Friday, August 26, 2011

Go Time

Every three hours for the past two or three days, I've eagerly pulled up the latest predicted track of hurricane Irene from the National Hurricane Center website. I keep expecting the next update to be the one to verify that we are or are not going to be in the path of the worst of the storm. Each time, it creeps a hair to the east or west, and two consecutive creeps in one direction or the other have me convinced that it's a meaningful trend. I study the slightest tip or wobble of the eye to divine whether we are in for just another rainy day or the apocalypse.

The reality is that the update that tells the real story will be the one that's too late to do anything about. It will be another 12-24 hours at least before we know with certainty if and where Irene will make landfall and how that will impact her path. By that time, it's game over in terms of proper preparation.

So far, we have stocked up on groceries, flashlights, batteries and fuel. The rest of today will be spent stowing loose items in the yard (once I quit blogging...).


Flashlights and Batteries

The boat ramp at Deep Creek had a backup yesterday afternoon, and this morning when we pulled our boat, a steady stream of trailers waited their turn. Local hardware stores are bringing in extra generators. Water bottles are starting to sell out here and there, and I've even heard of a gas station out of gas. A storm shelter has been designated at Annapolis High School. The city is handing out sand bags, and downtown parking garages are offering free parking to residents at risk from rising water. The list of preparations continues to grow.

Much of this may very well not be necessary, but we won't know until it is in fact necessary. Don't let your fear of looking overcautious keep you from taking the basic and easy precautions. The city and state are making every possible resource available, and local businesses are calling in reinforcements with respect to supplies. Better to look a little foolish now than a lot foolish later.

As for the boat we trailered this AM, it's entirely possible that it is more at risk from a falling limb in our driveway than from an unlikely worst-case tidal surge on the lift. We seriously considered leaving it down at the dock. During hurricane Isabel, though, I watched with alarm as my husband lassoed our free floating boat from an invisible pier three feet under water in the pitch power-out-darkness of night to keep it from floating away. It's not something I want to watch again.

So we've placed our bet on the wheel of falling tree and branch roulette with fingers crossed that we chose just the right spot in the driveway for the boat and cars. There is an element of guesstimation at work here, but at this point, we all still have some time to stack the odds in our favor. That time is running out, though, and today is our last best chance to tie up the loose strings.

Everyone be careful and considerate of one another as Irene approaches and in the aftermath. I honestly don't have a clue what is in store for us. If all the preparation turns out to have been unnecessary, we can be nothing but thankful. It's not like all the food I bought will go uneaten. Heck, half of it is eaten already...

PS - You know where I've always really wanted to ride out a wicked storm? Baltimore Light! How cool would it be to view it from right out in the Bay safely enclosed in a solid brick structure that's stood since 1908? I might not have as much faith in the precariously leaning Sharps Island Lighthouse or chicken-legged, wooden Thomas Point, but Baltimore Light - I would buy a ticket for that show. Although I'm not sure I'd utilize that outhouse in a hurricane or otherwise...

Baltimore Light (Daredevil Potty on the Left)

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