These last 10 days have been just plain weird. First, there was the earthquake in Virginia, which was felt all the way to Canada. Then there was Hurricane Irene. Of course, it is hurricane season, but usually that means all the weather personnel on all television networks from Florida to Texas are in a tizzy. If any hurricane is within 1,000 miles of Naples, our own weather people are nearly jumping up and down with anticipation and foreboding, giving us warning after warning about what we should buy, what we should do and where we should go in case a mammoth hurricane should decide to wreak havoc on Southwest Florida. Well, nothing happened with Irene in our area, except a glorious, albeit breezy weekend.
Instead, Irene decided to try to drown nearly the entire East Coast … except for Florida. Friends and relatives emailed and called, absolutely frantic about the storm and wanting to know from those of us in “hurricane alley” what to buy, where to go and what to do before Irene descended on them. So, I passed on all the information we have learned from those frantic TV weather forecasters when we were about to endure Hurricanes Charlie and Wilma so many years ago.
Since at this moment we have hurricanes and tropical depressions surrounding us, let me take a moment to review a few bullet points.
· If you are told to evacuate, do it—otherwise, if the storm hits and you are stuck, no one will be able to get to you.
· If you do not evacuate, fill all of your bathtubs with water so you can flush your toilets.
· Have at least three days worth of fresh drinking water per person.
· Have plenty of canned, nonperishable food.
· Have battery-powered radios, televisions and flashlights with enough batteries to run all of these items for a week.
· Be sure your prescriptions and important documents are sealed in waterproof containers.
· Finally, make sure your cell phone is juiced up, and be ready to text instead of calling relatives—texting can often get through when calling cannot.
None of the major national television networks knew half of this information, which was shocking. Perhaps our local weather reporters need to do a speaking tour to prepare other states for hurricane season.
As I write this, we have family and friends who are still without power and cut off from help due to washed-out roads … and Irene was “merely” a tropical storm when it hit them. Which is why I felt compelled to write my own “Ode to Hurricane Preparedness” this week—hurricane season won’t be over until November.