Thursday, August 6, 2020

Stay In! And Stay Safe from Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

by Peggy Robin

This week's "Stay In! Column" arrives too late to warn you about protecting yourself from Hurricane Isaias.* (See the footnote for pronunciation). When I turned the "Get Out" column into the "Stay In" column back in March, when the pandemic began shutting down all group activities, my thought was to use the column to highlight all the things you could do at home and not go stir crazy, while you were protecting yourself and others from the spread of the virus.

Now that we’re in the thick of hurricane season, this Stay In column for this week is about another kind of shelter-in-place – the protective behavior we need to put into practice every year during the hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

Isaias makes landfall

Just as so many of us have learned the hard way how risky it can be not to strictly observe social distancing and wear protection against the coromavirus, every years thousands experience the catastrophic consequences of not taking a hurricane forecast seriously. 

Here's a photo round-up of storm damage and flooding around the District, Maryland, and Virginia:

In Queens, a man sitting in a parked car was killed by a falling tree:

The National Weather Center is warning us that 2020 may be the most active hurricane season ever. We've already had nine named hurricanes or tropical storms - the most ever this early in the season. The next named hurricane or tropical storm will be Josephine. Before the next one comes around, you should review the rules to protect yourself and your family. They're actually a lot simpler than the rules about protecting yourself from the pandemic....but they're somewhat similar, in that they call for people to stay in and avoid doing anything known to be risky:

1. Pay attention to the weather forecast.
2. Secure any loose items outside before the storm comes in.
3. Have supplies on hand in case of loss of power.
4. Once the bad weather starts, stay in!
5. If you driving when the storm comes through and you encounter water covering the roadway, do NOT assume you can drive through it safely. Turn around and get to safety.
6. After the storm, stay away from downed power lines. Report them immediately.

Here's a storm preparedness guide from Pepco, with all of the above advice:

And if anyone needs a reminder why the Cleveland Park Metro has to be closed whenever heavy rains/flash flooding is predicted, here's the video from 2016 showing what can happen when it floods: 

Scroll down to the second video on the site for the really dramatic time lapse footage.

Thanks to the Popville blog for the look back....and no, those drainage problems have NOT been fixed!

* If you have been wondering if you're pronouncing the Hurricane's name correctly, you can listen to an audio of it on CNN: If you don't want to bother to click on the link, then just say, "Ees - ah - ee - yas."

The Stay In! (formerly known as the Get Out! Events Column is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Thursdays. 

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