Thursday, August 25, 2011

If a Hurricane Is Headed Your Way

Number one, do NOT hole up with a bunch of people and throw a drunken hurricane party. That only works when no one decides to drive drunk in the storm, climb a tree to experience the full ambiance of the occasion, or use fire as a means of illumination if the power goes out. It only works if you aren't getting that much of the brunt of the thing.

A powerful hurricane blowing through the 'hood is not reason for celebration. Being on top of things is, but not drunken celebration. Of course I have little tolerance for drunks anyway. Reminds me of dark days in the past, and I hate the flow of conversations and emotional dynamics.

The last thing you want if trees come through the roof or sticks break windows is to be in the middle of a bunch of drunks. If you've done your best to batten down the hatches, taken measures to secure the property, planned for power outage and possible flooding by having ample light sources, exit plans, easy food, plenty of water and all that, then just relax and slow your system down. You can't change it by constantly expecting some earth shattering info from the weather channel in the middle of the fray. They said the hurricane was here 30 secs ago, and it still is--look outside.

Don't expect light trailers, flower pots and anything with significant surface area to stay put on its own. Stow those things inside that will fit, and tie those other babies down. If you have trees that could go onto the house, depending on size and such you can tie them off to one another in order to influence the trajectory of their fall. I've done it and it works, but you have to think and look at it for awhile. It usually takes tying up high in one and down low in the other.

I can't stress the tying down of things like camper trailers enough. When Hurricane Andrew was about to hit southwest Miami I helped a guy tie a camper down. He was more in a hurry than I was and it was his so I did it his way. The early gales were blowing in and it started to work on me. I went back and tied it the way I thought would work--overkill in his mind. I finished when things were getting way to dicey to hang outdoors. Within the hour the first tree in their yard blew down. I was trying to sleep. My girlfriend comes in all aghast, "John, a tree blew down!!"
Did it come through the roof or in the house?
So, do you want me to go outside and put it back up? This is not a thing I need to know right now. By morning there will be more trees down.

By the time it was all over it was clearly evident that the only thing that kept that camper from blowing into the house were the extra lines I added. Do not think in terms of the least in such cases. You never regret over engineering such things.

Having experienced many major hurricanes growing up, and being responsible for major cleanup since age 9, and because I like to give advice, I thought I'd offer this public service announcement. It is certainly of more value than telling you that taking the stairs rather than the elevator burns more calories. Seriously, if you have to be told that you are probably a burden on society and everyone around you. Why would I want to prolong your life? Boy I am mean.

Oh, and do not assume government agencies will take care of you and that they are there to think for you. Use your own head and if the water is getting high, start figuring ways to get out of it. And for God's sake don't claim you wanted to evacuate but no one (meaning government agency) showed up to give you a ride. In other words, do the opposite of almost everything the press showed people doing during Hurricane Katrina.

Unless I lived in a really flimsy house, about the only reason I'd evacuate is if there was strong change of a serious storm surge which would put me under water. Or if I had a helicopter. If you do have a helicoptor and it is not parked in a very solid hangar, I suggest flying it out of there asap.

I'm hoping for the best for all areas in the path. Bizarre that I was just out there on that side view window of North Carolina, Ocracoke Island, and my buddy Joel was saying that the way they've built up some of the outer banks they are fried if the big one hits. So, there we are.

People will be in shock that three story stick houses on tiny islands in the Atlantic suffer greatly when hurricanes hit. They are shocked every time it happens, and it happens a lot. They'll probably come back with four story stick houses.


  1. Hot tip. Make BIG BLOCKS of ice in the freezer and when your power goes out you are ready for a week. Small ice cubes melt too quickly. I'm armed to the teeth....

    Ice is a precious commodity in the aftermath. PRECIOUS. I get fat after a hurricane because we grill everything under the sun after working all day.

  2. Hurricane certainly hot topic. Remember the hurricane party on the Panhandle in a motel that was brick rubble the following morning. No survivors.

    Remember tieing my plane like spiderman, with cinder blocks hanging from the prop and fuselage wrapped and tied to tent stakes, all other tiedowns doubled. Got there to find my plane intact but a Navion on its bank leaking fuel from the tip tanks. Fortunately CFR was also there foaming it.

    And when you generslize about residents' response to Katrina, I think it is quite different between La and Miss. f

  3. I'm talking the televised New O response.


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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
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