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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Run Gurl, it's a Hurricane, not a Cannibal.

Ok, I know we're obsessing over cannibals and zombies and stuff and I'll admit those weren't part of my emergency preparedness plans. However, hurricane season is decidedly early this year and a few of my friends who have moved here recently have asked whether they should really be prepared for a storm. They ask whether hurricanes are really a "big deal".

I just want to say in one word: yes. But not for the reasons that 'hurricane virgins" might expect.  

Hurricane virgins picture themselves strapping themselves to palm trees in hopes of not washing away by the massive storm surge and super-powerful winds that promises to scrub the sand of those evil sinners on South Beach. 

Those of who have experienced actual hurricanes understand what they really mean: a load of discomfort and headaches. Discomfort in the idea that there is no potable water,  electricity, TV, cable, internet, cell phones, A/C, fresh food, or ice anywhere from a day to several weeks after the storm.  In some cases your neighborhood has been so altered that you can't find your own home because of the destruction. In a worst case scenario you have no home to come back to.  I know that doesn't compare to being eaten by a cannibal on South Beach but it pretty much sucks. If you become a zombie, then I think homelessness is just part of the job description. 

So I have a few suggestions about hurricane survival.

1. Traditionally, in areas that were swampland prior to development, i.e. New Orleans and Miami, the oldest neighborhoods are tend to have the most height above sea level.  Hence, Downtown, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, City of Miami, and Miami Shores.  These areas are also, surprisingly, the wealthiest areas. It seems also that the oldest homes tend to fare better in hurricanes. So my primary advice is: MAKE A FRIEND WHO OWNS A BIG OLD HOUSE IN A WEALTHY OLD NEIGHBORHOOD. This usually applies to anybody who lives a southern coastal area threatened by hurricanes. 

2. Spending a week with a wealthy friend in a lovely Coral Gables Manse is nice. Make sure that friend you choose is not annoying.  Because if they're the slightest bit annoying with power and water, imagine them without A/C and hungry. DO NOT SHELTER IN A HOME WITH AN ANNOYING PERSON. 

3. If you find you don't have a local option. Find a friend in a nearby area that is not in the "cone of probability".  Learn about the "cone of probability". Basically LEAVE TOWN and stay outside the "cone".

4. OK, if you think the idea of sleeping in a cot (if you're lucky) in a high school gymnasium is your idea of a good time by all means evacuate to a local shelter.  Be fully aware that nursing homes, the incontinent, people with no friends, annoying people, smelly people, will all be there. I promise you it's no party. When the storm hits, you get locked in and there is a sheriff there to keep you there until "the emergency has passed".  You are on lockdown for a minimum of 12 to 48 hours. FIND A BETTER PLACE TO STAY THAN A SHELTER.

5. Easiest thing to do: STAY IN A BIG HOTEL IN ORLANDO.  The turnpike is wide open and there are no tolls charged during an evacuation. Relax, get a massage and go to the buffet.  I hear the Country Bear Jamboree plays right through most storms.

Good luck people and hope all the storms just head on up to South Carolina or Alabama (they have God to protect them.)