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NoLa, Weather, Drooling Reporters and a QOD

I'm a weather freak, one of those weird people who has the Weather Channel programed as a favorite. Snow, sleet, hail, rain, gusty wind, lightning - whatever the weather is where you are, I want to know about it. And the more dangerous the better; give me freak blizzards blanketing an entire region or thunderstorms so severe they call for hail the size of footballs.

This isn't because I like disasters, per se. I'm just a student of Mother Nature, always in awe of her incredible strength and powers. I'm fascinated by what makes a storm happen, how it travels, picks up steam and dies off. I'm mesmerized by shows of lightning and thunder, of twisters and ice storms and how all these things can convert a landscape instantaneously, whether by turning it into a white sheened wonderland or obliterating everything in its path.

Nature is something that can't be controlled and I suppose that is the main source of my wonderment. A juggernaut of bad weather headed your way is unstoppable. All you can do is hope you get the hell out of the way in time, or that you are prepared to withstand whatever it brings.

So of course I'm watching wall to wall Katrina coverage, monitoring the NHC page and checking the cams, none of which seem to be working right now.

There's something different about Katrina, though. I think it's the sense of impending doom that the media is blanketing their coverage with. The dire warnings about the city of New Orleans disappearing, the death tomb scenario of the Superdome becoming submerged, the somber details of how corpses will float up from their tombs and raw sewage will kill whoever was left standing by this hurricane. It's an apocalyptic scenario and if I'm sitting her frightened, I can't imagine what it's like for people with family in the area, let alone the people who live there.

So I'm watching the coverage now and I see that it's not going to be "as bad" as they first predicted (ohh, only a strong Category 4) and Shephard Smith is standing out on a balcony of a hotel on Bourbon Street and man, he does not look happy to be there.

So hopefully, the doomsday scenario of New Orleans being wiped off the map is just a reporter's wet dream right now. Still, it looks dangerous and scary out there and I do hope that somehow, Katrina leaves us with no more death than she has already caused.

I started writing this at 5:30 (with something else in mind completely) and I got sidetracked by obvious reports coming from my tv (It's raining. It's windy.) and morning news anchors chomping at the bit for a disasters (they could have six, ten, twelve, eleventybillion hours of hurricane weather! Any cars turned over, Jim? Can you show us some damage, please?). As much as I love weather and watching it's fury unfold, I have little tolerance for people sitting behind a desk looking obviously frustrated as they report on....nothing.

Let's cut to Andy again as he stands there in front of the swaying tree.
Andy, that tree still swaying?
Yes...I can't really hear you...
You hear that, folks? The wind is so bad Andy can't hear us...
No, no, my ear piece fell out..
Oh...Andy tell us, are you in fear for your life as this city is poised to be hit by nature's angry wrath any moment?
Actually, Dan, the storm has moved east, looks like the sun is coming out..
God damn it.
I said God planned it. Yea, it's in God's plan that you are ok.
[off camera]Do we have any reporters in Podunk? I hear some lightning hit a barn there...

Anyhow, I was reading the blog of author Poppy Z. Brite, who lives in New Orleans and she notes that she left town.

Besides the two animals and a few clothes and toiletries, here is what I brought:

-- My computer.

-- My copy of A Confederacy of Dunces signed by Thelma Toole.

-- My copy of When the Saints Go Marching In signed by Buddy D.

It's at times like these that you find out what you really cherish, I guess.

So, question of the day time. You're evacuating your home town, knowing full well that the potential is there for your home to be gone by the time the storm is over. You can only take five things (I was going to say three, but I'll be generous) with you. What do you take?


1-3. My three cats
4. Lots of cat food
5. A large bowl for water (I'm assuming that the water itself will be supplied)

There's other things I'd like to grab as well, like a photo disc and some heirloom jewelry. But, if honestly restricted to five things, any other answer I'd give would be inhumane.

1) BootzDog (the cats and the yard dogs? "On yer own, kids!")
2) My box of Munson stuff.
3) My Ginzu blades (hey! ya still gotta eat, right?).
4) Mossberg 400 w/two boxes of shells
5) Oh, yeah...WIFE (can't forget that....)

Um... my wife and four kids.

But if people don't count, I'd have to grab my PocketPC and headphones (for music), diabetes supplies, and a couple of books.

I would pack The Jackson Five.

1)My Cat
2)Cat food
2)Weaselrite guitar
3)Uncle's ring
4)Grandfather's wings
5)iPod, I guess. Something to do.

Now, 3 and 4 will fit in a pocket, so I don't know how much they count.... also, no food for me. Assuming my cat could feed on the remains of the dead, I'd bring a box of cereal, instead.

Laurence, no one asked about your flotation device.

My 2 cats
The emergency evac bag: 3 complete changes of clothes and first aid kit with both human and feline gear with two empty water purifier bottles. 3 days worth of cat food. Protein bars for me. ( yep the evac bag is a duffle bag) My PDA and my backup disc of my computer files. I have been through this before when my apartment building burned down. I have plans now for evacuation.

The Wife
The Car
A folder/Box of important documents (Insurance, birth certificates, etc)
Clean underwear

My tower, and my mst3k tapes (all 40). Maybe some of the books or cds I have but I wouldnt pick carefully.

This is assuming I'm going to a public shelter, right? Where there will be a giant crush of humanity?

The five things I want (assuming food, water, and necessary medications are a given)

1. Earplugs
2. "Sleep mask" (those things that travelers use to shut out light on the plane or in the cheap hotel room that's near the neon sign)
3. My own, comfortable pillow from home
4. Family pictures
5. One favorite toy leftover from childhood - an item that would be irreplacable, and even if I could replace it, it wouldn't be the same item, it wouldn't have the same history.

If I could take one more item to the public shelter? A big big box, like a refrigerator box, so I can go inside it and not have to look at thousands of other sad-sacks who have been chased from their homes. 'Cos I hate people, you know? And I'd almost rather risk being swept away by a giant storm than spend three or four days in a gymnasium surrounded by the noise and stink and complaints and petty theivery of my fellow humans.

Assuming the wife/kids/dog, then:

1) 3 days worth of food/water.
2) Legal docs for home, cars, kids, etc.
3) Watch collection
4) Silver collection
5) CD's of photos

Unless you're very lucky and live in one of the few places in the US that have emergency plans that include care of pets (i.e. North Carolina and Arizone), don't assume the dog's taken care of, JoeB. Shelters almost uniformly do not permit pets. Emergency supplies do not include pet food. There are few animal shelters that will take on pets, and a system for tracking pets and ensuring they get back to their owners is virtually nonexistent. Surveys in Florida and North Carolina show that there is a large percentage of people who will not evacuate an area because it means leaving pets behind. I'm working with a county in Pennsylvania to put such a plan together, but we don't have a lot of templates to work from, and we don't have a lot of resources to draw upon. If you have pets, you're best working out an emergency plan for their care, just as you would work out an emergency plan for the rest of your family.

I've been waiting to hear how New Orleans has been handling the pet situation, but I haven't heard a peep about it on the news yet.

1. the pets
2. the guitars
3. the computers
4. the 4-track
5. the husband

I was in a fire last year and had to run out of my apt. Something like this makes you realize that "stuff" is meaningless. OK, topic. I ran out with:
1. My grandmother's engagement ring
2. Cell phone
3. Wallet
4 and 5. My two cats who then ran from me. I thankfully found them the next day.

I now have a box with all my pics and important papers so I can grab it and go if anything happens again.

1. Pets
2. CD-carrier thing (it has copies of ALL my pictures in it)
3. Camera
4. Duckie (my very first stuffed animal, she was in the crib with me at the hospital)
5. Cellphone (for moblogging of course!)

Of course as soon as I hit the "post" button I'll think of something else...

1. My birth control pills, so there's no baby Katrina next spring. There's only so much to do when the power's out.
2. Condoms, in case I run out of pills before the pharmacy reopens.
3. My passport.

I guess I'd let Lionel have the other two options. I left most everything in the US when I emigrated, so I don't have many material goods here to bother with.

Amphioxus, one of the reporters on MSNBC was saying how she was staying at the only Holidy Inn in Slidell that was open with about 360 other refugees, many of whom had brought their pets.

Watching the coverage of the Super Dome, I don't recall seeing any pets being brought in there, but the hotels and schools acting as shelters may be allowing them.

As for what I'd bring, and assuming I don't have to count Anna and the pets:

1. My meds + my medical information; I'm on chronic pain medication that needs to be refilled on a regular basis
2. File folder marked "Important" with the originals of birth certficates, Social Security cards, insurance papers, etc.
3. All computer CDs
4. Pet food
5. Water

I'd have Anna's five things include:

1. CD player and selected CD's for both of us
2. Her GameBoy or whatever her new handheld Nintendo game is called, I've lost track of them all, + batteries
3. Granola bars, raisins - small snacky-type food
4. Toiletry kit for the both of us (toothpaste, toothbrushes, hairbrush, tampons, package of baby-wipes to be used in lieu of bathing facilities - save the used ones to use for TP if needed, deodorant)
5. Cell phone/charger

1. Clean underwear and socks
2. All the toiletries I can fit in one bag.
3. My Remington 870...with ammo
4. My computer's hard drive
5. Cell Phone

Thanks for that word, Trish. I wonder if that was a one-time deal with Holiday Inn, or if they have a pets permitted policy. I'm going to present that information to our emergency planning steering committee tomorrow night and see if we can't put together a list of hotels/motels in the tri-cuonty region and find out what their pet policies are and whether or not they'd be willing to waive a no-pets policy during an emergency.

Wow! This really makes you think! Until now I've been so unprepared and after Sept. 11 there is really no reason why any of us should have not realized that we need to be prepared. It can truly happen to any of us at any time. I trust that my Father will supply all my needs and therefore I know that He needs me to be a practical thinker.

1. Bible
2. Small Folder w/ins info, birth certs, ss cards, pictures, paper & pens, credit cards & cash
3. Change of clothes
4. Water
5. Toiletries: toothbrush, deod, soap

Somehow I think Katrina is just a wake-up call...