Wednesday’s sunset from just below Adeje
It takes man a long time to recover from nature’s “wrath”, but nature, herself, seemed to have forgotten all about it yesterday. Farmers and market gardeners will still be counting the cost, and for those whose lives have been thrown into chaos, it may never be the same again. The sun, however, not only rises, but sets too, in its accustomed splendor.
However, don’t let it fool you. More bad weather is on the way Sunday and Monday. As always, there are all sorts of rumors flying around already – if you stop to listen. Best advice is don’t – instead turn on your tv or radio to a reliable local channel. Weatherunderground.com, as you can see, is forecasting 20% chance of rain – but that was, more or less, what they said last Monday! Remember this is a small island, and you will only get reliable information from local sources. To the big guys we’re just a blip on the map.
Major and unavoidable damage apart, it surprised me last weekend how many folk were unprepared for the consequences of the storms. Taking precautions isn’t alarmist, it’s sensible, but on the other hand, don’t panic and make a situation worse than it is. Simple things to do:
1. Make sure you have candles and matches or lighters, and torches with functioning batteries, and make sure they are easy to lay your hands on in the dark.
2. Check that you have essential things like water, and foods which don’t need to be cooked in case of prolonged power cuts, but don’t stock up for a nuclear war (at least not on account of the weather! North Korea’s posturing is a different topic altogether!) so you don’t cause panic buying or deprive others. These are things it’s always sensible to have in mind in any event.
3. Make sure you bring in anything from terraces or gardens which might cause damage or be damaged.
4. If you have ADSL unplug your router. For my sins, I once worked in customer service for a telecommunications company, and after an electrical storm there were always lots of calls from people whose routers had been “fried”. You won’t have internet during the storm, but at least you will have it back as soon as it’s passed over. If you have to wait for a replacement router you might be days offline. It’s not a bad idea, of course, to pop the plugs on all electrical stuff.
5. Something I’ve been meaning to do since Delta, and still haven’t is buy a small, battery operated radio. For some hours on the morning after Delta we were without communications no tv, telephones or internet, but if you have a battery-operated radio, if the radio station is on air, then you will have sensible information and not rumor and gossip.
6. If you have window blinds, use them to protect windows, but remember that if they are electrically operated and a power cut ensues then you might be kept in the dark longer than necessary.
7. Heed the advice not to go out unnecessarily. It’s clear that human casualties from last weekend’s storm were minimal because we had adequate warnings, and most people took notice. I’ve seen even sections of motorway become raging torrents for the duration of the rains. This island is mountainous, and very few roads and pathways are straight or even because of the terrain, meaning that waterfalls and pools appear where you don’t expect them. In addition consider the guys who HAVE to go out in it, ambulance drivers, police, firemen and both Protección Civil and Cruz Roja (many of whom are volunteers) why would you want to make their job harder or put them in any more danger than necessary?
8. Lastly, it’s a tribute to the consistent warmth of the weather here that we take so much for granted e.g. that having invited 10 people to barbecue Sunday we will be able to do it – so have Plan B ready, just in case!
Hopefully, it won’t be as bad as the last one, but sometime in the future there will be others. Make sure you’re ready for them. Being sensible before the event means that you will be more relaxed and able to deal with unavoidable problems if they do arise, and afterwards you won’t be blaming yourself for the avoidable happening.
My friend, Mike, said I forgot to mention duct/duck tape (or cinta Americana, as it’s known here)! He’s SO right on that! It’s something no-one should ever be without, especially when travelling or in an emergency situation! Broken window? You may be able to tape it up. I guess, if you really can’t bring in terrace furniture you can tape it down. Someone I knew kept their apartment in tact in a hurricane in Grenada a few years back, whilst the windows of all the others on the block blew in, by putting a mattress up against the window, would help to secure that too. Duct tape is one of the best inventions evah!