WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR AN EMERGENCY ANNOUNCEMENT…
I sit in downtown Hilo this beautiful Wednesday evening as I type, enjoying a cup of joe and the company of my fellow attendees at the local weekly writer’s exchange. Some 500 miles off to my right (east) is Iselle, a hurricane that seems to be currently hovering somewhere between Category 2 and Category 1 after a limelight moment in the Category 4 range earlier this week. She canters toward us at a lazy 20 mph, just preceding Julio, a second hurricane that is also headed our way. All expectations are that at least Iselle will make land fall and that she will leave quite a mess of things when finished making her grand stage entrance.
The pocket-protector brigade at NOAA tells us that this has not happened in twenty years. So why now? Well… I noted in a previous post that the island’s most active volcano welcomed us within a day of our arrival on the Big Island with new stirrings in the caldera. Now it is time for the wind and the sea to usher a cheery “Welcome!” (What took so long?)
The radio waves are full of Civil Defense announcements, messages from the Coast Guard, and warnings from the National Weather Service. The governor made an emergency proclamation.
They tell us that gusts are expected to reach 85 miles per hour; that swells are expected to reach 30 feet in height; that anything not secured may become a lethal projectile. Air Force Hurricane Hunters have measured wind speeds near the hurricane at 104 mph. We are told to expect damage. The island is in lockdown.
Gas lines have been prevalent these past few days as folks stock up on fuel for their backup generators and vehicles (in case of evacuation).
Candles, spare gas cans, and cooking fuel have been flying off the shelves of the local hardware stores and grocery aisles have been stripped and scavenged, especially the drinking water.
As for us, we are making do. We have stockpiled enough food and water to last several days, relocated the goats to the most secure area we can find in our rental’s yard, set the emergency radio on the NOAA emergency broadcast frequency, ensured that all lanterns and flashlights and communications devices are charged, identified the nearest emergency shelter and evacuation route, and begun taping windows (at the request of the owner).
We have a trunk set aside as a “go bag” in the event that we need to climb into the Jeep and make for the hills.
Other than that, and a few prayers, we checked out a movie or two from the library to tide us over during the early and quieter parts of the hunkering. (What better to get you through a natural disaster than a little Monty Python?)
Speaking of things British, as we work to prepare the kids mentally for things to come, in addition to a few key scriptures on worry and trust in God, we have reminded them of that famous saying among our cousins across the pond:
Now…the paper route promises to be interesting in the coming days. We have been told by the company to use our discretion in deciding how much and which parts of our route to service, but there is that lingering sense of pride in the chant “Through rain, and sleet, and snow…” Wait a minute! That’s the U.S. Postal Service (and they get medical benefits to put up with environmental nonsense). We will have to play it by ear. (Good thing we got a Jeep!)
Did I mention that we were scheduled to start establishing our base camp tomorrow and begin moving our belongings up to the property to bivouac out of a tent? I guess that will have to wait a few days. Then again, we do have good quality rain and snorkeling gear and a sense of high adventure…
Infrastructure permitting, we will keep you posted right here as things progress, devolve, implode (you pick the action verb that best suits your level of nervousness and susceptibility to worry).
THIS IS THE END OF THE EMERGENCY ANNOUNCEMENT.