Debbie Downer, who lives in St. Petersburg, has been studying the Hurricane Irma forecasts. You know, Debbie. Every glass is half empty. So she is preparing! Spaghetti models show a storm that may be late making a right turn — and hit Florida, possibly sideswiping the east coast. But you know Debbie. If the storm continues to dilly dally and turns north even later, she is thinking (pessimistically, of course), it might just skirt Florida’s west coast — the worst possible scenario for gulf coasters. Such storms push water into Tampa Bay, making coastal flooding even worse — and exposes citizens to the strongest winds.
1. Debbie has her shutters ready to go. She knows how to fortify her garage door.
2. At Publix on Sunday morning, she bought cans of food for her hurricane kit and ten gallons of water. Because she is always anxious, she refilled her prescription for Xanax.
3. At Lowe’s, she bought a new assortment of batteries for her hurricane kit. At home, she checked her radio. Working!
3, She’ll continue monitoring the forecasts. If they get worse — and Debbie Downer always expects the worst — she’ll begin freezing water in her freezer for later use. She’ll fill galvanized tubs with water for post-hurricane toilet flushing. And at some point she’ll fill her bathroom tubs with just-in-case water.
4. Debbie doesn’t happen to live in an evacuation zone, which means flooding is unlikely to be an issue for her. Still, if she loses her nerve, which is somewhat likely, she’ll evacuate. And because she expects the worst, she won’t wait until the last minute. She knows what the bridges and interstates will be like should thousands of panicked souls all flee at once.
Chances are, the storm will miss her west Florida town. It might even miss Florida’s east coast. Who knows, maybe it will drift out to sea. If those things happen, Debbie will be grimly happy. At least until she turns on the Weather Channel.
Debbie seldom looks on the bright side, but she caught herself doing precisely that just a while ago. If dipping into her hurricane supplies turns out to be unneccessary, she won’t have to shop for Christmas presents! “All my friends are going to receive cans of Hoppin’ John and Baked Beans in their stockings,” she told her mirror with a well-practiced frown.