Hurricane Irene Before
We live in Hampstead NC, eight miles north of Wilmington. From the center of our little town, we’re eleven miles from Topsail Island and the mighty Atlantic Ocean. On the east side of Hampstead, we have wonderful high bluff lots along the Intracoastal Waterway and less grand, lower ground, Intracoastal lots and both deep and shallow water creek sites. But, most of us don’t live on the water and are only worried about clogged storm drains causing street flooding or water backing up in our yards. All have concerns about flying debris and our worst fear - a tree falling on our homes. The storm will be coming in during the night which means we won’t know until daylight what’s happened.
But, before dark closes us in our cocoons, we have lots of storm preparation. We’ll empty front porch, deck and screen porch of every last item that could become a loose missile hurtling through a window or tearing off screen. It’s a big job and, since all that stuff has to go somewhere, means loading our garage and parking our cars in the driveway. That’s fine because there’s no looming tree there and having them in front protects the doors from wind.
As usual, since we hate this part of preparations, we’ve waited till the outer bands of rain started. We’ll be soaking wet when we’re finished. But, since we’ve done this before, we’ve developed a few simple techniques to save steps. John’s put air in the tires of my bright yellow garden wagon. I can haul 2 large tropical plants from the deck to the garage without a huge expenditure of energy and without throwing my back out. Between the porch furniture and the plants, we’ll make at least thirty trips to the garage.
Everything else is done. The generator tested, batteries and water bought, last trips to the grocery store made. I’ve washed everything so we’re starting with clean towels and sheets. We’ve frozen bottles of water in the freezer. If we lose power during the storm, they’ll help preserve food until the storm has passed sufficiently to allow us to hook up the generator. The year we bought our home, we hired an electrician to add a separate panel for generator. We’ll be able to run our air conditioning, refrigerators, computers and lights. Since we have a gas cooktop fueled by propane, cooking won’t be an issue. Unless we are days without power, it will all represent only minor inconvenience. Minor inconvenience sounds pretty good to us in the “before Irene” stage of acceptance.
Living here insures we’ll deal with this from time to time as the coast of NC is hurricane alley. It is the price to be paid for having the ocean, metaphorically speaking, in our back yard. And, we’ll gladly pay it as we love this area and, after all, every area has some downside. Our last home in Atlanta, was tornado alley with no beach.
Yes, as long as a tree doesn’t fall on our home, we’ll be fine. And, if all this preparation, this ton of work turns out to be unnecessary, that will be ok too! Yes, we’re hoping it’s all a big waste of time!
We’ll know tomorrow!!