Batten Down the Hatches

So Hurricane Sandy is on its way to us.  Aside from experiencing the same hurricane on two sides of the Atlantic in 2004 (in Cuba and in Cornwall), I’ve never actually had to worry about such things before.  I also vaguely remember the UK storms of 1987 and I really enjoyed sitting around the radio by candlelight with my parents for several evenings during the lengthy power cuts, actually having conversations for a change instead of all staring blankly at the telly, but I didn’t have any actual responsibilities that time around so it wasn’t really a worry.

Hurricane season should be over now but we’ve just got wind (yes, pun intended) of this last-minute bonus “severe weather event”.  I thought we would get by without having any excitement of the weather variety this year.  We started noticing Sandy crossing the Caribbean a couple of days ago, but this is something that we’ve become very accustomed to, despite having only lived in the USA for a couple of months, and as usual we paid it only cursory notice because every other hurricane or tropical storm has passed us by without any bother.  Not this time though.

It’s pretty exciting for the hubby and me, as well as for the other Brits that we know who have been out here for less than twelve months, simply because a hurricane is not something we normally have to deal with.  As far as we can tell, at the moment the eye of the storm is predicted to make landfall a fair bit further north than here so we shouldn’t get the brunt of it, however these predictions can and do change fairly swiftly.  Whatever happens, we’ll get heavy rain, flooding and high winds, peaking somewhere between Sunday and Tuesday, or thereabouts.  So we shouldn’t have too much of a weather issue.  Hurricane Irene went right through here in July 2011 and that was a fair bit worse, by all accounts.

The issue we are really expecting to have is either losing water supply or, most likely, major power cuts.  The electricity can get knocked out at the merest puff of wind here, and it can take days to get it back.  And you thought America was a highly developed country, huh?  Multiply this by the fact that a massive chunk of the East coast is all likely to lose power at the same time, and you start to have some serious problems.

The mass panic buying started late yesterday morning and seemed to peak around tea time.  By this morning the supermarkets were out of water and no doubt a few other basic staples too.  Given the fact that the power should only be off for maybe five days at the most (oh I sound so blasé, just wait until I’ve been without t’internet for 48 hours then I’ll be moaning!) we personally haven’t gone too mad.  We already had a hurricane lamp, radio and torch passed on by some of our British predecessors out here, so I did take the sensible route of buying batteries for all of those items, along with some water, bread and cheese.  We’ll live on cheese sandwiches for a week.  The hubby then sent me back out for the secondary essentials – beer, wine, crisps and chocolate.  Oh and the flat is full of candles anyway, cos we’re romantic like that.

The weather has definitely changed over the last twenty four hours, although it now resembles your average breezy day down on the front at Southsea.  Given the fact that we normally don’t get any wind here though, this has come as somewhat of a shock.  I was thinking about it, and we’ve probably had no more than about seven days of rain since we moved out here.  We might just be making up for that over the next seven days.  Well I was only saying the other day that it didn’t feel like proper October weather out here.

So here’s to the next few days of hiding by candlelight in our designated “safe room” (otherwise known as the walk-in wardrobe) with a stash of beer and snacks until this thing blows over.  Hubby is pleased though – it looks like trick or treating might be cancelled…..

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