The calendar might say it's four months until Christmas but the parking lots we were in this morning looked more like it should be four days. Cars everywhere. It could have something to do with this:
I'm sure the National Hurricane Center won't mind if I borrow its latest graphic on what is now Tropical Storm Isaac but what is sure to become a hurricane by the same name. That white area, officially known the Cone of Uncertainty, is where they think Isaac might go, and while the real map doesn't have that little red "X" on it, I kinda think it should...it's where we live. Right now, Isaac seems to have set his sights set on us, doesn't he.
That, however, is subject to change. In fact, it has already changed several times since we first started watching ol' Isaac on Wednesday evening. It's prime time in hurricane season so we've always got our eyes and ears tuned to storm news, and when they started talking about Isaac hitting Cuba, well, it got our attention. Historically, a storm track that crosses Cuba is bad news for us.
And since we started watching, the track has been right at us, then east of us and now back at us again. And although the National Weather people didn't change their track yet, the latest models have shifted it west of us to Mississippi or even Louisiana. It's still early yet, though; no need to get alarmed yet. The forecast track is likely to change again a time or two.
It is time, however, to be smart about preparations. And that brings me back to the packed parking lots; plenty of other people were thinking about preparations too.
We had to stop at Lowes for a couple of things unrelated to the approaching storm but we must have been the only people in the store with that kind of mission. One after another, generators were being wheeled out the door and loaded into waiting vehicles. At $800 a pop, this morning's sales might single-handedly cause the local economy to rebound. Those who weren't buying generators were buying plywood and gas tanks. The young man who checked us out said Lowes had called in every available employee to help and it would be like that until the storm hit or took aim somewhere else.
Then we went to Walmart. Yes, it took nerves of steel and a heap of patience to do that but if we were going to eat the next few days, groceries had to be bought. In some ways it was better than we expected...busy but we've seen worse. Unless, of course, you count the potato chip aisle...and the one with peanut butter...and, of course, the one with bottled water. They were impassable. It would be funny on some levels but probably only to those of us who weren't going down those aisles.
We've done the early prep...gas in the cars and extra gas cans, generator fired up for a test run, food and water in the pantry and cash on hand. Now all that's left is to watch and wait to see where Isaac is really headed to see if serious preparations will have to be made. Personally, I'd like for him to turn around and go back where he came from but that isn't going to happen. We'll deal with what we get.