By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun
Well, we are now officially into the 2014 hurricane season (June 1 through Nov. 30). After a relatively benign 2013 hurricane season, The Weather Channel is predicting another “below-average” season this year. They are mealy-mouthing about 11 to 12 named storms; five to six hurricanes; and two to three major hurricanes.
The Sarasota Herald Tribune put out a 40-page “Hurricane Guide” this week and it convinced me that we need more preparations than we had last year. We do have a house that is allegedly “hurricane-proof” with block and steel construction and hurricane-impact windows and doors. Also, the obligatory roofing tiles are safety-screwed in to prevent them from getting airborne. Other than that, our preparations last year consisted of candles, flashlights, Ramen noodles, and a big jug of Maker’s Mark bourbon.
Since our main plan is to hunker down rather then move out in case of a severe storm, I decided to work on a disaster supply kit for The Good Wife and me. The one included in the “Guide” was very detailed and cumbersome and I feel my preps are more practical and manageable.
It is almost a given that we will lose power for several days during a hurricane and the loss of our air conditioning will be downright miserable. I have noticed that several of our non-snowbird neighbors have propane-powered generators alongside their air conditioning units but that was not available for us as ours was a spec home with final change orders already in when we purchased it while still Corsicana residents.
The first order of business will be to prioritize the perishable freezer/refrigerator items and start cooking them. Our electric stove will be out so I have two alternatives. The first is a little jewel called a “Stove in a Can.” When set up with the fuel cell ignited and the enclosed “cooking ring” in place, you have a six-inch burner and the claim is you can boil water in five minutes. Of course, if the storm has blown in the cage of our lanai, we may be out of luck as it requires a well-ventilated area. Speaking of well-ventilated, weather permitting, I will roll out my little Weber charcoal grill and grill up a bunch of victuals that we can gnaw on for several days.
We have a great variety of lighting equipment available. In addition to candles and flashlights, I have just ordered a couple Coleman High Tech 4D LED Lanterns which will provide room-wide lighting for over 100 hours on D-Cell batteries. My favorite is a “Hand wind Dynamo Powered — AM/FM Radio and LED Flashlight.” It is the size of a regular flashlight but it has more applications than a Swiss Army Knife. It has a dynamo hand power unit with a winding shaft at the end that allows you to power up the unit for the radio and the light. It even has an emergency siren and a mobile phone charging jack. Wow! This thing is smarter than me.
In addition to extra non-perishables, toilet paper, and paper towels, plates, and cups, we have really stocked up on kitty litter. This will be used in conjunction with my most valuable hurricane acquisition — -a folding commode with bucket and splash guard! Annie the Cat offered us the use of her litter box but TGW and I felt we would need the height of the commode. I already feel sorry for the trash folks when they come around after the storm. They will really be living up to their name of “Waste Management!”
Ready or not, here come the ten reasons that the hurricane season is like the Christmas season:
10: Extra decorations for the house (like storm shutters and plywood).
9: Dragging out boxes that haven’t been used since last season (like the flashlights, candles, and the commode).
8: Last minute shopping in crowded stores (like for those D-Cell batteries).
7: Regular TV shows pre-empted for “specials” (like the weather guys standing waist deep in the surf).
6: Family coming to stay with you (our son has dibs on one guest room, just don’t bring your dog and cat).
5: Family and friends from out-of-state calling (how’s the weather down there?).
4: Buying food you don’t normally buy — and in very large quantities (do we really need this much salsa?)
3: Days off from work (does not apply to us).
2: Candles (already covered this).
1: And the number one reason Hurricane Season is like Christmas...at some point you know you’re going to have a tree in your house (this could be particularly true for us since they have stabbed every type of palm tree imaginable in our development and some already look top-heavy).
One quick nugget from the Grouch’s Guano dung heap...As the graveside services ended and the elderly gentleman was laying a wreath on his dearly departed’s grave, a huge clap of thunder sounded, followed by as tremendous bolt of lightning, and yet another wave of rolling thunder. The bereaved looked at the pastor and calmly said, “Well, she got there.”
Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays.