season. I followed directions, added gas and oil and turned the key. It started right up and ran smoothly. Of course, there was not a cloud in the sky and now, about 9 months later, it sits in the shed still all ready to go.
The book said to add several ounces of something to keep the gasoline from gumming up the works. I did that. (The other choice was to drain out all the gas). The shiny bright red generator and several 5 gallon containers of gasoline sit out back in the vented shed. It's all set and ready to go.
The book added "do not run the generator in the rain." Hmm, as I recall if and when the storms come they bring a lot of rain.
I just rolled it out and started it againj. It's all set and ready to go.

JanetLee said...

Oh my. This was supposed to be a joke, but I guess I did sneak some good information in there. I really really hate the local weathermen frothing at the mouth, just HOPING something wicked will this way come. And the Weather Channel and the news channels have gotten just as bad, it is all just theater. A reality show. No real information, just scare tactics. That is why I like the Weather Underground Tropical Weather page, they put the raw information there and you can sort it out. But I'm kind of a weather nerd. I should have been a meteorologist (the NOAA kind, not the TV kind).

Joan said...

My kids used to like roaming from house to house the day after eating everyone's hurricane supplies - cookies, nachos....