We had a lot of plans of things that need to get done this weekend, and now our plans are changing. Again. I turned on NPR and found out that Tropical Depression 5 is now Hurricane Ernesto and computer models show it on a path that may turn right for us.
While the models are just models and not certain fact, recent familiarity with hurricanes in the Gulf Coast now make us very wary. Yes, this hurricane could fumble and stall. It could twist and bend and smack elsewhere. Or it could come roaring right down our throats.
By Wednesday we should have a better clue, one way or the other, if this hurricane is coming for us. It could hit Friday, Saturday, or Sunday at the latest, if it continues on its present course and anticipated speed.
Now, folks, are you paying attention? Probably not. But read this closely. A hurricane is coming to the Gulf Coast of the United States and will be here by Friday. Are you packed, ready to evacuate, or ready to hunker down and get NO HELP for three to five days or more?
If I know Americans, I’d vote for not, but for us, we’re changing all our plans today and the next few days to pack up and prepare for evacuation.
Everything outside must be put inside, tied down, or tossed out. That includes all patio tables and chairs, umbrellas, plant stands, bird feeders, drying racks, and plant pots. It also means I need to get into my garden and pull out all the stakes which label what I planted where, as these can become flying debris. Hoses will be curled up and ready to store. The awning snapped and broke while I was gone and Brent removed it and stashed it under the trailer, thinking some part or piece might be salvageable. Well, all of it is for the trash heap now. We don’t have a place to store it if we move and time is short here.
A lot of things will get thrown away just because we don’t have time to mess around with things between our work and preparations to evacuate.
In the past few weeks, Brent and I have done a lot of fixing on the trailer in anticipation of a job change, as the contract is near its end. Tires need to be checked and inflated, and water tanks cleaned out and refilled. Still, a lot of the repair work has been done, though work still needs to be done on the generator. That may require a specialist, so if we move, we might include a stop at a professional repair place for that to happen as a several hundred pound built in generator isn’t something you can throw in your car and haul to get fixed.
Inside the trailer, all of the books, files, and stuff on shelves has to come down and be put in boxes. Which means we have to go get boxes. Dishes, pots, pans, and all the cans and bottles in our food pantry have to be secured, padded, and protected from the bouncing and jarring rigors of the road. Same with everything in our fridge and freezer. All computers, printers, and electronic gear that clutters our lives must be cleaned up and ready for fast stowing.
Sitting still for a while means spreading out and accumulating stuff. We’ve gotten better at this, but it still happens. So gathering and stowing all that stuff in a trailer with little storage space is painful and time consuming. Hopefully, we can get this all ready in the next two or three days, while trying to not melt in the abominable heat and humidity outside, and be ready to pull out with 24 hours notice or less.
Where will we go? That depends upon the hurricane’s path. It goes to the east of us, we head to the west, though we’ve learned we don’t have to go far as the west side of a hurricane usually doesn’t fare so bad, which is why there is flood damage but not a lot of wind and hurricane damage in New Orleans, but Mississippi, to the east, got the hell beaten out of it. If the hurricane is to our west, we head north and east as far as possible. Depending upon the size of the hurricane, when you are on the east side, there is rarely far enough you can go to avoid it totally. We ran to Atlanta for Hurricane Katrina and were smacked with it there, tornadoes, lightning strikes, floods, power outages everywhere, but at least out of the direct path.
You live in a tin box, this is your life. You are easy victims of nature’s forces.
We’ll let you know our plans as our lives now revolve around internet, radio and television weather reports. But consider this your warning. You have 5-7 days to prepare for disaster. Make the most of it and don’t whine about not expecting it. You’ve been warned.