Friday, September 05, 2008

Waiting on Hanna… or Ike… or Josephine… or Whomever!



Waiting on Hanna… or Ike… or Josephine… or Whomever!
By: J. D. Longstreet
*******************************

I hate this time of year! It’s hurricane season for those of us who live in Hurricane Alley, right on the bulls-eye. Unlike the folks on the central Gulf Coast, who watch the southern horizon, we continually glance toward the eastern horizon. Two things of note come to us from the east: gorgeous sunrises… and devastating killer storms. We prefer the former, but, unfortunately, we get the latter, far too often, here in the geographic location known as the "Catcher's Mitt" of the East Coast.

Hurricanes are a fact of life here in the coastal Carolinas. There is no escaping that fact. So… those of us who choose to make our homes here have to adapt to Mother Nature’s aggressive ways.

By July, every year, without fail, I begin checking my hurricane supplies.

Some years ago, I built what my family refers to as my “hurricane chest”. In that chest, I store such necessary items as: a camp stove with a number of propane gas cylinders, battery powered lanterns, battery powered radios with the National Weather Service’s radio frequencies, candles, knives, coffee pot (for brewing coffee the old fashioned way… on the camp stove), and other things like important instructions on how to purify contaminated water with common household chemicals, and, of course, all shapes and sizes and strength batteries. And a lot of other items I think I might need. What goes in the chest is determined by me… based on well over 40 years of experience surviving these brutal terrorists of nature.

I always check the hurricane chest first to see that everything is where it should be and to decide what, if anything, needs to be updated or replenished.

Next, I check to see that my oil lamps have plenty of fuel and that the wicks are trimmed and in good shape and replace those that are not. Then, I have to check out the five gallon “jerry” cans which will store clean tap water for drinking and what little cooking we will do for the several days we will be without electricity.

Then, I check out my ice chest. An ice chest is a must… two or more are even better. Next, it is time to make a list of foodstuffs we’ll need to get through about a week of a totally useless kitchen. The trick is to purchase canned food that will not spoil and can be eaten throughout the remainder of the year… should we be lucky enough not to need it.

One thing it is vitally important to check on is… the state of our prescription medications. Do we need refills? If so, get them without delay. Everything comes to a stand still when the power goes out, even pharmacies.

Now it is time to check out the battery powered TV, police band radios, handheld flashlights, including the wind-up emergency lights. We have to be sure the cell phones are fully charged and the auto-chargers are where they are supposed to be… and that they function.

Then it is time to move out of the house into the yard. All yard, patio and deck furniture must be secured, tired down, stored, and/or placed out of the wind. Swings hanging from chains must be taken down and stored. Those giant garbage containers on wheels must also be secured and moved to place out of the wind.

Some folks board up their windows and glass storm doors. Most of us just tape them up to control the shattering and lessen the chance of their becoming a lethal wind-borne projectile.

And then we come to the rolling stock… the cars and trucks. We have to top off the gas tanks of the vehicles… just in case we have to make a run for it. Gas pumps don’t work without electricity.

If you have a portable generator then you must be sure you have ample fuel to last at least a week.

Finally, we check out our first aid supplies.

So, now we can stand back, take a breather, and run through all this stuff again, in our minds, to see what we have forgotten, because there is always something.

Please note: The list of “to-do things”, above, changes with every home. For instance, if you have a boat, or boats, you must get them out of the water and into safe storage.

If we have planned correctly, and if we have taken all the precautions we can and equipped ourselves as best we can, then all we can do now is hunker down and wait it out.

There is only so much we can do. After that… we are completely at the mercy of Mother Nature.

As I write, there are three storms approaching the eastern coast of the US. Hanna is first in line, and due to hit somewhere in our vicinity within 24 hours, or less. Then right behind her is a powerful storm named IKE, already a CAT-4 storm, and the tiny Josephine follows IKE. And we are just reaching the peak of the hurricane season.

These storms are so unpredictable that one dares not take them casually. So, we don’t. We plan for the worst and hope for the best.

So, over the next few days, I expect to be publishing less, as the computer requires electricity. When the power comes back… so will I.

J.D. Longstreet




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8 comments:

TexasFred said...

Best of luck to you and yours, and to ALL the folks along the east coast...

God Speed and stay in touch if possible!

