Thursday, August 25, 2011

Batten down the hatches

Luckily in Miami we are not having a visit from Hurricane Irene. Hurricane's in my opinion are pretty much a hassle.

I've lived in Miami since 1996 but I've only ever been through a category 1 storm. But even that category 1 storm caused enough damage to make me take these things seriously. After that storm we were without power for 14 days. Such a pain.

This morning I was watching the Today Show trying to see a live picture of the storm. But instead it was a segment on preparing for the storm. It didn't give bad advice - water, batteries. But here are some other things that are very helpful to have.

  • ice - when the power goes out everything gets hot. If you put ice into a cooler before the storm it will last a couple of days and keep things cold or cool at least.  That is helpful. In fact down here before a storm we freeze everything we can in advance. It also helps keep your freezer colder longer. Then we fill all our coolers with ice and put drinks and stuff we want in there. Your fridge will stay cold for 24 -48 hours if you don't open it so this way we open and close the coolers and leave the fridge shut.
  • Baby wipes. So, here's a fun fact. When the power goes out eventually the water stops flowing if you live in an apartment building or if you have a well. Even if you live in a house - if you have an electric water heater you'll only have cold water. And also it's hot so everybody is sweating. So, baby wipes are handy.
  • Car chargers. Wireless devices go dead fast when the cell towers go out. They just search and search and search. If you have a car and a car charger you can recharge them. Also, cooling off in your car's ac can feel really nice.
  • a land phone. We have one phone plugged in to an old fashioned wall jack. This is because they work when the cell towers go wonky and get overloaded. 
  • Rum. You can pick your beverage of choice but when the power goes out it's pretty boring and a little rum makes the time pass more enjoyably. After each storm I've been through I've gotten to know a lot of my neighbors as we worked together to clean up and also have the required post storm bbq before the meat all spoils. Rum also makes this more fun.
  • Lastly, this is not a supply but having a way to cook food without electricity is great. I have cooked everything from pasta to french fries and muffins on an outdoor grill when we had no power. It feels funny but it works. 
I'll be thinking of all the people I know this week and weekend as the storm moves up the east coast and hoping for the best. This storm looks like it could be a bear when it hits land.

That category 1 storm I went through - it was Katrina. It then zipped out to the gulf turned into a cat3 and slammed into New Orleans. I remember feeling sorry for myself for being hot and then watching that and feeling very selfish. Being without power is annoying but sometimes these storms cause true wreckage. So, batten down the hatches and be safe if you are in the path.

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