Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Making a Disaster Kit

The United States Navy has come out with videos designed to help service members and their families prepare for disasters and other catastrophic emergencies. If you're not a service member, when they talk about what the Navy or the command requires, just think about your employer. Some businesses, such as hospitals, first responders, and news media will need employees at work. No matter who you work for, you need to know how to contact your supervisors and how to find out about closures and changes in operations.

Learn more by visiting the Operation Prepare YouTube Channel or blog. You can also follow Operation Prepare on Twitter. Operation Prepare also has a blog.

My blog is mostly about hurricane preparedness, but if you have a disaster plan and an emergency kit, you will also be able to handle just about anything else that may get thrown your way. These videos and other resources provided by the U.S. Navy are a great introduction to disaster prep and if you do have a plan and a kit, it's a great refresher for an actual emergency.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Goodbye, Magnolia

We bought our house early in 2004, and that summer, as Florida was getting slammed by hurricane after hurricane, my dad cam over and worked with my husband to trim back our beautiful magnolia. It's very close to the house, and at that time, a lot of limbs were growing over the roof.

Beginning on September 15 and for the next 24 hours or so, Hurricane Ivan pummeled northwest Florida. The Magnolia did not damage the house. A pecan tree in back was left leaning precariously, and we were lucky enough to find some guys (aka The Three Stooges) to remove it for a couple hundred bucks. Most people were charging far more, because the work was plentiful and homeowners were desperate to prevent any further damage.

We talked about taking the magnolia down then, but I love the flowers, and being a much larger tree, it was going to cost a lot more than a couple hundred bucks to remove.

Fast forward to 2009, and my cousin has a tree service now. He's been doing some work for my mom and gave us a really good price for removing the Magnolia. The tree's roots have already damaged the foundation of the backyard shed, and they're making the brick patio all wavery. They could threaten the foundation of the house, and in a major hurricane, it's a very real threat to our roof.

Monday, it's coming down.

When was the last time you looked around your yard to assess potential storm damage? Do you have trees close to your house, do the limbs come close to the roof or windows? Do puddles form in certain areas after a moderate rain, potentially flooding in a really heavy or sustained downpour?

I really hate to see the Magnolia go, but by taking it out, we are protecting our home from damage above and below. What can you do to protect your home?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jimena weakens, Erika arrives

Hurricane Jimena is now a moderate Cat 3 hurricane, expected to make landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday. The storm is now moving north alongside the Baja peninsula, its powerful winds stretching over the narrow land mass to batter homes and businesses. A hurricane's strongest winds are typically east of the eye, and that's the part of Jimena that is stretched out over the Mexican peninsula. It's good news that the storm has weakened from a powerful Category 4 to a mid-range Cat 3. It's still a massive and terrible storm that will cause a lot of damage. By Sunday, the system is expected to degrade to a tropical low, which will certainly dump a lot of rain on the southern parts of California and Arizona.

With sustained winds of 50mph, the Atlantic's newest named storm is barely a Tropical Storm. The National Hurricane Center anticipates T.S. Erika to gain a little strength over the next couple of days as it moves west-northwest in the Atlantic, but forecasters believe a strengthening shear will then knock the wind out of Erika's sails. So to speak. The NHC's track keeps the storm east of Florida.

It's worth pointing out that a couple of the models, this according to the NHC, predict that an "anticyclone" will form near Erika and fuel the storm, maybe even taking it to hurricane strength. Out of six computer models mapped out on Weather Underground, three mimic the NHC's official track. The others keep the storm moving west towards the Caribbean.

Watch and wait.