First things first:
The Command Post has this excellent comment and cause:
“A Call to Bloggers: Join Together To Strengthen The Good”
Debwire provides powerful first-hand information about Hurricane Charley and the aftermath — personal accounting of the storm, links to helpful sites, and, photographs.
Second things second:
I thanked God a while ago for the crispy and delicious broiled chicken Sunday supper with roasted potatoes and carrots, steamed asparagus spears and cold apple cider and the peaceful silence of an earlier afternoon, spent watching the film, “Cold Mountain” again.
I refrained from writing cautionary tales and suggestions for survival here a few days ago, to precede the then-impending impact of Hurricane Charley to Florida’s West Coast, because I know from experience that everyone who could, by two days ago, had already done and those who weren’t listening or disregarded the wisened old tales of survivors like me wouldn’t pay any attention to anything I’d write anyway.
Fatalism, yes, but also experience speaking: having survived several of Florida’s worst hurricanes in my lifetime — in one case, the actual eye of one of the worst of those passed directly over me and my family and our small town in Central Florida, and then turned around and came back and passed over us again. We knew enough to spend the two days in a cinder block home with a lot of stored water on a higher hill than most away from any body of water, preserved and ready food to eat, kerosene lamps and batteries, things to keep us busy and a few radios, bicycles, blankets and neighbors.
And to open all the windows of our house on whatever side was opposite the force of the hurricane, and then close them when the eye passed over us and open the windows on the other side — the idea is to keep an exit inside the structure for indoor pressure, on whatever side of the structure is opposite the onset direction of the hurricane winds. Old-timey, but very effective if you want to keep your roof.
The morning after the eye of that worst of those hurricanes visited us twice, I went outside and saw a wooden broom handle blown horizontally straight through a standing trunk of a large palm tree. And a lot of wreckage around the area much like what happened in and around Punta Gorda, Florida from the recent visit by Hurricane Charley — downed power lines, bodies of water where they hadn’t been before and not where they used to be, anything metal and aluminum blown all the heck everywhere, including several autos floated down a nearby sloping road, partially submerged in the road basin below — our family’s Buick, however, was just fine because my brother had the wherewithall to park it in a protected cedar-block carport in the middle of an orange grove, on the downside slope of a hill behind a vacant house.
But, no tipped or destroyed mobile homes on that morning after. When I survived hurricanes in Florida — again, severe ones, one of which was the equivalent to the wind force of this recently visited Hurricane Charley — at those times past, no one lived in mobile homes in that part of Central Florida where I lived and most everyone managed well because we took the precautions we were told to take, we prepared, we planned ahead.
If there is any good that can come of cautioning people after the damage, after the fact, as in this case to those who have survived Hurricane Charley, it is to write here and now that the precautions and evacuation orders exist because some people can see farther down range than you can from your pre-stormed-quiet neighborhood, and then can see what’s coming. To stay in a mobile home or in any structure within range of an ocean’s storm surge is to risk certain doom. So, why do it?
I hear people interviewed in these days of the Hurricane Charley aftermath who say that they had no idea that the winds would be so “bad”, that a hurricane would be so extreme, that it was going to be “that terrible.” That’s why they’re called hurricanes, and that’s what 145 mph-plus wind force (or even 90 mph-plus) will do to anything and everyone: destroy whatever is movable and pretty well destroy anything that won’t move. Best to get out of the way, and count your surviving material goods afterward.
Because, staying in a mobile home anywhere in a hurricane or in any structure in a storm surge area, won’t save the structure, won’t save personal belongings, won’t accomplish anything but possible loss of life. Again, best to save yourself and those you love and worry about the material goods later; you won’t need the latter if you lose the former.
I hear the disconnect in people — same thing heard when I later lived in Hawaii and there was a Tsunami evacuation order blasted and I saw most of my neighborhood laughing at me as I took for higher ground with a suitcase prepared for-to-survive a few days, from that beachfront “Tsunami evacuation area” — I always say, let them laugh, I’ll survive instead.
But, on that one particular day, I lugged that suitcase down a few blocks to an elderly, blind neighbor’s house and managed to get the guy to follow me up the hill to the designated “safe” area — outside the reach of what was warned as a probable Tsunami to impact the Island — for a few hours until the danger passed. We returned to our homes afterward, my neighbors still laughing at me, but at least, I did the right thing. The building and those neighbors would certainly not have been there an hour later had the Tsunami impacted as it was forecast to have done when the warning was engaged after an earthquake in the Pacific northwest of Hawaii.
Watching “Cold Mountain” in my safe and secure home earlier this afternoon, I thanked God for so much. And prayed for those in need this night.
Then I scheduled another trip to COSTCO to buy large sacks of dried and canned food stuffs. Gotta’ survive the Winter.