Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

June 5, 2013

Storm warnings

By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun

— This will be the first time The Little Woman (she dislikes that name) and I will have spent an entire hurricane season here on the Gulf Coast. Predictions range from “It’s just another year in paradise” to “you may not have to wait until Christmas to have a tree in your house!” The National Climate Prediction Center recently released its forecast and it went like this.

“...a 70 percent chance of 13 to 20 named storms, of which seven to 11 could become hurricanes. Of those, three to six could be major hurricanes — categories 3, 4, or 5 — with winds of 111 mph or higher.” Apparently, these figures are above the usual seasonal average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and three majors.

My trusty Tribune reports that about the same predictions came out of Colorado State University and they threw in the following additional gloom and doom: “...72 percent chance that a major hurricane will make landfall somewhere in the U.S. — the historic average is 52 percent...also included a gloomy 47 and 48 percent chance that one will hit the Gulf Coast and Florida peninsula, respectively.” HOLY FLYING DEBRIS, BATMAN, THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT US!

My trusty Tribune also says they will print the Herald-Tribune’s 2013 Hurricane Guide. I will finish this rant after I compare their recommendations for a 72-hour recovery plan and supplies with what TLW and I have on hand. See ya...

               ———

Well, I’m back. The 2013 Hurricane Guide turned out to be a 36-page insert in the paper which was chock full of information on home preparation and protection, shelter and evacuation information, lessons learned, and debunking of hurricane myths. There are checklists for everything — medical kits, sanitation/hygiene stuff, equipment, food storage, clothing and bedding, personal items/documentation, and pet supplies.

As you can imagine, fully a third of the publication was advertisements for hurricane-safe roofs, windows, doors, shutters, all manner of generators from portables to “whole-home systems,” and a slew of household insurance ads. I thought it was interesting that several hotels had an advertisement that read, “Need shelter from the storm? Ask for our Florida residents rate.” Also, all the TV and radio stations had big competing ads about who would give the best weather coverage and stand out in the wave surges the longest.

TLW and I have scanned through the “guide” several times and we have determined that we have a great deal of the stockpile requirements — although some of them may not be unpacked yet. In some cases our stockpiles exceed the recommended items or amounts. For instance, under non-perishable foods and drinks, they didn’t even list Jack Daniel’s, Maker’s Mark, or Smirnoff. I also have a case of escargots and a case of Ramen Noodles which are essential to a hunker-down situation.

Speaking of hunkering down, here is an excerpt on the subject that I wrote back in June 2011, during one of our visits down here for the annual grandson-fix.

There is a distinct difference between “riding out the storm” and “hunkering down.” The older generation rides out the storm in their sturdy condominiums with the storm shutters on the balcony windows and doors. (In our case, TLW and I are probably outside any surge wave danger and will be “riding out” in our little fort with the hurricane-proof windows and doors.)

Hunkering down means that a bunch of “Key Rats” get together around a margarita machine and play old Jimmy Buffet records loud enough to drown out the roar of the storm. There are two survival items that are key to hunkering down — a gas generator and plywood. The generator powers the margarita machine and the juke box and the plywood covers the windows. True Key Rats never schlep off to Home Depot to buy their plywood — oh no, they went around after the previous storm and picked up the pieces that had flown around like Frisbees and recycled them. That is also how many of them get their barbecues and lawn furniture.

Oh, yes, there is one more very important provision for hunkering down. You must have lots of raw chicken on hand — whole chickens, half chickens, chicken quarters, chicken wings, and chicken giblets. This chicken is not for human consumption but for feeding the alligators who invariably show up after the big storms with really nasty attitudes.

I think I’ll close for now and fix TLW and me a special Sunday dinner of Ramen Noodles and snails. See ya...

          —————

Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com