Hurricane season strategies

I seem to fancy myself quite the
meteorologist. I guess after poring over maps and websites for so many years in
a row, I figure I know more than those flying the hurricane hunters.

So here we are in hurricane season again,
and last weekend certainly gave us a taste of some driving rain. The first hint
that I wasn’t as prepared as I should be was when the lights went out at around
1:00 a.m. last Friday and I was in the middle of heating up some food (everyone’s
typical dinnertime.) I knew that we had a gazillion flashlights somewhere in
the house, but could I lay a finger on just one of them in the dark?  In the end I was wandering around the living
room assisted by the only thing I could find – a sparkling battery-powered
light that I carried before me like one of the spirits from The Christmas
Carol. Perhaps it had come time to arrange the supplies…

As June 1st looms on the calendar the
nation collectively flexes its fingers ready to type out the website addresses
for any entity that tracks storms through the Caribbean. Do any of us watch the
Weather channel for the other six months of the year? Bless Dr. Steve Lyons –
we’re all such fair-weather friends of his. Couldn’t care less what he has to
say from December to May, but hang onto his every word in the summer. I seem to
fancy myself quite the meteorologist – I guess after poring over maps and
websites for so many years in a row, I figure I know more than those flying the
hurricane hunters. I was the one who told my friend Karen that Hurricane Ivan
was going to miss us by miles; I think I lost a bit of my following after
that.  Of course back in the day we
didn’t have the advantage of websites; we had to rely on the radio stations and
a map. I’m talkin’ a ruler and pencil folks!! I don’t know how it happened, but
for a few years the hurricane map printed in the local phone directory was
designed as a very awkward grid. Every 0.5 degrees was split into four sections
instead of the five it should have been, nicely throwing a wrench of trickier
math into the mix. Technology is a great blessing, but it’s amazing how some
websites paint a slightly different picture than others. Jumping between
Weather.com and Wunderground.com, and finally nhc.noaa.gov for good measure is
enough to make your head spin faster than a Category 5. The Cone of Uncertainty
– a reassuring title if ever I heard one.

Lynne announced on midnight, May 31st that
she was going to be purchasing supplies for the season, and woe betide anyone
who would dare touch them in times of quiet before November 30th.  At first a trickle of goods came through the
front door, but these were soon joined by more and more cans of tasty treats
and bags of potato chips (the staples my friends.)  The Lays BBQ managed to make it for a month
unscathed before disappearing one night with no ransom note left behind, but
the Spaghetti O’s (Hoops) are still intact. 
I think Lynne would be well served to hide the can opener – that’s the
key to preserving the stash.  No matter
how hungry a person is, they’ll give up hacking away at a can with a butter
knife after about half an hour.

We rounded up the flashlights just this
week and put them in a safe place, somewhere where they wouldn’t accidentally
land on toes – those Maglite behemoths filled with batteries could cause some
serious damage from a height.  We also
sorted out a camping gas burner, the family saviour through Hurricane
Ivan.  I think people can face just about
anything once they’ve had their morning coffee.

How many of us have already picked out a
spot for our cars in case of flooding? 
It’s one of the main topics of conversation whenever the subject of
hurricane season is brought to the fore. 
Like planning a strategy for the Easter weekend, we know exactly where
we’re setting up base camp for our beloved automobile.  My brother Dominic takes it one step further.
He moves the car, he shrouds the car…in some sort of heavy, waterproof
material. I always think the latter might be a little futile, but I’m sure I’ll
be reminded of my opinion when I’m paying him for lifts hither and yon as my
Expedition becomes the island’s first land-based reef.

The recent thunder, lightning and
torrential rain certainly reminded us of what Mother Nature can be hiding up
her sleeve. Seeing the palm trees being blown about and shallow puddles rapidly
turning into flooded streets brought back some interesting memories.  The experts can only predict so much about
these quite unpredictable weather systems, but what we should all do is call on
our past experience to make ourselves as prepared as possible.  I certainly realized what I considered to be
MY emergency supply requirements, and you should look at your own.  If you can’t stand fish, don’t buy tinned
sardines, no matter how wildly available they are at the stores. The day before
a storm approaches, people are hitting the battery displays like something out
of an old Wild West land grab. You should be a happy bunny, sitting at home
atop the mountain of size C’s and D’s you purchased a month in advance, ready
to power up everything from a portable fan to a radio.  Now if only I could take my own advice.

Rainy season is definitely upon us, but if
last weekend is anything to go by, there’s one resident of the Cayman Islands
not complaining about all the extra water. 
Am I the only one being romanced by a froggy chorus every night?  Bring back the roosters – all is forgiven!

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