In case you missed it through all the unbelievable world news recently, there's a big hurricane named Irene out in the Atlantic... churning and taking aim at North Carolina and the rest of the eastern seaboard. Its going to be a pretty eventful weekend for millions of people.
As I've said before, I grew up in Maryland. Though I don't remember any dramatic, fear-inducing hurricanes during my youth, I can remember big storms (anyone from GMST remember having an outdoor swim meet with Big Bertha churning overhead?!). I don't recall anyone ever running amok before these storms to stockpile food and water, nail plywood over their windows, or run the local REI out of camping lanterns, cook stoves, and NOAA weather radios.
I am apparently not a child of these cool, calm and collected times.
As a graduate student, I took a meteorology class. Ever since that time, I've been addicted to the National Hurricane Center's website. Every year when June 1st hits, I typically check their maps for potential hurricane activity about 3 times per week.
Since we moved to North Carolina in 2005, there haven't been any major hurricane threats. The decimation from Hurricane Fran in 1996, Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and Hurricane Isabel in 2003 still sits at the forefront of people's minds here. Many people in this area were without power and water for several days following these storms, had flood damage, or know a storm victim.
The governor had press conferences yesterday and today, telling people not to panic but to be prepared. Well you know what statements like that actually do... they make people panic. And while I tried to be calm on the outside, my head started spinning on what I needed to do to be prepared for Irene. Although I have tracked this storm on the NHC website for days, something about the governor's statements made it all very real.
I picked up some storm-weathering essentials after work yesterday... bottled water, soup, crackers, boxed milk... things that don't need refrigeration. Of course because I went shopping when I was hungry, I also picked up some non-essential things like pudding, cookies, and pub mix. I'll thank myself for those later.
I got two lanterns that operate off of batteries to avoid a repeat of our December debacle. I also picked up loads of batteries - both for the lanterns and for all of the boys' toys. The idea of not having their toys operational during a long weekend with no air conditioning and power made me very very nervous.
I'm thinking of picked up a NOAA weather radio just to have on hand. And I asked Nate to pick up a second full gas tank for the grill. We discussed purchasing a roll of plastic to have on hand in the case of broken windows (plywood seemed a bit much). He looked at me kind of strangely.
So if you'll scroll back up to the top where I listed all of the funny nutty things people do before a big weather event, you'll realize that I have now done all of them.
Is this true necessary preparation or really just overkill? I won't know until the rain starts to fall, the wind starts to blow, the power goes out and we're happy to have food and light. Thankfully we don't really have to worry about refrigeration since we weaned Will off of his neurontin. The only thing we "need" power for is Will's feeding pump. But that can operate off of battery power for about 3 nights. And if worse comes to worse, we can charge it in the car.
Not that I'm still thinking about all of these things... I am a mom... of course I am. So for those of you out there who appear to be in Irene's path - take extreme care and know that we'll be thinking of you.