Longstreet said...

Thanks, Fred. I appreciate that.

I think we'll be OK with Hanna. The 5 AM position had it coming right over me. It has since jogged a bit west, which should cause it to make landfall a bit farther south of me and hopefully lose some energy before the brunt of it gets to me. But, this is the coastal plain... flat and open. There is very little for the storm to drag it's belly over before it gets to me.

The Governor placed the state in a state of emergency until we see where IKE is going. Ike is the one we are REALLY worried about. We have been hit before, twice in a little over two weeks, and it HURT! If Ike turns towards us that would be only a few days between strikes. That could get nasty.

I hate that Hanna is coming in in the dark! One of the most terrifying things on this earth is to be in the middle of a hurricane... in the dark. After ten or twelve hours your mind begins to play tricks on you. You can hear the unceasing roar and the crashes and and all sorts of noises that tell you something is being destroyed but you don't know what! It ain't fun!

Thanks, again for good luck wishes.

Longstreet

Frank said...

Be safe, you and all people in the path of this storm are in my thoughts and prayers......

Longstreet said...

Thanks, Frank! We'll keep our heads down!

Best regards!

Longstreet

Wha Wadna Fecht for Charlie said...

I love a good moan about the weather and it never stops raining in NI, but I could never understand going through that every year. Stay safe and God bless.

Longstreet said...

I have been here since 1963 and I STLL ask myself why???? Check out these tables:
*****************************

This table depicts all hurricanes that made landfall in North Carolina.

Storm Name Max Classification Year Max Winds Min Pressure
Ophelia Category 1 2005 75 976
Charley Category 4 2004 125 947
Alex Category 3 2004 105 957
Isabel Category 5 2003 145 915
Floyd Category 4 1999 135 921
Bonnie Category 3 1998 100 954
Fran Category 3 1996 105 946
Bertha Category 3 1996 100 960
Emily Category 3 1993 100 960
Charley Category 1 1986 70 980
Gloria Category 4 1985 125 920
Diana Category 4 1984 115 949
Ginger Category 2 1971 95
Donna Category 5 1960 140
Ione Category 3 1955 105
Diane Category 3 1955 105
Connie Category 4 1955 125
Hazel Category 4 1954 120
Carol Category 2 1954 85
Barbara Category 2 1953 95
Unnamed Category 2 1949 95
Unnamed Category 4 1944 120
Unnamed Category 1 1944 80
Unnamed Category 3 1936 105
Unnamed Category 3 1933 105
Unnamed Category 3 1933 105
Unnamed Category 1 1920 70
Unnamed Category 1 1913 75
Unnamed Category 1 1908 70
Unnamed Category 1 1906 80
Unnamed Category 1 1901 70
Unnamed Category 2 1899 95
Unnamed Category 4 1899 130
Unnamed Category 3 1896 110
Unnamed Category 3 1893 105
Unnamed Category 3 1893 105
Unnamed Category 3 1887 105
Unnamed Category 3 1885 100
Unnamed Category 3 1883 110
Unnamed Category 2 1881 90
Unnamed Category 1 1880 70
Unnamed Category 3 1879 100
Unnamed Category 2 1878 90
Unnamed Category 3 1876 100
Unnamed Category 1 1874 80
Unnamed Category 1 1861 70
Unnamed Category 1 1861 70
Unnamed Category 2 1857 90
Row Color Maximum Classification
Category 3, 4 and 5
Category 1 and 2
Tropical Storm
Tropical Low, Tropical Depression, and Extratropical Storm



This table depicts storms that have affected North Carolina. Note this does not include landfalling hurricanes, but would include storms that made landfall as a tropical storm or depression.

