I now have something to take my mind off of the weighty issue of whether my cups and glassware are stored correctly. There’s a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico that is heading my way.
You would never know it from the weather outside right now. It is hot and sunny with barely a breeze. By tomorrow we may have squalls and by Wednesday either hurricane or tropical storm force winds, depending on how quickly the storm breaks up over land. Since Isaac isn’t even a hurricane yet, it’s not likely to get as bad as Gustav, but you never know. We’ve had hurricanes strengthen, weaken, or veer off in a completely new direction before.
If I lived closer to the Gulf, I’d probably be heading to the hills right now, but there are some problems with evacuating. One of them is finding a place to take you in. Motels and hotels fill up quickly, which means staying at an emergency shelter. Another problem is traffic, which in an evacuation typically inches along at a crawl. If you wait until you know the storm is heading your way, you might be on the road stuck in traffic when a tornado formed by outlying storm bands hits.
The biggest problem, to me, is that storms change directions. Many years ago, during Hurricane Andrew, my husband drove to New Orleans to get his mother so she could stay with us during the storm. It then moved to the west, bypassed New Orleans and hit us, as a tropical storm, instead. So she sat in the dark with us when she could have been cozy at home. Years later, in Florida, several counties evacuated before a hurricane, only to have the storm switch course, cross the peninsula, and hit the area to which they had gone to seek shelter.
I’d rather run those risks than shelter in place in the low lying areas along the coast or in New Orleans, but Baton Rouge is higher and less vulnerable. My house is also situated near a hospital and we have almost always had our power back within hours of storms passing. The one time I had to wait 36 hours (after Gustav) I felt aggrieved. Meanwhile my friends in rural areas were waiting weeks. If I lived in a rural area, I would own a generator for sure.
So we are preparing: the cars are filled with gas, phones are charging, yard is being cleared of debris, we have canned goods that we can cook on the burner of the propane grill.
And while I’m stuck in the house by candlelight waiting for the storm to pass, it might be the perfect time to rearrange all my cups and glassware.