Friday, April 9, 2010

Storm Predictions

According to the Tropical Meteorology project at Colorado State University, the 2010 hurricane season is predicted to be more active than normal. Estimates are for approximately 11 to 16 named storms, 6 to 8 hurricanes and 3 to 5 major hurricanes during the 2010 Atlantic season that runs from June through November.

That might sound like important news for folks who live along the Gulf Coast or the Eastern Seaboard, where hurricanes and tropical storms can have a direct and devastating impact. But what about the rest of the country — why should any of this matter to the rest of us?

I don't know if you noticed, but almost within minutes of Hurricane Katrina slamming ashore, the price of gasoline went through the roof. There was talk about massive damage to the infrastructure that pumps oil out of the sea floor below the Gulf, the refineries that process the oil, pipelines that deliver it, and a whole host of other "reasons" why the price of gasoline suddenly skyrocketed. And I can almost understand that kind of reasoning. After all, Katrina did a huge amount of damage. But here we are five years later and the price of gasoline still hasn't recovered to its pre-Katrina level. Seems like once they (whoever "they" are) got us used to paying five bucks a gallon, they could look like heros by slowly bringing the price back down to the mid-three-dollar range. And now, by golly, we're all thankful.

See, it wasn't about Katrina. That was just a convenient crisis that delivered an excuse to pilfer the populace and exert control over our lives. Any crisis will do, and we all know how the good folks in government administration are dedicated to not letting any crisis go to waste, to quote White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

So, am I getting all paranoid about the government? Not even a little bit. I'm not paranoid at all — I'm a realist who can recognize what's happening and call a spade a spade. Paranoia is a thought process influenced by anxiety or fear that often leads to irrationality and delusion. When I see what the government is doing to the county today, I would have to be irrational and delusional to ignore the outright theft and unauthorized use of power by elected officials and appointed government personnel.

Getting back to the 2010 storm predictions, though, I want to alert you to the fact that when big storms hit, it isn't just ground-zero that takes the punishment. Far away from the storm, you will be paying a price for the damage. Wisdom would dictate that you stock up on necessary commodities that might become scarce in the aftermath of the storm season.
  • Keep your vehicles topped up with fuel, so you aren't suddenly smashed by an overnight fuel price hike. At least you'll be able to get around for a while on the cheaper gas you had stored in your vehicle tank. 
  • If there are landscaping or construction projects in your future, get them done now, before a sudden price hike for materials and delivery costs can cripple your budget. 
  • Stock up on produce that comes from areas that might be impacted by storms. Stock your shelves with canned goods, freeze what you can, and store fresh produce in Evert Fresh Green Bags that prolong freshness and dramatically slow the spoilage of fresh foods. Search for these online or at grocery stores. 
  • Learn to use local produce in place of the foods that must be imported from storm zones. This might require some alteration of your eating habits, but that's okay. Let's not be whiners, just get on with life. 
  • Plant as much of a garden as you can, given your circumstances. Do some landscaping to include trees and bushes that produce edible fruits. Harvest and eat from your yard, freeze or dehydrate the oversupply. 
  • Stock up on other commodities. Do you have enough toilet paper? Toothpaste? Soap? Other stuff that you use on a daily basis? Some of these things come from parts of the country that might be shut down for a while. So just because you don't live in the crosshairs of a hurricane doesn't mean that you won't feel its impact. 
Hopefully, the day will come when we, as a nation, pick ourselves up out of the entitlement gutter and start doing things for ourselves. I look forward to the day when communities don't just sit on their tush and wait for everybody else to come in and rescue them — but they link arms as neighbors and dig in to start rebuilding after a disaster. Hey, I believe we can become American again — a country where we help each other, but we also help ourselves. 

There's an old story about the ant and the grasshopper. I recommend that everybody should read it, ponder the meaning of the story, and then figure out how to take personal responsibility for emergency preparedness. 

Don't put it off — the storms are coming. 

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