Friday, August 26, 2011

Natural disasters

Irene, extraordinary, expensive - high maintenance lady

As anyone has likely heard, hurricane Irene is on its way. It will hit the coast of North Carolina today as a category 2 hurricane - but, will pretty itself up for a trip to Manhattan, where it will pull out all of the stops as at least a category 1, possibly a category 3 storm.

Why is this a problem? Well, New York is low lying, and in the Northern end of a well traveled storm path known as the Gulf stream. We are particularly susceptible to storm surges - which are arguably the most dangerous part of a hurricane. Thing is, we get tropical depressions and Nor'Easters, but we haven't seen a landfall hurricane possibly ever...and certainly not one close enough to do serious, serious damage since 1938....and that was a glancing blow.

Irene promises to be different. It is a very large and slow moving storm that will move over, what I now understand, to be unusually warm water surrounding the city. As you likely know, warm water = hurricane speed up.

Irene is special for another reason. New York is in the direct path of her crapness. What does this mean? It means the stuff you saw in the ill thought out godzilla remake in the mid-90s is actually happening. The city is simultaneously shutting down mass transit and ordering mandatory evacuations AT THE SAME TIME. I'm not sure if you will see people running back and forth around a big green foot, but the situation is serious enough that we've had to do three I didn't think I would have to do.

We had to make a "Go bag", an evacuation plan and an emergency connection plan

H and I are still working on the evacuation plan. His employers and I are in disagreement about the risk of this hurricane. Right now, they want him to report to work. If he insists on being there, maybe we will hole up in that building.

We made an emergency connection plan - if we are separated, we will meet at specific, public location.

The Go bag - unexpected expense - we dropped about $80 on it yesterday. I'm budgeting it into "household expenses". Our go bag contains

a) all important ID
b) water
c) first aid kit
d) all portable hard drives
e) toothbrush, toothpaste
f) energy/granola bars and tin goods
g) pet food
h) cash
i) my laptop = my dissertation
j) underwear
k) flashlight, spare batteries
l) medications

Beside that, we stocked up on food and water, and have a blanket and pillows ready for an evacuation.

Now we just need to settle that evacuation plan. So far, leaving the city and living this out in inland Connecticut is very appealing, but will cost a pretty penny.

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