Sunday, August 27, 2006

Preparing For Hurricane Ernesto

I went to bed last night assuming that Hurricane Ernesto was going to be an east Texas ... maybe west Louisianna storm. The last forecast I saw showed a diagonal path across the Gulf. I even commented to my wife that Ernesto would not be threat to us. She breathed a sigh of relief at that news, it's her job to open and operate the special needs shelter for our county during hurricanes. Shelter openings mean long shifts, little sleep, and being away from her family during an emergency.
This morning, I switched on the Weather Channel as I typed a post about grapes. I could not believe what I was hearing, so I clicked on my favorite weather site,
No matter where I went, the forecast map now showed Ernesto curving north and swinging back to smash against the west coast of Florida. In fact the map showed a direct hit on my county. Arrrghh!
I didn't break the news to her until after she had enjoyed her breakfast and watched an old UF Gator game on the tube. Then I went outside to make a few preparations ...


Water is our primary need. For us, our water supply is dependent on our electric supply (note to self: buy old fashioned pitcher pump). With two months of hurricane season still to go, I cleaned and filled these two Greek Pepper barrels with clean water. To each barrel, I added a little bleach (8 drops per gallon will do it) to sterilize the water. If the power goes off for awhile, we can utilize this potable water supply to get by. You can find these barrels at your local feed store. They are a food grade plastic, so you don't have to worry about the barrel material contaminating your water.

I didn't have to go buy a bunch of hurricane food supplies, because I had (for once!) prepared early with a big Rubbermaid tub of food stores early in the season. I may still pick up a few things, but the pressure is off due to the prepositioning of supplies early.


After a hurricane, there are downed trees to cut up and sometimes leaks to patch. The items on my beloved, retired GMC are just a few of the items you should have on hand.

Duct tape, rope, and tarps are handy if the house is damaged and water is leaking in. Gloves, chainsaw, gas, and oil are going to be needed if trees are down. You should have the gas on hand, because there may not be any available.

Hurricanes are grey events with sheets of rain and days of cloudy skies. After they pass though, the sun comes out in all it's skin burning glory, so you should have some sunscreen ready for that too.

I did take my shovel and clean out the little rills that drain excess water from the driveway to the pond. When that sweaty job was done, the porch gutters got a good cleaning and I installed new gutter drain strainers to keep the leaves blown by the storm from blocking the flow.

There are still things to do. The trampoline, canoes, and other yard clutter need to be secured so they don't wind up in the living room. We need to gas up the cars tomorrow, in case we need to bug out. I don't see us bugging out on Ernesto, the forecasts seem to fluctuate between a Cat 1 and a Cat 2.

The forecast map at 9:00 pm Sunday evening shows the storm sliding up the peninsula ... no big change so we will see what the week brings.

I know what tomorrow's lesson plan will be.

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Hurricane Teen said...

Yes! This might be the only storm we have this year! Enjoy it while it lasts! At least that's my perspective. It's supposed to come directly over where I live as a hurricane, too, so you can imagine how excited I am...Have fun doing the rest of your preparations!

kevin said...

FC, good luck with the hurricane prep. I was suprised by the track when I checked the weather today, too. My storm prep consists of calling Kelly and asking if she is ready. It sucks being so far away.

Laura said...

Great idea for the water supply. I was wondering what you all would do for water, living out in the country too.

We're still watching the storm, hoping it continues to weaken. Cuba will be a big factor this time around!

Ray & Jay Monkey said...

Hello from down under in New Zealand. Boy o boy o boy - we don't know how lucky that we are down under in NZ. Even though we are surrounded by the sea we have yet to experience what you have to go thru to be prepared and worst still what you go trhu afterwards.

threecollie said...

We have been thinking of you and yours as we watched the storm track from up here. Hope it doesn't go too badly for you.

pablo said...

Good luck. If you get a chance, steer that ole hurrycane to the Ozarks where my lake could use some water.

Debbie said...

I don't see chocolate. You are not really prepared until you have a supply of chocolate.

Hal at Ranch Ramblins said...

I hope Ernesto peters out and you only have a tropical storm to deal with as it passes your way. Thanks for the tip on the water storage barrels. I have been meaning to buy a couple but haven't gotten around to it yet - I guess seeing a hurricane tracking towards one's home is a wonderful motivater!

robin andrea said...

I just checked and it looks like you're still under a hurricane watch. Looks like you've done all you can to be ready. Wishing you good luck.

Mrs. S said...

Wow - talk about always prepared! I suppose you'd develop a knack for this type of preparation, but still... it boggles my mind. I've always loved "wild" weather, myself, but these hurricane things don't sound like my cup of tea... too much preparation involved.

swamp4me said...

Ah, the joys of hurricane prep...even though it is a long way from NC, we got our orders today: Have everything ready, NOW!

kevin said...

The latest track( has Ernie coming on shore in the Keys and heading NNE and moving offshore south of Cape Canaveral. Good news for you. It could mean higher winds for NE Fl.

Floridacracker said...

Hurricane Teen,
Enjoy future meteorologist! It's coming your way.

She's got a good support group. Per your second comment, ... good for me, worse for the parents.

These barrels were used to ship pepperoncini Greek peppers to the states so you have to clean them really good to avoid water that tastes like a Pappas Greek salad.

Ray and Jay,
Welcome Kiwi's!!
It's not that bad, you get used to it.

The track shift is good news for us, but I don't want to miss the experience, so I hope it doesn't shift too far east.

If'n I were Pecos Bill ...

Don't worry, it's always present.

I love these barrels. I use them for all kinds of things. Thanks for the good wishes.

It'll be an easy one. Hopefully the rain will be torrential!

Mrs. S,
It's alot worse to be unprepared believe me.

There go your wild muscadines!

Thunder Dave said...

Haven't been on Weather Channel yet, when do they expect landfall, and where?

Also a bit of Process Safety advice: switch to metal gas cans. Plastic containers have been known to give a static spark. With as much lightening (from the sky not my wife)as you get down there I thought I'd pass that along!

Floridacracker said...

Now, you know that advice seems exactly opposite of common sense. Is it just me?
Plastic sparkier than metal ...huh?

...are you making this up?

Thunder Dave said...

No man, this is a real issue! Metal is able to be grounded, and is less likely to build a static charge while sitting in storage. Plastic is capable of holding a static charge and cannot truely be grounded.
Another reason when you touch the spout of the metal can to the object being filled it grounds the can to the object, therefore a static spark cannot occur during filling. Again the plastic spout does not form a ground with the object to be filled!

Thunder Dave said...

Oh, I forgot to add: This is exactly what you do when you fill your car. By inserting the nozzel of the pump into the gas tank you are forming a ground between your hand and the pump, and then between the pump and the car. This helps to prevent sparking during filling.

However, if you then let go of the pump, get back into your car and pick up additional static charge, then when you grab hold of the pump handle again you risk discharging the static spark.

This usually results in a lead story on the 6:00 news! :-)