Hey, East Coast, how you doin'? Sorry, our Jersey accent is a little rusty. We along the Gulf Coast have been watching with interest the furor over Hurricane Sandy as it makes its way towards the Jersey Shore. Maybe the hurricane wants to do some gambling. Maybe it wants to re-enact the entire movie Snake Eyes. Whatever the case, she's coming for you and, just like we wouldn't be prepared if we were hit by a blizzard, y'all (that's our word for you guys) are starting to rightfully freak out.
Since we have to deal with hurricanes every year -- you probably don't remember since it barely made the news, but in 2008, we had a hurricane quite a bit worse than Sandy hit us in Houston called Ike -- we thought we might offer a little advice on how to deal with Sandy as she rolls down the Jersey Turnpike. Here are our five best suggestions.
5. Hide from wind, run from water is good advice.
Wind is really scary during a storm, but the real danger is storm surge. If you live in a low-lying area prone to flooding and near the coast, move your ass in a hurry. You are in far greater danger there than if you are in an area free from flooding that just happens to be windy. More people die from storm surge and flooding than from wind and tornadoes.
4. The news will be scarier than the storm.
Don't be fooled by the television media. They are doing their job reporting on the storm, but the more crazy the coverage, the more likely people will watch, so some wacky crap is going to happen on TV. Don't let them freak you out. That's what they want. Fortunately, your power will probably be out soon anyway, so no biggie.
3. Not all elements of the storm will affect you.
One thing people often don't understand about hurricanes is that the very worst of the storm is very near the center. Even with a storm like Sandy that has an inordinately wide spread in its wind field, the very worst will be near the eye of the storm. Additionally, as you've probably heard, the northeast quadrant (ironic) of the storm is the worst, so if you are more than 50 miles from the storm center to the south, your experience will likely be dramatically different than for someone in the path of the eye.
2. Eat, drink and be merry...away from the water.
You're probably going to have a couple days off from work and food spoils in a blackout, so invite some friends over and get your party on. Hurricanes are a lot more enjoyable with friends...drunk friends in particular. However, DO NOT DO THIS CLOSE TO THE WATER. Refer to number 5 on this list for more details.
1. Don't be stupid.
Resist the temptation to go surfing or take a stroll along the boardwalk or be Geraldo Rivera (that's good advice in general) or dress up like a giant bear and dance around as the storm blows in. Okay, that last one was kinda funny, but still, it's dangerous and dumb. Enjoy the storm...from inside.