Quite possibly the strongest hurricane to ever hit my state is on its way here in a few days (actually, it’s probably slightly weakened since I started writing this 3 days ago–but it’s moving slowly, which is not a good thing).
I’ll admit, when I first heard about this storm (at the time it was barely a tropical storm), I figured it would fizzle out before getting here or the prediction path would shift and we’d be out of harms way.
Nope, not so lucky folks. Looks like we’re doing this damn thing. I can’t even begin to describe the mass chaos going here. Stores are out of bread, milk, water, generators, batteries, flashlights, pretty much any essential thing you MIGHT need in case you plan to spend several days in a flooded home without power or water.
On my way in this morning, I stopped by a gas station to top off my gas to be met with a line that wrapped around the station two times! I managed to GET the $10 worth of gas needed to “top off” my truck, but I’ve heard reports of stations already running out of gas and landfall for this bad boy (or girl) isn’t really due until Thursday night-ish/Friday morning. My area hasn’t been evacuated yet, but areas as close as 1.5-2 hours east of us are under mandatory evacuations already, including some of my family who are on their way to my parent’s house (my parents live about 40 minutes west of me in the neighboring city).
I’ve managed to gather a few things, but with it being about a week until payday, but budget is a bit tight and I didn’t anticipate having to hunker down in preparations for “the storm of the century”.
Work has been insane and we’ve already got word that we’ll be closed Thursday and Friday due the storm. The five days that we’d normally have to wrap up projects and meetings has now been condensed into three and it’s been a madhouse here. Not to mention the fact that I work at a hospital (on the administrative side), which is already insane on a normal day.
All of this insanity takes me back nearly twenty years (actually 22 years and 1 week ago to be exact) with Hurricane Fran. I was a child when Fran hit, but I remember the entire experience vividly. I remember the days leading up to it (the same chaos, my parents running around frantically), the night it hit and hearing trees and misc debris fly around and hit our house and such. I remember being too afraid to go to sleep as we huddled in the attic for fear of flooding. I remember when the eye passed and how quiet and eerily calm everything got, until round two kicked up and we prayed our house would stand strong.
Most of my memory stems from the aftermath of Fran. The damage it left behind was out of a movie. The entire city was without power and most of the city was without water.
To add insult to injury, temperatures skyrocketed to 90+ degrees and with no electricity, we didn’t even have fans to stay cool. We were without power easily for about ten days, but some people were without power for much longer. We mostly passed the time by listening to the radio, playing board games and sleeping (at night when it was cooler). I can’t remember if phones were working because cellphones weren’t a thing (yet) and my family was never one to occupy themselves obsessively with their landline, but I can guarantee that was out. ATMs, gas stations and stores in general were out of commission for days. I remember our neighborhood having a block party of sorts to grill out meats before they expired from lack of refrigeration.
I rambled on about that fairly traumatic experience to point out that this isn’t my first rodeo. I wasn’t quite old enough at the time to fully understand what was going on, but I remember my parents doing a pretty good job of keeping me safe.
My goal with this storm is to OVER anticipate potential incidents (like lost power FOR DAYS, flooding, no water) so that I am prepared. Luckily, with hurricanes you usually know about them semi far in advance, so it gives people time to “prepare” (or fill themselves with extreme anxiety). Over the course of this week, I’ve pretty much managed to get my hands on many of the items on my “list”…slowly, and I’ve mostly had to get these items by getting up at the ass crack of dawn and sneaking out into the darkness to go to stores that have odd ball hours or going to stores that many people wouldn’t think to go to (like today when I went to Ross to grab candles).
All in all, I think I’m ready for this damn thing. I’m ready for it to come and go so I can get back to my routine. In the meantime, all I have to do is sit back and wait for it to begin. Hopefully everyone around me prepared enough and stays safe. Hopefully there aren’t any casualties.