Hurricane Week: Beware of Those Carpetbaggers From Atlanta

Editor’s Note: As the first week of hurricane season is upon us we at Triple B have decided to dedicate this week to the three phases of the storm, before it arrives, its arrival, and the aftermath following its departure. While this information is mostly geared to residents of coastal states in the path of storms we encourage all of our readers to learn about the three phases of the storm. Today let us turn our attention to what happens once the storm arrives.

During a hurricane there are two types of residents. Those who are riding the storm out in their homes and those that went elsewhere during the brunt of the storm.

As a rule of thumb I tend to ride out any storm lower than a category 3. Storms larger than that and I will be one of the first ones pointing my car to dry land.

For those who stay behind the roads can be hauntingly quiet with the exception of emergency vehicles and others who have to be out on the roads.  For the most part just prior to the arrival of the storm local authorities will urge residents to clear the roads and seek shelter.

A news van from New Orleans waits for the storm to hit in Pensacola. Photo R. Anderson

A news van from New Orleans waits for the storm to hit in Pensacola.
Photo R. Anderson

There is of course one group of out of towners that do not heed that warning since it was the storm that brought them to town in the first place.

I am of course talking about the national reporters from Atlanta.

Okay, so the reporters come from elsewhere as well but with CNN and the Weather Channel based in the Peach State of Georgia it is a fitting statement.

For almost as long as there have been television reporters, residents of areas bracing for the storm have dealt with the arrival of reporters from various news outlets hoping to ride out the storm and win an Emmy in the process. This relationship of course can put revenue in the pockets of local hotels but for the most part it amounts to a lot of wind blowing much like the storm itself.

The reporter battling the elements cliche is one that is played out whenever nature strikes. Perhaps no where is this shown in its silliest sense than when a hurricane is involved.

Reporters dressed in their best outer wear try to convey that the storm is bringing pounding winds, waves and of course rain.

Rain and wind are two things that are never in short supply during a hurricane. Photo R. Anderson

Rain and wind are two things that are never in short supply during a hurricane.
Photo R. Anderson

Since television is a visual media it does not do to simply report from the dry comfort of the hurricane command center about the conditions outside.

Oh no, the reporters from parts local and far and wide go out in the elements to share just how powerful the storm is.

Of course the reporters while well meaning tend to turn it into a comedy bit when they do leave the safety of the hurricane command center. And I will admit to watching some of the continuing continuous coverage just to see the unintended comedy bits from the reporters.

To be clear I am not wishing damage to anyone’s person or property during a storm it is just that some reporters go way overboard in trying to sell the story and quite frankly it makes for very compelling television for all the wrong reasons.

Common missteps including inability to hear the report or losing that all important visual link have all been experienced through the years by reporters covering from the heart of the storm.

There are even the reporters who get knocked down by the wind gusts but as one-hit wonder Chumbawamba would say they get back up again.

Then there are the reporters who try just a little too hard to sell the story.  I forget which storm it was but there was a reporter covering the terrible flooding conditions here in Houston. The reporter appeared to be up to their waist in floodwater and valiantly doing their live shot.

The only problem was when the camera operator panned back to show the scope of flooding a man could be seen a few feet away from the reporter in ankle deep water. So that can only mean one of two things. Either the reporter was sitting down in the puddle to make it appear worse than it was or the man behind her was a giant in search of his beanstalk.

Fe fi fo fum I smell an over reaching reporter, hmm.

Reporter embellishing aside, the swarm of reporters can serve a good purpose for the residents who were smart enough to leave the area ahead of the storm.

Despite warnings to the stay out of the water and the risk of deadly rip currents hurricane enhanced waves are hard for many people to avoid. Photo R. Anderson

Despite warnings to the stay out of the water and the risk of deadly rip currents hurricane enhanced waves are hard for many people to avoid.
Photo R. Anderson

A few years back during Hurricane Ike my parents were able to see their house on national television a day after landfall.

Normally one would not want to see their house on television since reporters rarely are there just to say hello. But in this case the sight of their home seemingly in one piece gave them peace in knowing that aside from some downed trees chances were it was not as bad as they had feared it could have been.

Conversely my house did not have a news crew drive by it so I had to wait until I got back home to see if it had survived the worst of the floodwater and the wind.

Another group aside from reporters that makes a beeline for the shore as the storm is hitting are of course the surfers. Big storms bring epic waves and when the waves are 10-12 feet above normal it makes for a temptation that is hard for some to resist.

Sadly there are often deaths related to people underestimating the power of the waves in the storm. It is not uncommon to hear reports of people drowning or getting swept away by the waves while standing on a dock.

So enjoy the waves from afar and enjoy the pratfalls of the out of town reporters from the dry comfort of one’s home. Hurricanes can be very powerful and they can be very deadly. It is crucial to keep that in mind and never tempt the belly of the storm.

