Monday, August 11, 2008

Blogging In Year Five

Hurricanes...We Don't Need No Stinkin' Hurricanes???

In ending this year's blogging birthday celebration, I though that it was more than just a little appropriate that my final re-run blog posting was on the topic of Hurricanes.

You see, I feel like I know a thing or two about Hurricanes.

More than the average weather man/woman or other otherwise media terrified citizen knows about the mature remnants of "tropical storms."

Having lived as a teen through Hurricane Elloise in the 1970's in LA (Lower Alabama) and witnessing my parent's dismay with Opal in the 1990's and having my mother go it solo through yet another storm since 2000 (sorry Mom, I forget the name), I feel that I AM AN AUTHORITY on the topic of Hurricanes and can provide you with insight that cannot be gained anywhere else than here on this blog.

Just in case you haven't noticed, this year' s "Hurricane Season" was predicted to be a "doosie", yet thus far we've only featured one storm that spent a month cruising around the middle of the Atlantic ocean and a couple of storms that blasted Mexico and south Texas (where they need the rain more than they fear the winds.)

Now the idiot rocket scientists over at the NOAA Hurricane Prediction Center --instead of admitting that they're wrong--have come back out and are insisting that in spite of the relative quite in the worlds waters that this year the the ocean is MOST DEFINITELY GOING TO JUMP UP AND WILL FLOOD each and every home in it's path and blow the roof off of what is left on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the US.

The only thing that they haven't done is state that only poor people, minorities, and women need to worry about the storm's wrath.

I'm sorry, but I think that the Hurricane researchers are drinking their own toilet water and have become media addicts of the worst kind. They just can't stand being out of the news and in the absence of storms all they can do is resort to issuing threatening press releases.

All of that said, here's what I wrote on the subject of Hurricanes back in August 2004:

Two hurricanes in one week (well, actually one hurricane and one tropical storm) certainly is a good formula to take your mind off of a number of life's frivolous distractions--particularly if you live on or near the coast of the Southeastern US during the summer months.

Don't you just love the gleam a good 145 MPH wind puts in the eyes of the local TV weather nerds and the gloating staff of "The Weather Channel?" I personally prefer a good weather news story a great deal more than I like following the sexual antics and mis-behaviors of some overpaid athlete and their remorseful female conquest or the endless saga of some poor, photogenic wife whom has paid the ultimate price as the victim of her bad life partner choice.

The present movement of Hurricane Charley is of particular interest to me and my neighbors as it slides across the Florida pennesula this evening toward our homes on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Current local forecasts are for winds only in the fifty to seventy MPH range. The minor storm surge is probably our biggest concern here as most of the island is two feet below the government's so called flood plain and there is only one low lying road connecting the island to the mainland.

Having been a coastal resident since only this past March, I find myself in the early stages of learning the habits and behaviors that will allow me to successfully negotiate the intricacies of storm preparation and, God forbid, evacuation in advance of an approaching storm. I've found that many other longer time residents are in the same boat (excuse the pun.)

You see, the Georgia coast enjoys the distinction of rarely bearing the brunt of tropical weather of the type and severity that Florida and North Carolina does each year. We are, however, tittillatted every three or four years with the possibility of the strike of a bona-fide doosie of a storm. It seems that I have arrived back home from a vacation in Chicago today just in time for such an event.

The thing that is most striking to me thus far is the reality that many if not most people absolutely loose their blankin' minds upon even the hint of the approach of a major storm. For instance, I made a trip to the grocery store this afternoon to pick up a few last minute items--having spent several weeks out of town and arriving with the storm possibly only a half-day away.

The first sign of trouble was that the grocery lot was virtually full of autos and SUV's upon my arrival. The next obvious clue was the availablilty of only three shopping carts inside the front door of the store. The place was an absolute madhouse filled with wildeyed senior citizens and soccer moms who were careening wildly up and down the isles, their carts each filled with bales of toilet paper, paper towels, bottled water, and on most occasions--TWO OR THREE LOAVES of bread. The biggest personal blow was that the Peter Pan peanut butter was sold out entirely (I had to buy Jiff.)

Now I ask you, what makes normally rational people believe that they are actually going to go through two or three jars of peanut butter and three loaves of bread in the one or two days that a storm this size and path could cut us off from civilization? If they do eat all of that peanut butter, they will be so stopped up they could never possibly use an entire case of toilet paper, could they?

In an effort to document my current experiences and assist any future coastal residents in the art of Hurricane preparedness, I would like to offer my own list of Do's and Don'ts:

Do listen to local weather broadcasts every few hours in order to stay up to date on the storm's location, forecast storm track, and any evacuation orders that may be issued.

Don't go to the local bar hours before the storm roars into your neighborhood and get shitfaced drinking kamikaze shots or a half dozen long island ice teas before heading home to tackle hanging that truck load of plywood you just bought at Home Depot over your windows and doors.

Do put together a basic hurricane supply kit including drinking water, prescription medicines, first aid kit, canned foods, flashlight and spare batteries, battery powered radio, etc.

Don't think that you're prepared when your hurricane kit simply includes a twelve-pack of warm beer, a fifth of tequila, a couple of half burned candles from the last storm warning , an old Bic lighter, and an inflatable raft with one broken oar.

Do gas up the car or SUV and move it to high ground prior to the local roads being closed.

Don't venture out during the storm onto flooded roads in high winds at break neck speeds in an attempt to recreate Lt. Dan's hurricane scene in the movie "Forrest Gump."

Do move your boat onto it's trailer and secure it in a safe storage area. Relocate larger boats away from docks, pilings, and other boats and double/triple anchor them in place.

Don't think you are going to weather out the storm on board your boat with your warm twelve-pack and fifth of tequila. (You will end up dead or be seen on CNN by all of your friends and family--you'll be the one hanging by a cable underneath a Coast Guard helicopter.)

Got to go outside to check out the weather again Charley's back offshore in the Atlantic and the eye is tightening up again, more later...

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