Something Windy This Way Comes
Batten down the hatches, kiddos. There’s something powerful brewing up for this Halloweek–and it might turn out to be way tricksier than we expect.
After an enjoyable night at Risley’s annual “Masquerave” Halloween dance (and by “night” I mean “forty-five minutes”), I woke up this morning to find my various Internet feeds flooded with meteorological news concerning both of my current “homes”: New York State and Hawai’i. Though the sudden tsunami warning issued last night in the islands fortunately amounted to nothing more than a precautionary measure, the approach of Hurricane Sandy has East Coast mainlanders in full-on storm battle mode.
Like occasional late-night treks to see the lava flow and the unfortunate smell of volcanic vog, hurricanes and other extreme weather conditions were a major part of my childhood in charming Volcano, HI–and not necessarily a bad one. When you’re young and in love with Little House in the Big Woods, an unexpected power outage is absolutely thrilling. Too innocent to worry overmuch about the dangers of storms, I would stare out of the window and watch as the sunken areas of our yard filled with water while the rain gauge overflowed like a fountain. Reading by the light of our headlamps and camping lanterns as thunder clattered outside made my life seem almost as interesting as the stories in my books.
In a completely expected turn of events, however, experiencing a hurricane while away from my family sounds drastically less romantic.
There are practical considerations, too. Back home, my house would be stocked with all kinds of food–in fact, since we lived in an area frequented by hurricanes, I’m pretty sure we also kept a kind of “hurricane emergency kit” with granola bars, extra water, and other essentials. Because most of my food preparation requires electricity, though, it’ll be hard to scrounge up balanced meals if the power goes out for an extended period of time. Recent product recalls in the natural peanut butter market have unfortunately ensured that my number-one vegetarian no-prep staple (PB & honey sandwiches) is out of the question. Still, at least I’m off the meal plan: imagine being stuck in a dorm with nothing more than a bag of chips and some cereal because you can’t get to the dining hall.
Ithaca doesn’t seem to be in quite as much danger as NYC or other areas (Cornell hasn’t cancelled classes yet, for example), but it’s still a good idea to be prepared in case of an emergency. For readers who have no idea what to expect from the (hopefully im)perfect storm, here are a couple of pointers from someone who’s survived a couple of ‘em in her time:
- Go hit up Bear Necessities (or, if you’re feeling brave, something a little farther away like Target or Tops) tonight. Regardless of any storm’s actual impact, people tend to freak out when natural disasters are imminent and end up buying everything. Wegmans was absolutely packed today, so I recommend picking up some non-perishable staples as soon as possible.
- Remember your umbrella & raingear tomorrow. Ithaca’s chance of precipitation only jumps up to 90% around 2PM on Monday, so make sure you don’t get fooled if it’s just drizzling in the morning.
- Fill up that reusable water bottle (you don’t have one? Have Cornell’s decidedly unsustainable sustainability campaign posters taught you nothing?). Actually, fill up a few if you have them.
- Got a flashlight? No? How about a leftover glowstick from Halloween party shenanigans? Round those dudes up as well.
- Be informed! Since I am apparently the only person left in the universe who doesn’t have a smartphone, take advantage of your superior technology and check on the weather reports and warnings constantly. If we’re lucky, we can weather the storm without an issue–but you don’t want to be this uninformed guy when things go wrong. (And yes, I got to see that video clip live on the news back when I was in high school: at least you inland mainlanders don’t have to worry about tsunamis too!)
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