Friday, May 23, 2008

Cancun Hurricane Season

Tis the season to be prepared! Technically hurricane season is June to November, though early hurricanes tend to be weak and less organized than those later in the year. After almost five years here, I no longer panic or freak out about any of it, we survived Wilma, the biggest baddest mo' fo' of them all, if we can get through that we can get through anything. I certainly don't take hurricanes lightly, but now getting prepared is old hat, we know exactly what we need to do. According to the FEMA site (which of course has nothing to do with Mexico), President Bush has declared "May 25 and 26 to be hurricane preparedness week". Ummm, perhaps Mr. Bush needs to check on the definition of "week" (I know, probably a typo but it's so fun to poke fun at Bush!). Anywho, it's not a bad idea, particularly when we see the destruction that hurricanes have wreaked on coastal areas in the last few years. The National Hurricane Center (for my money, the ONLY resource for accurate information), states that there is a 65% chance that this will be an above average year for named storms. They've said the same thing the past couple of years, doesn't seem to make much of a difference either way, the storm will come or it won't. Regardless of predictions or analysis or witchcraft, a bad storm is a bad storm and no one can stop it if it is on its way.

As strange as it is for me to support anything that Bush does, in honour of Hurricane Preparedness Week, here's my list of things to do to when we hear a hurricane is imminent.

1. Stock up on drinking water, non-perishable foods, ice in coolers, batteries, tape, cigarettes, pet food and candles. Have a bbq the day before to rid yourself of any food that will go bad without refrigeration.
2. Prep the generator (we bought it after Wilma, it's still in the box, best waste of 6000 pesos ever)
3. Tape the windows. This won't stop the glass from breaking but it will prevent it from shattering and flying through the house becoming a lethal projectile. And hey, some of our windows are still taped from the "almost" hurricane Dean last year. Our windows are FAR too big to cover with boards, but they survived Gilberto, Wilma and every hurricane in between without breaking so with fingers crossed we just give them the tape treatment. Plastic tape doesn't work very well, it peels off as it gets wet, duct tape is ok, but masking tape seems to work best.
4. Clean the yard and garden, securing any items that have the potential to become projectiles, tinacos and their lids being primary problems. This includes the dog, please secure your pooch, no one wants to get hit by a flying puppy.
5. Do the laundry. You never know when you'll be able to do it again and my mother always told me to wear clean underwear in case of emergency.
6. Back up the computer and secure important documents.
7. Disconnect all electronics and raise them to higher ground (this happens only after the city turns off the electricity and you are not obsessively checking the NHC site for updates and posting on the blog).
8. Set up the house for bestest friends who live in the hotel zone danger zone. Guests make hurricanes so much more fun! If having guests, add wine, beer and mixers to the stocking up list.
9. Charge cel phones, cameras, video cameras and laptops. Natural disasters make great photos and blogs.
10. Fill the car gas tank and get gas for the generator.
11. Take out as much cash as you can lay your hands on. Bank machines generally require electricity and phone lines, banging on them and yelling at them will not produce any pesos.
12. Call family to calm them down. Don't allow them to freak you out by telling you what CNN is saying.
12. Fill a cooler with ice.
13. Fill glass with ice, rum and coke and sit back and wait for the shit to hit the fan.

So there you have it, the lucky 13 rules of preparedness in the Canuck household. I'm not taking things lightly, but you do have to have a sense of humour about these things, otherwise you'll just make yourself crazy.

Last year during the "almost" Hurricane Dean I had my very first blogging experience writing with friends at Hurricane Cancun. The blog was a huge success, we received about 250 000 visitors in a few short days and a lot of press exposure. My photos ended up on Fox national news (yes, that's my house and Max and my friend Steve talking) and CTV (Canadian national news) did a spot from our house. So I guess this year I will add "contact media" to the preparations when a hurricane is coming, you never know when a TV crew will show up on your doorstep!


Anonymous said...

*fingers in my ears* I am not listening, la la la la..."a, b, c, d, e, f, g..."

Anonymous said...

P.S. I guess you didn't get the memo. I have canceled Hurricane Season 2008.

Manolo said...

Just for solidarity I will follow your last advice. Salud!

Theresa in Mèrida said...

The last time I was in Home Depot I noticed Hurricane film, no, not a dvd of Storm chasers, but a roll of wide (like a meter!) plastic film reinforced with crisscrosses of fiber. If I had large windows I would be eying this stuff in a serious manner.
If the hurricane gods decide to seriously threaten Cancun, you can always come to visit me! At least so far we have been safe.

ps for us it's the same as our normal winter storm/flood watch retinue from when we lived in NorCal.

Nancy said...

After spending 5 days without power last year in Washington State I'd add to your list:

- Buckets to catch rainwater or fill beforehand for toilet flushing.

We were on a well so our pump didn't work, and here in Mazatlan we wouldn't want to use up our tinaco too fast.

I love that you gave us permission to stock up on beverages to make the waiting a bit more fun!

CancunCanuck said...

Heather- Phew, glad to hear it's all cancelled, lol!

Manolo- Salud! Or, "bless you" as Max says when he forgets that it's "cheers". ;-)

Theresa- That film sounds cool, will check out the Home Depot here, thanks! Hopefully we won't have to use it.

Nancy- Yes, I forgot to add the pre-filled buckets, but we do make sure to have a couple of garbage cans full for toilets and showering, thanks for the reminder! We were without electricity for 21 days after Wilma, and therefore without water as the bomba that brings the water in is electric. That was quite a pleasure, lol. And yes, I hereby grant all hurricane prepared people permission to consume delicious beverages which may or may not contain alcohol! :)

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