Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tomorrow, June 1 marks the official start of Hurricane Season. Yippee.

After donating last year’s canned goods in a recent food drive, I stocked back up for this season. Still need to get water… turns out there was a gallon from 2 years ago in the back of the pantry. It sprung a leak. That’s why the “use by date” is 2 years from when it’s bottled: isn’t not that the water goes “bad” but the plastic just can’t hang anymore.

Today’s paper had a special hurricane preparedness section with checklists, contraflow maps, lists of this year’s storm names, etc. I think even more helpful was Saturday’s column where readers sent in their thoughts. Another article that really interested me was “Airport a vital escape route from storms.” What fascinated me was this:

During Hurricane Gustav, federal officials originally wanted to stop flights about 10 a.m. on the day before the storm made landfall, but airport officials were able to get a few more hours of flying time, Wilcut said. "That allowed us to get a lot more people out of the city," she said.

The last flight out was Aug. 31 at 6 p.m., according to news reports. The storm made landfall the next morning about 10:30 at Cocodrie.

For Gustav, the airport opened again to commercial flights on the afternoon of Sept. 3. It took about two weeks to reopen to commercial flights after Katrina, Wilcut said.

As Gustav made its way towards Louisiana, I was road tripping from Georgia to New Mexico. Aug 30 Aug 31

I’m glad the airport didn’t close at 10 am August 31, because I would have been stuck in Dallas. I was in a serious race against time to make it back to New Orleans to help Greg evacuate. My friend in Albuquerque said I was welcome to stay as long as I needed to, but I would have lost my mind. I couldn’t even sleep the night of the 30th, I was so amped up with a singular thought “I must get home.” Not only would there have been a period of time during the height of the storm when I would have no idea if Greg was OK, but who knew how many days it would have been before the airports reopened. As you can see, after Gustav it was a few days. After Katrina, two weeks. One of the most important lessons I've learned about hurricanes and storms is no two or exactly alike.

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