As this is being written, the forecast track for Hurricane Irene is a bit more ominous for Robeson County, the storm having wiggled slightly westward. We will continue to monitor the storm and keep our readers as current as possible, both in the print edition, and on the Internet at robesonian.com.
Those of us who have called Southeastern North Carolina home for the past 15 years know the drill, having recollections of Fran in 1996 and Floyd in 1999. Right now, Irene looks as if it will be little bit more than a stiff breeze, but nothing approaching the devastation wrought by Fran and than Floyd. But another wiggle or two westward, and that could change.
Earlier this week we published a to-do list for people who want to be prepared for a hurricane. But it’s worth repeating in this space. So here goes:
— Check with your insurance company to see what is covered. Separate policies are needed for flood damage.
— Inventory your personal property to help in filling out claims. List descriptions and take pictures.
— If the hurricane is expected to deliver a powerful punch, put up hurricane shutters or buy half-inch outdoor plywood for each window of your house.
— Check tie-downs and plan to evacuate if you live in a mobile home.
— Make sure you have a battery-powered radio with fresh batteries; a flashlight, candles or lamps; matches; a first-aid kit; canned or packaged food that can be prepared without cooking or refrigeration; several days’ supply of drinking water (1 gallon per person per day) and a full tank of gas in your car.
— Pack protective clothing, rainwear and bedding or sleeping bags.
— Assemble an adequate supply of essential medicines, particularly prescriptions. Have cash on hand. Carry credit cards or make sure they are in a safe place.
— Locate in advance a place or places to take shelter if an evacuation is ordered. Have a map handy.
— If an evacuation is ordered, leave.
— Pets may not be allowed in shelters. Contact the local humane society for information on animal shelters.
— Children and the elderly have special needs. Put together whatever is necessary and make it portable.
— Teach family members how and when to turn off natural gas, electricity and water. Teach children how and when to call 911, police or fire departments and which radio stations to tune to for emergency information.
— Develop a plan for reuniting in case family members are separated.
— Ask an out-of-state relative to serve as a family contact. After a hurricane, it often is easier to call long distance than locally. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address and phone number of the contact person.
— Watch television, listen to the radio or check the Internet for hurricane position, intensity and expected landfall.
— Put important papers in waterproof containers (take them along upon evacuating), and move all valuables to higher levels in the home.
— Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools. Try to anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
And we will add this one. Keep your fingers crossed. Things are looking pretty good now, but that can chance quickly.