Friday, January 4, 2008
Storm Watch 2008!!1!!
This could very well be my last post judging from the way the weathercasters are talking. Since Tuesday I have heard such dire predictions of not one...not two...but THREE HUGE STORMS headed our way. Ten inches of rain! Batten the hatches! Get your sandbags! Build an ark! Get new wiper blades! Oh, the humanity!
The first storm was to come late on Thursday, followed by a real doozy all day Friday, and the final blow on Saturday. Well, here it is Friday night and the rain finally started about 5PM. More of a blowing mist than a downpour, although now it is a little heavier.
The weather reporting in Los Angeles is an example of pure frenzy-making sensationalism. I'm sure it is born of the fact that for most of the year the weather really is unchanging and predictable. So any time there is a chance for a drop of water or a gust of wind all hell breaks loose and they have reporters everywhere. You get cameras trained on storm drains. Reporters covering the reservoirs and river channels. Someone goes to interview the salivating ski resort operators. This year the big story (and rightly so) is the very real possibility of mudslides and debris flows in the areas that burned this fall.
All their hype did get me sort of thinking that I have to do SOMETHING to prepare or else I would be somehow diminished as a human being. Yesterday I did remove what Xmas decorations I could. I put a tarp over the bags of topsoil that I haven't yet gotten into the garden and I put the firewood under the patio cover. I patted myself on the back for getting the wiper blades done last month.
I guess I'm just a little jaded on this "severe weather" stuff. Blizzards, hurricanes, prairie twisters...been there, done that. Coming from the Midwest it takes a little more than a rainstorm to get me nervous. Don't get me wrong....these Pacific storms are insane when they are bad. It can rain for 24 hours straight. One hundred feet of the beach disappears. I've seen my floor-to-ceiling windows bow out from the force of the wind.
For all the media hype and hoopla surrounding the few storms we do have, I don't see the wacky hoarding phenomena that I have seen in Wisconsin and Hawaii when big storms are predicted there.
In Wisconsin, when winter storms were predicted, people would go nuts and buy up all the bread and toilet paper in the store. The shelves would literally be bare. Hmmmm....blizzards always make me crave toast. Toilet paper? I would think if you ate lots of the bread, you wouldn't be needing too much TP anyway. I'm just saying.
Hawaii was a little different. You'd get maybe one or two of these "Pineapple Express" storms every winter. Huge amounts of rain and wind lasting about 24-hours. Then of course, the hurricanes, but that is not every year. The demographics of the islands provide a different pre-storm hoarding scenario. The local people buy ALL the rice up. Just like the haoles in Wisconsin with their toast and toilet paper, the locals don't want to be caught short on rice. Fifty pound bags of rice flying off the shelves.
Then you have the tourists. I'll be the first to admit I was never one to be up on the latest news when I was there. One morning I was at the grocery store, it might have been 8am. The parking lot was JAMMED! The store was really crowded and the register lines were huge. The middle-aged, fat, sunburned man in front of me at the checkout had like five gallons of assorted booze, all sorts of snacky things like Fritos and Doritos, soda pop and other assorted junk. I looked around and everyone else was doing pretty much the same. So I finally asked what the heck was going on and someone said that a hurricane was coming. Doh! So I went back and got a bag of rice, a 12-pack and some TP, just in case.
Hurricane Iniki was not all that bad on Maui where I was. Not as much rain as you would think, but the wind was unbelievable--strong and never let up. A constant intensity. I got the day off work, since my restaurant was open-air and had to shut down.
We have already abandoned trying to make a fire in the fireplace. The wind is too strong and is blowing down the chimney, so we got too much smoke. We've been listening to the scanner all night too. Right now the City Yard guys are yakking about picking up the downed tree debris...and the Laker game.
With luck, I will post an update in the morning. Good thing I stocked up on TP last week.