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, Accuweather.com.
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.