Now if you’ll excuse me all of this talk about waves has me curious to check tomorrow’s surf reports. Cowabunga dudes.

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson

Hurricane Week: The Rain Bands are Coming the Rain Bands are Coming

Editor’s Note: As the first week of hurricane season is upon us we at Triple B have decided to dedicate this week to the three phases of the storm, before it arrives, its arrival, and the aftermath following its departure. While this information is mostly geared to residents of coastal states in the path of storms we encourage all of our readers to learn about the three phases of the storm. Today let us turn our attention to what to do before the storm arrives.

As I have mentioned before I would much rather face a hurricane than a tornado any day of the week.

That is not to say that I want to experience either. But given the choice of the two, hurricanes are preferred in that they allow more time to prepare people and property prior to their arrival.

The time to prepare for a hurricane is long before the first rain bands hit. Photo R. Anderson

The time to prepare for a hurricane is long before the first rain bands hit.
Photo R. Anderson

For the most part residents in the path of a storm will know days in advance of the likelihood of their being impacted by the storm through computer modeling and tracking.

It should be noted that the tracking models from various agencies around the world do not always agree on the path of the storm which leads to models showing a variety of impact zones.

These impact zones are than tabulated to create a cone of uncertainty where the center of the storm is most likely to arrive. Of course depending on the size of the storm, impacts can be felt for hundreds of miles away from that landfall area where the eye touches dry land first.

Once a storm is predicted to hit a certain region the residents spring to action and buy up all of the water and other supplies that they can get their hands on.

Of course, one does not need to wait until a storm is barreling towards them to get their supplies. In fact it is best to get the Hurricane kits made early in the season so that in the event that a storm if approaching time can be used for securing property and planning an evacuation from the path of the storm as needed.

So what should a good hurricane kit include?

While each kit can be tailored to the person making it a general list of items to include in a hurricane kit includes a first aid kit, water, supplies, documents, clothing, and of course food. The general rule is that the kit should allow enough supplies to last three days.

Let’s look a little more into each of the areas, shall we?

The American Red Cross recommends a first aid kit for both home and car ahead of the arrival of a hurricane. Photo R. Anderson

The American Red Cross recommends a first aid kit for both home and car ahead of the arrival of a hurricane.
Photo R. Anderson

First Aid Kit: A first aid kit for both car and home is a good rule of thumb. The kits should include prescriptions, band-aids, antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes, bandages, gauze, tape, pain relievers, antihistamines, latex gloves, safety pins, tweezers, aspirin, antacids, a towel, Calamine lotion for insect bites, insect repellent, tissues, and sunscreen. As water is a major component of Hurricanes the kits should be placed in water proof containers to protect them.

Water: The American Red Cross and other agencies recommended having one gallon of water per person per day. Half of the water is used for drinking with the rest being available for hygiene.

Supplies and Tools: A fully charged cell phone and flashlight will be useful in the event of electricity going out. Having a car charger for the cell phone is also worth packing. A battery powered radio with plenty of spare batteries is also a good thing to have in order to hear updates and instructions that may come across the airwaves.

Plenty of flashlights and batteries can shed light on dark days after a storm knocks out power. Photo R. Anderson

Plenty of flashlights and batteries can shed light on dark days after a storm knocks out power.
Photo R. Anderson

Do not assume that there will be power and cable service. It is best to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.  Plastic utensils, paper plates, plastic bags and napkins and antibacterial wipes are also important.

Documents: Passports, birth and marriage certificates, social security cards, deeds, insurance papers, wills, and other important paper work should be placed in water prove containers as well and ready to grab quickly in the event of an evacuation.

Clothing: Assuming one might not be able to bathe for a few days change of clothes can be very important to help feel less overwhelmed.  In addition to the normal items one might wear since rain will likely be a factor it is good to also pack waterproof outer clothing and boots to avoid that soaked to the bone feeling.

Non perishable food like the items pictured are crucial to have after a hurricane hits. Photo R. Anderson

Non perishable food like the items pictured are crucial to have after a hurricane hits.
Photo R. Anderson

Food: Be sure to stock up on non-perishable foods. Some of the best items to consider are energy/protein bars, crackers, peanut butter, nuts, canned fruit and vegetables, canned tuna/chicken, cereal, dried fruit, and even baby food. And of course even though many cans offer a convenient pop top opening don’t forget a manual can opener.

This is of course in no means a complete list of items to grab before the storm but it is certainly a good starting point for anyone in the path of a storm to keep in mind.

I have ridden out storms where the electricity didn’t flicker once and I have had storms where I lost power so no storm is exactly alike and all regions are not affected the same way. I do know that when the power is out it is definitely not the time to go try to find batteries at the store.

Proper preparation prior to the storm definitely makes riding out the storm more comfortable.  At least as comfortable as it can be.

Now if you’ll excuse me all of this talk about canned goods has me tasting some canned ravioli. I just hope I remember to save some cans for the supply kit.

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson