Coastal Star Staff
A is for the African coast. We have it to thank for the birth of our Caribbean storms. Also Alka-Seltzer. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is when hurricane warnings get downgraded to tropical storm, or when a hurricane misses you all together like Irene did.
B is for barometric pressure. Watch the pressure drop as the storm approaches, hoping that your roof will hold up so you won’t need any blue tarps. Also for batteries, of which no post-storm home can have too many.
C is for cone of destruction or cone of terror. Some forecasters may call it the “cone of probability,” but we know better. C is also for cash. You’ll want to have some on hand when the power goes out and ATMs are rendered useless.
D is for debris — like that very large oak tree branch that falls on your house. Also for the disaster supply kit (water, food, flashlights, batteries, first aid kit, etc.) that you should have by now!
E is for evacuate, what barrier island residents should do when a hurricane warning is issued.
F is for feeder bands like those that marched through Boca from Irene. Those bursts of wind and rain are notorious for knocking out power; and for flashlights, which you’re gonna need when the power goes out during the next big storm.
H is for happy dance, which you’ll be doing when the power finally comes back on. Also for Home Depot, where you’ll be standing in line for plywood or shutters, if they still have them in stock. And then there’s hurricane hunters, those brave folks who fly right into storms to check them out.
I is for the Irene, that frightening Cat 3 that skirted us in late August in favor of a trip to New York. We’re glad she remained stand-offish! Also for ice. Stock up!
K is for kitchen, where your fridge and freezer are just waiting to go out. (Clean ’em out now!)
L is for the love you’ll try desperately to remember you have for your family after being stuck in a shuttered-up home for 12 hours while the storm passes over.
M is for misery index. It’s bound to soar if, and after, a storm strikes.
N is for that wonderful neighbor who runs a loooonnnnnnng extension cord from his kitchen to your bedroom — and suddenly you have TV, a fan and a reading lamp. Also for next-of-kin, which the police ask for when you tell them you plan to weather the onrushing storm in your barrier-island home.
O is for overwhelmed. Hard to escape feeling this way, although a plan will help. Look under R for a remedy.
P is for power outages and prayer. If you have the first one, you’ll be using the second one to get your power back.
Q is for questioning what family heirlooms to pack in the car before evacuating the barrier island. Also, for the eerie quiet when the hurricane’s eye passes over your neighborhood.
R is for reservations. Make them as soon as you can and preferably at a fine hotel where you can ride out the storm in style.
S is for surfing safety. Rip currents abound as hurricanes loom and surfers need to excersise extra caution while hanging 10. Also for shingle, the kind that flies off the roof and is capable of decapitating delicate daisies and then boomeranging back for more. Also: shelters, where you’ll need to go if you can’t prevail on family, friends or a nice hotel.
U is for the uncertainty of waiting and wondering and watching TV as the storm approaches. Will it veer north or south? Will it fizzle out before it arrives? Or will we get hammered head-on? Who knows? Also: For “uh-oh,” which you’ll be saying every time you listen to the weather forecasters predicting, “This will be the Big One!”
V is for vodka, large swallows of which can help you endure the pelting rain and howling winds.
W is for watch and warning. Do you know the difference? A hurricane watch indicates the possibility that you could experience hurricane conditions within 48 hours. A hurricane warning indicates that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 36 hours.
X is for X-ing out the days on the calendar until hurricane season is over. The season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
Y is for the yelling we will all try not to do because it’s so darn hot after the storm passes and we have no electricity.
Z is for the ZZZZZZs you’ll be missing staying up to watch the Weather Channel.