A Great Case for Being Prepared!!

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I received this email tonight and wanted to share it with you all. Maybe it can help enlighten those people who think all this "food and water storage business is plumb crazy!!"

// A Preview of Things to Come? //

Dear Y2k Weatherman,

I live in Tampa, Florida. Last week when Hurricane Georges was predicted to roll right up the Gulf Coast we got a taste of what happens to those who aren't prepared. Georges wasn't set to hit land until the weekend but the weatherman on TV started making predictions about it on Monday evening. At that time, they didn't even know which direction it would go, just that it "might" head this way.

Tuesday, a friend emailed to tell me not to go grocery shopping because they were swamped. Another friend called from Albertson's parking lot to say it would take 4 hours to get through the checkout line. Fortunately, I'm prepared for Y2K so didn't have to prepare much for Georges. I did need some duct tape but it was all sold out by Tuesday night.

On Thursday at midnight, I went to one of the local grocery stores to do my normal shopping. As I pulled into the parking lot and got out of my truck, a man said "They're all out of water." This was still 2 days before Georges was expected to make landfall, but they were now predicting he was definitely coming our way. When I got inside the grocery store, there weren't a lot of people there because of the hour, but the shelves were a mess and so were the floors. Any and all of the food necessary in a crisis was gone and a lot more. The cereal isle looked like they'd had a riot!

We were lucky. Despite the prediction, Georges decided to go further west before going north and missed us altogether. However, if this is any indication of what is going to happen when the newspeople start really talking about Y2K a lot of people are going to be in big trouble.

-- Melissa (financed@forbin.com), October 09, 1998


The nice thing about being prepared for any disaster is that you won't have to stand in line for hours, you won't have to miss out on necessary goods to keep you safe and comfortable, and you don't have to just plain worry....until you start running out of supplies.

-- Bardou (bardou@baloney.com), October 09, 1998.

It sounds very silly, but when it starts snowing, I start worrying about running out of things; usually when I go to the store, however, I buy things like ice cream, candy and chips instead of anything sensible.

If something as minor as a snowfall can do that to me, imagine the whole country in the stores trying to buy the last bag of Doritos and the last container of chocolate ripple! Not a pretty sight.

I find that the process of getting prepared for an emergency (I live in the Seattle area, and we are due for an 8 or 9 earthquake any time soon, not to mention that other deadline we're all familiar with) is easier over time, but I don't think I will ever be totally prepared. At least I know since I overpack when we go camping, we'll probably have most of the stuff we need.

-- Karen Cook (browsercat@hotmail.com), October 09, 1998.

I heard a statement today from a Y2K speaker. He said people have two modes - apathy and panic. Stock up now, while most of 'em are still apathetic.

-- Mike (gartner@execpc.com), October 09, 1998.

Funny how this synchonicity stuff works, Mike.

Earlier this evenng I watched a PBS documentary on Rod Serling. It featured (among others) a clip from his classic "Monsters on Maple Street" in which outside influences caused the lights to go out and the machines to malfunction. The neighborhood response was paranoia followed by mutual animosity followed by violence.

I also gleaned this great quote.

"Somewhere between Apathy and Anarchy lies the province of the thinking man."--- Rod Serling


-- Hallyx (Hallyx@aol.com), October 10, 1998.

Another email received now - also relating Y2K to the effects of Georges. I find it kind of eery to watch this - as if I am watching, in a very tiny way, the future.


Hurricane Georges hit Puerto Rico badly between Sept. 21-22. As ALL of the island (all 78 municipalities [towns & cities] including the small islands of Culebra and Vieques) were thoroughly affected by the storm. Here are some observations as to items related to Y2K bad case scenarios. I have excluded such things as wind and flood damages.

The entire electrical system went down. As of today, 11 days after, most of the island, including large sections of metropolitan San Juan, is still without power. Entire malls were shut down; of those now working, most have limited hours, coinciding with daylight.

A ripple effect of the power failure is that although all water reservoirs are down, a large amount of places are still without water because the pumping equipment is electrical. Some have installed emergency generators.

Cable TV is almost 100% unavailable. The cable companies say this is also due to the lack of electricity, as they carry their power with the transmission cables. Even places with electricity have no cable TV yet. (On a personal note, this means that a baseball and St. Louis Cardinal fan as I am has missed the last historic McGwire home runs, the Cubs-Giants playoff game, and, for the first time since 1970, the post season!)

The police have had to man most of the traffic intersections in the metropolitan area. At nights, when it is tougher to do so, I have seen some very bad gridlocks. It is an adventure to drive by night!

The government estimates over 2 months to restore power all over the island and around 7 months to get the electrical system back to full capacity. A grim Christmas for a people who like to party a lot during the season.

D batteries, 6 volt batteries, useful flashlights and lanterns are difficult to find. Every time Walmart, Walgreens, True Value or Home Depot gets a shipment of these, they last less than one half hour. The next is now starting: small propane gas tanks for emergency stoves.

For the first time in years, long lines at gas stations, those still with power of some sort. I had a peculiar problem: one of my front tires was soft, but no gas station had power for the air compressors! I bought a couple of Fix-Flat cans just in case it got worse; finally, this week, I managed to fill it with air!

All type of heavy price items have been also tough to get! These include: generators (diesel and gas), electrical (!) and gas saws, water cisterns and tanks, and gas stoves.

The start of the winter baseball season is now in jeopardy (it begins the week after the World Series ends). All types of sports activities (school volleyball tourneys is a prime example) have had to be suspended, postponed, or even cancelled.

A good thing is that people have, on the whole, been cooperating (apart from drivers!) and very patient and understanding. This is due to experience (after 33 years without a hurricane, we have experienced three since 1989), having been informed, and because the government did act very responsibly before the storm (and I am not a supporter of the party in power). I have feared that if this went on long, people would start to lose hope and patience with social chaos following. Luckily, I have been proved wrong, so far.

This seems to me to emphasize the importance of telling the truth and of keeping information flowing as relates to Y2K. If the effect of Hurricane Hugo in 1989 (which was considerable on the east and northeast of P.R.) had been like the effect of Georges in 1998, I suspect it would have been terrible. In 1989, we were used to false alarm after false alarm with hurricanes, and a large amount of the population had never experienced one. Hurricane Hortense, a much smaller storm, affected the entire island in 1996 and served as a sort of wake-up call to all. May we all be prepared for the possible effects of Y2K.

Enrique Bird

-- Melissa (financed@forbin.com), October 10, 1998.

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