It’s That Time Of Year
Carol S. Billups
AT 8 PM PDT...0300 UTC...THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO HAS EXTENDED THE
HURRICANE WARNING NORTHWARD FROM CABO CORRIENTES TO SAN BLAS. A
HURRICANE WARNING IS NOW IN EFFECT FROM LAZARO CARDENAS TO SAN
BLAS. A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO
This is not what we all want to hear. The above is a clip from the National Hurricane Center on a real night not so long ago. Once season begins you’ll want to occasionally sign in to http://www.nhc.noaa.gov. This is NOT what you want to see! But if you’re going to be in coastal Mexico year round it’s a fact of life. So now, what are those ‘preparations to protect life and property’?
Let me mention that I grew up just east of St. Louis, Missouri – an area known as ‘Tornado Alley’. Later my husband Bob & I lived for some years in Southern California. Take it from me – compared to tornados or earthquakes I’ll take a hurricane any day. Primarily because hurricanes are nice enough to warn you they’re on the way. Hurricane season is officially all summer, but most of us start thinking about it in August and definitely in September. That’s when you begin checking two websites: www.weather.com and the U.S. National Hurricane center at www.nhc.noaa.gov . You will likely have two or more days notice that the nasty old storm is approaching, as it nears land they will broadcast updates more frequently. But to be a really savvy Baja resident you should start getting ready long before the storm’s approach is announced.
Supplies are limited here. Period. So you don’t want to be part of a mad dash to stock up only to find there’s nothing left to stock up on. So early in the summer you should start picking up a few supplies to lay in against a storm. Canned goods and especially drinking water top the list. Yes, like Bob & I you might have a big cistern full of water. But guess what? You need power to pull that water out of the cistern and into your house. So when the power goes off you’re toast. We like to have three or four garafons (five gallon jugs) in the house just in case. Candles are also at a premium – pick a few up every time you’re in the market and stash them in your refrigerator. Buy a few of the aptly named hurricane lanterns – at least that way you won’t have wax all over your table or countertop where the candles dripped.
Batteries are also a must-have item for all your flashlights, lanterns and radios. CaboMil will continue broadcasting during the worst of the storm and you’d probably like to hear what they have to say.
Now, here’s the part where I should know better. After the last “big one” Bob bought me a generator as a combination birthday/Christmas present. It’s still snug in its box under our stairs. Install them BEFORE you need them. And service the generator every year in June or July thereafter. Lay in a supply of gasoline to power it (remember – if power is off to the city the PEMEX station can’t pump) in summer. Or, in case you own one, fill up the tank of the Suburban. In fact, as soon as a hurricane warning is issued you should fill the tanks of all your vehicles. Sans generator you might consider having a camp stove for warming up those canned goods, a good cooler for keeping the stuff from your ‘frig edible and paper plates, napkins and hand sanitizer in a bottle. And, of course, remember to stock up for the whole family: have plenty of pet food in waterproof containers and enough drinking water for them as well.
First aid supplies are a given even for non-hurricane season. So let’s see – you’ve got food, water, batteries and candles. What else do you need?
You might want to be sure your home is equipped with hurricane clips if your roof is tile. You might also look into hurricane shutters or screens. We have the hurricane screens made out of Kevlar, we haven’t had a big one since they were installed but have stayed dry in a few smaller storms. Otherwise you’ll take water. Buy a long-handled squeegee and dustpan (we use a clean pooper scooper) to expedite the clean up process.
And what’s the very last most important thing to have on hand during a hurricane? Not a Jimmy Buffett CD, although that’s a good idea. No, the best thing is a Monopoly game – you and your family are going to have some real quality time together and you might as well enjoy it.
Take a tip from Auntie Carol: have your supplies on hand, take in all your patio furniture and relax. It’s just a big rainstorm with an attitude. How did we spend the last one? Bob and I and the fur-kids slept through it. That’s how bad it was. If your home is well built it’s not really the storm you fear, it’s the inconvenience of the time between the end of the storm and when our guys at the electric company can get the power back on. The best advice I can give you is to prepare yourself, relax, and don’t let anyone put a hotel on Boardwalk.
© 2009 Carol Billups
Realty Executives Los Cabos