Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hurricane Survival: A Guide

It's been said that Louisiana has 2 seasons: Eternal Summer and Hurricane Season.
If you've lived here for any length of time you'll likely agree with me.

Hurricane season here in Louisiana is such a large part of our culture that we don't even worry about most of the things that happen in the tropics.

A storm heading for the Gulf? Gimme a square on the Hurricane Pool. Oh, and throw my name on the Saints pool, too. You know they're gonna win, right?

We're weird like that here in the Gulf States. See how alarmingly unconcerned we are with hurricanes here in the South? That's not to say that we are never concerned about them, but Katrina taught us a few good lessons:
  1. Not every storm is worthy of full-blown panic. Wake me up when it becomes a Category 3, mkay?
  2. Even a hurricane is a good reason to have a party. We seriously have hurricane parties here. (Why are you laughing??) Some folks have even been known to bring their stock of canned goods and do a "can swap". After all, there are only so many cans of beans you can eat, even if it is your only food until the power comes back on.
  3. It's just stuff. Yes, it hurts to lose it but as someone who watched her family and friends lose everything, I'm here to tell you that stuff can be replaced. If you talk to us now, we all agree that it was easier to replace our stuff than it would have been to replace our lives.
  4. Make peace with your family members now. Or at the very least, invest in some good ear plugs. You may be spending 17+ hours with said family member(s) in a vehicle headed for Heaven-knows-where, praying that your beloved relative's bad habit of talking incessantly will end, or you will have to end it for them, so help you God...Oh, wait, where was I again? Oh yeah: Assault is illegal, even during an evacuation. So is strapping someone to the roof of your vehicle for the duration of the trip. Not that I've ever thought of that or anything...
  5. Being away from your home for extended periods of time during a hurricane (aka Hurrication) can be fun. We met lots of really great people during Katrina and kept in good spirits despite what was happening.
  6. We make Hurricane Pools. We bet on strength of the storm when it hits land, where the eye will make landfall and how long until power is restored, among other things. Ya know, when life hands you lemons...
  7. Homeowners' Insurance policies don't cover flooding. You MUST buy a flood policy to be covered. Trust us on this one!
  8. MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) become a source of entertainment as well as nutrition. They're often labeled with a meal number to identify the contents. At one point after Katrina, someone was operating a website dedicated solely to MREs and their contents. You typed in the MRE number and got a list of what was inside the MRE. Handy for those times when you don't want to open the whole package just to figure out what's inside. Word to the wise: While MREs are a great thing to have in times of crisis, they were meant to sustain our military during times when food is scarce. Most have between 2,000 - 3,000 calories so be careful when eating them, lest you suddenly wonder why the pants that fit you 2 days ago no longer fit you today. True story.
  9. If you are traveling with pets and one of them starts to whine like crazy, please take it as a note to pull over and let them pee. Otherwise, your mistaking their "potty cry" for their "scared cry" could get you a lap full of warm pee. Another true story.
  10.  And rounding out my list of lessons: make a family member/friend who lives outside of Hurricane Striking Zone your point of contact for the whole family. Phone calls are often VERY hard to make to people in the hurricane's path and having one person to call to get updates from, and report your well-being to, can save your sanity. If you have any left after dealing with #4 on this list, that is.
Hurricanes, like anything in life, are easier when you're prepared.

Which reminds me, 33 days until the start of Hurricane Season 2012. Are you ready?

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