Storm Name Max Classification Year Max Winds Min Pressure
Ernesto Category 1 2006 65 987
Alberto Tropical Storm 2006 60 995
Cindy Category 1 2005 65 992
Jeanne Category 3 2004 105 951
Ivan Category 5 2004 145 910
Gaston Category 1 2004 65 986
Frances Category 4 2004 125 937
Bonnie Tropical Storm 2004 55 1001
Bill Tropical Storm 2003 50 997
Kyle Category 1 2002 75 980
Gustav Category 2 2002 85 960
Arthur Tropical Storm 2002 50 992
Allison Tropical Storm 2001 50 1000
Helene Tropical Storm 2000 60 986
Gordon Category 1 2000 70 981
Irene Category 2 1999 95 960
Dennis Category 2 1999 90 962
Earl Category 2 1998 85 964
Danny Category 1 1997 70 984
Josephine Tropical Storm 1996 60 970
Arthur Tropical Storm 1996 45 992
Jerry Tropical Storm 1995 35 1002
Allison Category 1 1995 65 982
Gordon Category 1 1994 75 980
Beryl Tropical Storm 1994 50 1000
Alberto Tropical Storm 1994 55 993
Danielle Tropical Storm 1992 55 1001
Andrew Category 5 1992 150 922
Bob Category 3 1991 100 950
Ana Tropical Storm 1991 45 1000
Marco Tropical Storm 1990 55 989
Bertha Category 1 1990 70 973
Hugo Category 5 1989 140 918
Chris Tropical Storm 1988 45 1005
Alberto Tropical Storm 1988 35 1002
Arlene Category 1 1987 65 987
Andrew Tropical Storm 1986 45 999
Kate Category 3 1985 105 954
Isabel Tropical Storm 1985 60 997
Henri Tropical Storm 1985 50 996
Danny Category 1 1985 80 988
Claudette Category 1 1985 75 980
Bob Category 1 1985 65 1002
Isidore Tropical Storm 1984 50 999
Dean Tropical Storm 1983 55 999
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1982 60 984
Dennis Category 1 1981 70
Bret Tropical Storm 1981 60
Frederic Category 4 1979 115 943
David Category 5 1979 150 924
Bob Category 1 1979 65 986
Clara Category 1 1977 65 993
Babe Category 1 1977 65
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1976 40 1011
Dottie Tropical Storm 1976 45
Belle Category 3 1976 105 957
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1976 45 994
Hallie Tropical Storm 1975 45 1002
Eloise Category 3 1975 110
Amy Tropical Storm 1975 60 981
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1974 55
Dawn Category 1 1972 70
Agnes Category 1 1972 75
Alpha Tropical Storm 1972 60
Edith Category 5 1971 140
Doria Tropical Storm 1971 55
Arlene Tropical Storm 1971 55
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1970 60
Alma Category 1 1970 70
Camille Category 5 1969 165
Gladys Category 1 1968 75
Dolly Category 1 1968 70
Abby Category 1 1968 65
Doria Category 1 1967 75
Alma Category 3 1966 110
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1965 45
Isbell Category 3 1964 110
Dora Category 4 1964 115
Cleo Category 4 1964 135
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1964 50
Ginny Category 2 1963 95
Alma Category 2 1962 85
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1961 35
Brenda Tropical Storm 1960 50
Gracie Category 4 1959 120
Cindy Category 1 1959 65
Arlene Tropical Storm 1959 50
Helene Category 4 1958 115
Flossy Category 1 1956 80
Edna Category 3 1954 105
Florence Category 3 1953 110
Able Category 2 1952 90
How Category 2 1951 95
Able Category 3 1951 100
Able Category 4 1950 120
Unnamed Category 4 1949 130
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1947 45
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1947 50
Unnamed Category 4 1946 115
Unnamed Category 1 1946 70
Unnamed Category 4 1945 120
Unnamed Category 3 1945 100
Unnamed Category 3 1944 105
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1942 35
Unnamed Category 1 1940 70
Unnamed Category 1 1940 80
Unnamed Category 1 1939 70
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1938 40
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1937 50
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1937 60
Unnamed Category 5 1935 140
Unnamed Category 2 1934 85
Unnamed Category 1 1934 65
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1934 50
Unnamed Category 4 1933 120
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1932 45
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1932 45
Unnamed Category 4 1930 130
Unnamed Category 4 1929 120
Unnamed Category 5 1928 140
Unnamed Category 1 1928 70
Unnamed Category 2 1928 85
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1927 50
Unnamed Category 2 1925 85
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1924 50
Unnamed Category 1 1924 70
Unnamed Category 4 1924 115
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1923 60
Unnamed Category 1 1920 70
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1918 50
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1916 35
Unnamed Category 2 1916 85
Unnamed Category 4 1915 115
Unnamed Category 2 1915 85
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1915 45
Unnamed Category 1 1913 65
Unnamed Category 1 1913 75
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1912 45
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1912 60
Unnamed Category 2 1911 85
Unnamed Category 4 1910 130
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1910 40
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1908 35
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1908 45
Unnamed Category 1 1908 65
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1907 45
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1907 40
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1907 55
Unnamed Category 1 1906 80
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1905 45
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1904 45
Unnamed Category 1 1904 75
Unnamed Category 2 1903 85
Unnamed Category 1 1903 80
Unnamed Category 2 1902 90
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1902 50
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1901 45
Unnamed Category 1 1901 70
Unnamed Category 1 1901 70
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1900 40
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1900 45
Unnamed Category 2 1899 95
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1899 50
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1897 55
Unnamed Category 1 1897 70
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1897 60
Unnamed Category 2 1896 85
Unnamed Category 3 1896 110
Unnamed Category 2 1896 85
Unnamed Category 3 1894 105
Unnamed Category 3 1894 105
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1893 60
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1893 50
Unnamed Category 4 1893 115
Unnamed Category 3 1893 105
Unnamed Category 1 1893 65
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1892 45
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1891 55
Unnamed Category 2 1889 95
Unnamed Category 2 1889 90
Unnamed Category 1 1889 65
Unnamed Category 2 1888 85
Unnamed Category 2 1888 95
Unnamed Category 1 1888 70
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1888 50
Unnamed Category 1 1887 70
Unnamed Category 1 1887 75
Unnamed Category 3 1887 110
Unnamed Category 2 1887 85
Unnamed Category 2 1886 85
Unnamed Category 2 1886 85
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1885 60
Unnamed Category 1 1885 70
Unnamed Category 1 1883 70
Unnamed Category 4 1882 120
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1882 50
Unnamed Category 3 1882 100
Unnamed Category 1 1879 70
Unnamed Category 1 1878 70
Unnamed Category 2 1878 90
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1877 50
Unnamed Category 3 1877 100
Unnamed Category 1 1874 80
Unnamed Category 1 1873 70
Unnamed Category 1 1872 70
Unnamed Category 1 1871 70
Unnamed Category 3 1871 100
Unnamed Category 1 1868 70
Unnamed Category 2 1867 90
Unnamed Category 2 1867 90
Unnamed Category 1 1867 70
Unnamed Category 1 1866 80
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1865 60
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1863 60
Unnamed Category 2 1863 90
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1861 50
Unnamed Category 1 1859 70
Unnamed Category 2 1858 90
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1857 50
Unnamed Category 3 1856 100
Unnamed Tropical Storm 1856 50
Unnamed Category 3 1854 110
Unnamed Category 2 1852 90
Unnamed Category 3 1852 100
Unnamed Category 3 1851 100

