The Boss is caught up in a project and Linda and JJ are in court today to serve as witnesses for a former client. So today, you’ve got me—Rey—on post patrol.
I thought I’d do something a little different—nothing to do with writing or editing, because that’s not my thing. Something tweaked my interest more than usual this week: hurricanes. There’s a nasty one brewing in the Atlantic and one dancing in the nearby distance.
The only hurricanes I’ve experienced are ones on screen and those that were backdrop in two films I appeared in. They’re as awesome as they’re frightening and dangerous. The first time I heard we might be hit here on Oahu, I got super stoked. I’d always wanted to experience one. Linda thinks I’m nuts and JJ just gives me “looks” (a few years back, her sister got swept out to sea by one).
Being curious (and a damn good P.I.), I put my researcher cap on. It turns out that it’s pretty rare to get a Category 5 hurricane here, though they do tend to be rare, period. That said, given the Hawaiian Islands are pretty small . . . teeny targets sitting on this ginormous ocean . . . they’re easy to miss or swing by. Apparently, a solid sub-tropical high-pressure system in the north also helps push storms elsewhere.
In case you’re not sure what the difference is (I wasn’t): a hurricane watch means there are 48 hours to get ready (as in p-r-e-p-a-r-e) while a hurricane warning means the weather’s likely to become dangerous within 36 hours.
Some basic FYIs . . .
If you’re visiting these amazing Islands and staying in a hotel, there’ll be a hurricane/storm plan in place. Learn what’s expected. If one happens along while you’re here, call the airlines before heading to the airport: you don’t want to be stuck there hours on end. And don’t go into the water (!) even if you see surfers having the time of their lives. They’re a passionate (if not obsessed) bunch; they love those high, swelling waves.
If you live on the Islands, stay informed. If you’re on a coastline, near a stream/river, or on a flood plain, it’s best to leave. If you’re in a solid house/building that’s not situated near a coastline or rainfall flooding, you can give thought to staying. Here’s a good question to ask yourself, though: if you stay, could you do so safely?
To prepare, make sure you (among other things):
- secure heavy outdoor objects (like lawn tables and chairs, pots, bins and cans)
- see that your vehicle has a full tank of fuel (and set extra fuel aside)
- have items (like boards, lumber, and shutters) on hand to board windows and doors
- make sure there’s lots of food and water on hand (it’s suggested two weeks of water or 14 gallons per person)
- invest in a small cooler—with cooling packs—to house refrigerated items
- have lots of batteries on the ready (for flashlights, radios, Coleman stoves, cell-phone charger, lanterns)
- make certain to have a full/proper first-aid kit and an emergency survival kit on hand
- consider keeping cash handy (credit and bank cards won’t be of much use if there’s a blackout / electrical outage).
Things to do when a hurricane is near:
- Listen to Civil Defense. Leave if instructed to.
- Make sure to board up those windows and doors (and batten down anything outside that might be blown or swept away).
- Stay clear of areas where storm-surge flooding can occur.
- Evacuate sooner than later, if that’s on the agenda. Note that shelters don’t take pets, so leave lots of food and water. (I can’t imagine leaving Bonzo behind, but do what you have to, I guess.)
- Share plans with someone “just in case”.
When it arrives:
- Stay clear of windows and doors (and keep them closed, blocked and braced).
- Tuck yourself in a small room or closet.
- Lie on the floor under a table or a mattress.
If the eye of a hurricane is passing over and it’s calm for a spell, stay inside (it’s temporary, so don’t be fooled). And be aware that it could take several hours for the storm to pass.
You truly do learn something new every day, like being prepared is everything. On that note . . . I’m off to Walmart to stock up on supplies (coz ya just never know).