Hurricane Alex aftermath – no damage [PHOTOS]

Hurricane Alex already passed by us. Fortunately, we didn’t get any damage at all.

The hurricane is still crossing over Mexico and still has large bands of rain that swirl around and dump sheets of cold water on us. For the most part, it is clearing up pretty fast.

Hurricane Alex 2010-07-01 at 9.44.40 AM

Hurricane Alex 2010-07-01 at 9.44.40 AM

There’s still a tornado watch for the county until late tonight and there’s also some low-lying areas that are just slightly flooded. But none of this is even close to what hurricane Dolly did a few years ago.

Alex Aftermath - Clouds photo 01

Alex Aftermath - Clouds photo 01

The skies alternate from suddenly becoming very dark to very bright white. When it goes white, it’s blinding to look up in any direction.

Alex Aftermath - Clouds photo 02

Alex Aftermath - Clouds photo 02

Yahoo! Editorial has added my photo to their gallery!

I just got an email that Yahoo! Editorial added one of my photos to their official gallery of hurricane Alex. I’m one of only 8 photos and one video they selected.

Here’s the link to the Yahoo! Hurricane Alex gallery.

So far, hurricane Alex isn’t too bad. There’s a ton of rain and some higher-than-average wind, but nothing like hurricane Dolly. The power is still on and only flickered a few times.

I’ll upload some photos tomorrow of what things look like around town.

WalMart runs low on stock as hurricane Alex closes in [PHOTOS]

Last night I had to make a late run to WalMart to get some extra oil for the generator and saw the store’s “hurricane” inventory had been depleted.

What was a large shelf of tarps a few days ago was mostly gone.

Hurricane Alex - WalMart Tarps

Hurricane Alex - WalMart Tarps

The flashlights? Except for the very expensive sets, they were sold out.

Hurricane Alex - WalMart Flashlights

Hurricane Alex - WalMart Flashlights

The camping lights were all out and so was all of the propane.

Hurricane Alex - WalMart Camping Lamps

Hurricane Alex - WalMart Camping Lamps

And you know things are getting bad when all the Ramen shelves are bare.

Hurricane Alex - WalMart Ramen

Hurricane Alex - WalMart Ramen

As I was leaving, the night shift workers were pulling palettes of inventory out to re-stock.

On a related note, if I was an inventory manager for WalMart and saw there were “emergency” items that nobody wanted to buy even in a hurricane situation, I would seriously reconsider keeping the item in stock at all.

My own hurricane preparedness tips

About to get hit by a hurricane? NOAA has some great hurricane preparedness tips, but I think they’re missing just a few things…

Get a generator! I highly recommend getting one if you have an enclosed patio space or backyard. Having power for a two hour downtime is convenient, but having power for a 24 hour downtime is a lifesaver. You do need to keep the generator completely outside for ventilation, though. I got a basic Champion generator from Sam’s for around $300 that does most everything I need for temporary power outages.

Calculate the gasoline requirements for the generator. If your generator will run for 10 hours on 3 gallons of gasoline, then a 5 gallon gas container won’t get you past 24 hours of continuous runtime. Invest in a 10 or 20 gallon gasoline container if your area is prone to long delays in power restoration. When the crisis is over, just pour the extra gasoline into your vehicle’s gas tank.

Get 10 or 12 gauge extension cord for your generator. Use these to run from your generator into your home. You can get them from Sam’s or Lowes. Anything less (like a plain household extension cord) and you run the risk of melting the extension cords if you put too much load on them.

Pre-layout your generator extension cords. This is a real timesaver so you don’t have to do everything in the dark. I usually open the sliding glass door from the patio and run the extension cord from the generator through the crevice. Then I put some wide masking tape from the top of the crevice down to the extension cord on the floor to keep the bugs out. Then all I have to do is go out the side garage door and start the generator if the power goes out.

Have a “core” area for all the power. Have a centralized area in your home where the main extension cord from the generator will run and have the essentials are ready to go. A fan and a lamp are good starters, but a small TV and maybe a DVD player and small microwave are great additions if your generator can handle it.

Check your generator load level. Every generator has a load indicator that says how it is doing. Make sure you don’t overload your generator with too many things plugged in at once.

