Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Know Your Enemy

When we were on vacation at the shore with friends a few years ago, we bought a hurricane tracking chart. I thought it would be a fun addition to weather studies and map reading. During hurricane season, we'd keep tabs on devloping storms by listening to the weather report on the radio. When we heard about a named storm, we'd go to NOAA'a National Hurricane Center website and look at the storm's location and projected track and mark it on our map. Not only was this practice educational, but I thought it would also help allay Primo's nearly pertrifying fear of severe weather. "We live in central PA; we don't get hurricanes," I assured her one day.

Then Ivan arrived.

Now, the effects of Ivan on our land-locked region were nothing compared to that of coastal regions, but they were sufficient enough to finger me as a liar - or at the very least, highly misinformed. Thus, the hurricane tracking chart moved from the purely educational realm and into that of "emergency preparedness equipment." Primo became obsessed with listening to weather radio, keeping the hurricane map up-to-date, and making sure our emergency kit was properly stocked and easily accessible in case the need to evacuate should arrive. (By the way, this fear of severe weather is apparently inherited as my dad's state-of-the-art home weather center and obsession with interest in The Weather Channel can attest. Right, Dad? *wink*)

When Frodo was first looking at graduate schools, the University of Kansas came up and Primo put her foot down. There was no way she was going to live in tornado alley. She was happy when she found out we would not be moving to Kansas. Instead, we moved to Mississippi.... aka the forgotten victim of Katrina... right smack in Dixie Alley. (Yeah, we'd never heard of it either 'til we got here.) Primo learned all these wonderful weather facts after we got here. She was thrilled. [insert eye roll here]

Today we began tracking Tropical Storm Gustav.

It's projected 5-day track has it making landfall (at hurricane strength) at the Louisiana/ Mississippi border... right where Katrina made landfall three years ago. I attempted to comfort Primo by pointing out that the area where we live is covered by the map key. "The makers of a hurricane tracking chart wouldn't cover an area with the key if hurricanes frequently hit that area, would they?" She's still made plans for tomorrow.

Tomorrow, we'll be checking to make sure our emergency kit is up to date... replacing any expired canned goods (or at least making a shopping list), putting in fresh batteries, making sure changes of clothes will actually fit everyone, removing the diapers we put in for Quarto now that he's potty trained and replace them with a couple of "just in case" pull-ups, and making sure we have supplies and contact info for the two kids we watch during the day. We'll also:

-change the back-up battery in the weather alert radio and make sure our hand-crank radio and flashlights are easily accessible (and the flashlights have fresh batteries)
-set aside some containers to fill with drinking water should it look like we'll need it
-review what to do in case of an emergency
-read The Magic School Bus Inside a Hurricane and National Audubon Society First Field Guide: Weather (hey, we're homeschoolers; we see life's experiences as reasons to buy and read books)
-update any changes in Gustav's status and track on the hurricane chart
-be shushed by Primo every time the weather report comes on the radio

We are diligently trying to put into practice what Terzo learned in Cub Scouts (particularly during our family emergency preparedness sessions): Be Prepared

As Sun Tzu stated in The Art of War (and as I am trying to impart to Primo through this study of hurricanes and emergency preparedness):

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will fight without danger in battles. If you know only yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose. If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.


Kristin said...

Hmm ... I've lived here 6 1/2 years and never heard of Dixie-Alley - good to know :) Glad you guys are prepared for Gustov! When Katrina hit the coast, we got a lot of wind and rain and lost power for a few days (well depending on where you were in the county) .. and it took a few days mainly because the county sent 1/2 or so of their guys to the coast.

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