All this is from the N.C. State Climate office at:

http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/climate/hurricane.php

NOW... do you understand why I refer to this place as "Hurricane Alley"? 'Cause it IS!

'Preciate the well wishes.

Longstreet

Frank said...

I love a good moan about the weather and it never stops raining in NI, but I could never understand going through that every year. Stay safe and God bless.
******************************

The East Coast is probably the best part of the "Main Land" in the U.S. I'll probably get slammed for this but, Time moves a little slower down there (From Virginia on down). Don't let them southernboys fool you, most of them are "quick as whips". The women are pleasant, and have a "sexy draw" in their voice. Hurricanes are but a couple months out of the year. (Aug. to Oct.) There are 4 seasons: Christmas, Almost Summer, Summer, and Almost Christmas. And as a "Yankee" even I have to admit there is something to be said for "Southern Hospitality". It's it's own experience vacationing down there, living there would be a dream, (Although politically I would be a misfit in the south). Uh I think I just opened myself up for some a Whoppin' after that comment.

Wha Wadna Fecht for Charlie said...

“Time moves a little slower down there (From Virginia on down).” – not as slow as it does in Northern Ireland! The common joke when flying into Belfast, “ladies and gentleman welcome to belfast, don’t forget to adjust your watch to local time by winding it back 300 years.”

“The women are pleasant, and have a "sexy draw" in their voice.” Many moons ago I was on an exchange program at university and ended up at a college in WV. (Shepherd College.) I remember how pleasant the ladies were and their “sexy draw”, but a gentleman never boasts, and that frank is a story for another day!