Refrigerator planning.
Before the hurricane hits, take out anything that doesn’t have to be in the refrigerator and put it aside. (Sodas, alcohol and condiments come to mind.) The less that’s in the refrigerator, the easier it is to cool what remains. If the power goes out, the items in the refrigerator will usually stay for a long time if you just keep the doors closed. If the power is out for a prolonged period, you may want to occasionally plug in the refrigerator into the generator to let it cool back down a little.

Keep some water in an ice chest. Keeping an ice chest full of ice and bottled water on the side of the refrigerator will let the refrigerator stay cool by not having to open the doors all the time to get a drink.

Gorilla Tape > Duck/Duct Tape. Seriously. Keep a roll handy for quick fixes. Plan on a little paint coming off of whatever you put the Gorilla tape on though!

Gorilla Tape your trash bin and recycling lids down. There’s nothing worse than finding out your trash and aluminum cans are all over the neighborhood after a hurricane passes.

Gorilla Tape the base of doors you’re going to sandbag. Sandbags are good to barricade the bottom of doors to keep water from coming in, but the gorilla tape will add an extra layer of flood protection.

Get a tarp. A tarp and some Gorilla Tape can quick-patch a hole in your home before it gets any worse. Tarps are about $10 at Sam’s and they’re remarkably useful.

Camping stove + propane = hot food. You don’t have to go to a speciality store like Academy or Cabela’s to find a good propane camping stove. WalMart, Sams and Target carry a good variety, ranging from a simple single-burner setup to a oven-style-four-burner family cookout model. Grab one of those camping stoves, some matches and a few cans of propane to power them, and you can have hot food in the middle of the outage! Cans of Sterno work well too.

Charcoal + outdoor grill = hot food. A lot of times, people forget to buy a bag of charcoal before a hurricane. Depending on how long the power is out, you can make a cookout to take care of any leftover food in the refrigerator.

Gather the emergency service numbers now. Looking for the gas company’s emergency number when the area reeks of natural gas/mercaptan is too dangerous. Get all the utility company numbers ready to go before the storm arrives.

Get training pads for any pets that will be indoors.
Pets that are indoors during a big storm will probably have to “go” at some point. Putting training pads on the floor will help them keep their business in one area.

UPDATE 06/30 : If it’s expensive, completely unplug it. Yes, surge suppressors will stop a moderate power surge. But a hurricane dishes out lightning on a very large scale. If you paid a lot of money for it, unplug it completely from the wall to keep it safe.

Hopefully Alex will only get to a Category 1 hurricane and this will just be a lot of water and not much of anything else.

Alex storm status as of 062910

Alex storm status as of 062910

Alex storm status as of 062910 B

Alex storm status as of 062910 B

I’d like to exchange this hurricane for a tropical storm, please

I’ve been a little distracted this weekend preparing my home for what might be a hurricane this week. Plus, since I still haven’t unpacked everything from the move, I’m having an ongoing scavenger hunt for the hurricane gear I know I have somewhere.

The good news is that according to NOAA, “NONE OF THE GUIDANCE SHOWS ALEX REACHING MAJOR HURRICANE INTENSITY AT THIS TIME.” (It’s not me shouting. NOAA likes to put their press releases in all caps.)

The bad news? It’s still a really big storm that’s spinning and forming all over the gulf.

No thanks! We're good!

Alex part 1

Aaaaand it’s heading right for me.

Seriously! Go away! We're good here!

Alex part 2

Aaaaand even though it’s not expected to get to be a category 4 or higher, it’s still going to be a hurricane by tomorrow and make landfall late Wednesday.

Of course no major news outlet gives a fig about those of us this far down in Texas. CNN? Fox? Nada. There’s only one mention on MSNBC about Alex, and they’re only concerned about “…waves up to 15 feet high and winds of 20 to 30 mph on its outer edges that could pound the oil spill area.”

Yeah. We’re doing great down here. Thanks for asking!

I’m off to fill sandbags, but I’ll post as things develop.

Incoming hurricane Wednesday-ish [PHOTO]

I just took a look at NOAA and saw there’s going to be a hurricane that’s going to hit Texas around Wednesday.

I put this high-tech graphic together to show where abouts I will be in this mess.

June 2010 storm

June 2010 storm

Looking at the projected size of the hurricane and looking where it’s going to be and after very careful thought, I have to say…. crap. Specifically crappity crap crap crap.