Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane A'Comin'

Well, it looks like Hurricane Irene is DEFINITELY coming to town.  The meteorologists are still tweaking the exact track and timing, but no matter when she arrives, I really don't like the whole scenario.  Why?  Because she could get here near high tide and be intense in the overnight hours.  For the latter reason alone, I think my husband agreed to purchase plywood in order to (finally) make some custom-sized window panels to use if the forecast wind speeds are still quite high on Saturday.  Since he just restored a few of our windows and since our neighbor has a lot of lawn clutter that could become airborne, not to mention our backyard has three old silver maple trees within "clobber your house" distance if any limbs come down (of a tree topples altogether), I thought it prudent to plan for at least a few boarded windows on the south/southeast side of the house...just in case.  Yes, I am probably overreacting but I thought it better to be safe than sorry since windows don't come cheap these days.

At last check (11:00 PM 8/26/2011), Hurricane Irene is still ~430 miles wide with a barometric pressure of 951 MB and wind speeds of 100 mph, a Category 2 storm.  The current forecast expects her to weaken to a moderate Category 1 (or a strong tropical storm) by the time she reaches Connecticut.  Expected wind speeds:  85 mph.  That makes Irene a bit stronger (for me) than Hurricane Bob (1991), the last storm I endured since moving to New England.  According to Wikipedia, it was the costliest hurricane to hit this area.

So, what am I doing to prepare?  Based on the possibility that Irene could be a Category 1 storm, these are the damage parameters:

- wind speed 74-95 mph
- very dangerous winds will produce some damage
- damage to roof shingles, vinyl siding, soffits, gutters
- removal of porch coverings & awnings
- window breakage from flying debris
- masonry chimneys toppled
- large tree branches snapped or trees uprooted
- power outages that could last for several days

Using this information as a guide, here is my prep list:

- stake corn plants
- harvest produce
- store empty planters
- take down & store trellis after harvesting beans

- clean up driveway & yard clutter
- dump run (if needed)
- take down hanging bird feeders
- store trash cans in garage
- install new hasp for garage lock
- strap garden shed for additional structural support (if needed)
- board up garage windows (if needed)

- remove awning hardware
- disassemble sscaffolding (for remodeling project)
- check status of oil lamps & lamp supplies
- purchase hurricane lamp & candle for kitchen table
- purchase batteries
- check operational status of all flashlights & transistor radio
- strap chimney for additional structural support (if needed)
- board up windows (if needed)

- purchase cat food & bird seed
- get pet carriers down from attic
- change cat litter
- clean bird cage

- bake bread, quick breads, & snacks for storm
- cook soups, stews, & pasta dishes to reheat on camp stove
- stock up on water & non-perishable supplies
- locate, set up, & test camp stove
- make ice packs for use in refrigerator

- make sure all laundry is washed, folded, & put away
- locate all raincoats & waterproof footwear;  stage near back door

- fill car & truck with gas
- get some cash for short-term purchases after storm
- take pictures of house exterior for insurance purposes

This has been the focus of my household activities for a few days.  Happily, my husband and daughter are here to help this time.  He is taking care of the exterior protective issues;  she is doing a lot of the cooking and baking;  I am focused on laundry/cleaning, other emergency prep issues, and monitoring storm updates.  During the last hurricane that knocked on the door of Connecticut, Katherine the Great was only one year old and King Richard was out to sea on a submarine.

So, what are you doing to prepare for Irene?  Whatever it is, I pray that you stay safe.

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