Hurricane Earl


The  newspapers and television broadcasts this past week were full of warnings for Atlantic Canadians to prepare for the expected landfall of Hurricane Earl early Saturday morning. Experts diligently tracked Earl’s path, and by Friday morning they predicted that he would storm through the town I live in. Great…just what I needed to round out an already miserable year–to have a hurricane tear through my property, likely bringing a few old poplar trees crashing into the roof of my house, or at the very least, landing smack in the middle of my car.

I followed the expert’s advice and joined countless other shoppers Friday afternoon at a local grocery store. In a store where one could usually stroll up and down the aisles, leisurely choosing the best buys of the week, this Friday afternoon shopping was like being in the middle of a bumper car derby. The air was filled with “I’m sorry”, “Excuse me”, “Pardon me”, and “Watch where you’re going, mister!” (Oops, I guess that last phrase only played in my head–not out loud for others to hear.) I filled my cart with non-perishables just as suggested–canned beans, canned veggies, canned spaghetti and canned pasta sauce, and stocked up on bottled water. Even though I had bought groceries only a few days before, this little trip to the store still cost me another $150! And the fun didn’t end there…

I stopped at an ATM to make sure I had cash on hand, in case stores lost their electricity and along with it their ability to accept debit or credit cards; I gassed up the vehicle, in case I had to get out of town in a hurry to escape rising flood waters; and I bought a lottery ticket for Friday night’s draw, in case I won and could then REALLY escape out of town to somewhere without hurricanes and falling trees and rising flood waters. Then I went home.

My son had already battened down the cottage for me–putting deck chairs and patio tables and padded cushions and the bar-b-q, everything that could fly around and either be damaged or cause damage, inside the cottage. He said that by the time he finished, the place looked as if we had closed it up for the winter!

At home we went through a similar exercise–away went the bistro set from my front porch, the lawn chairs from my screened gazebo, and my garden flag with its brightly colored summery Welcome.  My home is surrounded by trees and there wasn’t anything we could do about that, so I went to bed late Friday night with my fingers and toes crossed, hoping the trees would behave and stay upright as good trees should.

Saturday morning, the morning of “Earl”, I awoke early and turned the clock radio on to listen to the latest news. The morning sky was cloudy but without rain, and the trees I could see from my bedroom window were just slightly swaying, as if dancing to mellow music.  The newscast reported that Earl had taken a swing to the east and instead of tearing through my town, was now touring Nova Scotia, our neighboring province. Wind and rain warnings were still in place for my area, though, so we weren’t out of the woods yet.

Once again I watched the television newscasts tracking Earl’s progress. Many towns and cities in Nova Scotia were without electricity by late morning, and there was flooding in low lying areas, but most people had paid attention to the public warnings and stayed in their homes, out of harm’s way. During any storm there are always a few individuals that want to get ‘up close and personal’ to the action, and they drive to coastal beaches and climb onto slippery rocks at the edge of the Atlantic ocean, snapping pictures as gigantic waves wash ever closer to their precarious perches. Once in awhile, of course, one of these wave-watchers gets swept away into the Atlantic, for a VERY up close and personal view of the storm, but that didn’t happen this time.  When it does happen, or when someone leans waaayyy over a precipice at one of our Rocky Mountain parks and disappears into the abyss below, my sister-in-law calls it “natural selection”, which is a pretty good description, I think.

But back to Earl. By late afternoon Saturday, the hurricane/tropical storm had passed through Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and made its way to Prince Edward Island, losing strength as it travelled. The town I live in escaped with only heavy rain and moderately high winds. All my trees behaved themselves and stayed upright; my screened gazebo stayed bolted to the deck where it belonged, and my car and house roofs remained intact. I didn’t lose electricity, lost satellite television only sporadically, and I didn’t have to worry about filling my bathtub with water (for flushing toilets when there is no electricity) or about the food in my refrigerator and freezer spoiling. AND, I have enough canned goods and bottled water on hand now to last me several months!

Does anyone need canned beans with pork and molasses, or perhaps canned corn niblets? I likely have some to spare.

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