As Hurricane Earl bears down on the north eastern United States, many of our readers from NY to Massachusetts to Cape Cod to Maine, are writing and asking serious questions about hurricane preparedness. In an effort to help our inexperienced northern brethren, we proudly publish Rumpole's Rules For Hurricanes. (c) 2010, all rights reserved.
Q) When is the right time to evacuate?
A) Excellent question. Remember: "Time is on your side". Avoid the early rush to evacuate. As you will learn, hurricane land falls are notoriously difficult to predict. At any given moment a hurricane may wobble fifty miles in any direction. Therefore, we here in Miami have learned to wait until the last moment. Only when the hurricane is mere miles away and you are sure the eye will pass over you, should you then consider packing up the SUV and loading the family and evacuating in land.
Q) I have decided to hunker down. What can I do to prepare my home?
A) Good for you. Studies have shown that it is safer to be in your home during a hurricane than anywhere else. Two words sum up what will make your home safe: duct tape. Yup- duct tape the whole damn house. Start with the windows, move to the doors and then use an "X" design on all interior walls. No force of nature can blow down a wall supported by a properly placed "X" made out of duct tape.
Q) Do I need to upgrade my insurance?
A) No. Insurance companies are well prepared for rare natural disasters and you will be fully covered.
Q) Assume the worst and the storm hits my town and the power goes out. Where do I get a generator from?
A) FEMA ( Federal Emergency Makeshift Association) will send two guys named Ernesto and Ricky to your block with government approved generators which they will carrying in the back of their van. Cash only.
Q) I keep hearing about a storm surge. What exactly is it?
A) Prior to the storm, your local television stations will whip the populace into a frenzy, liberally lacing fear with the need to rush out to the local Home Depot and buy as much water, batteries, lumber, and flashlights as your credit cards will allow before your neighbor does. The mass of people descending upon Home Depot is what storm forecasters call the "storm surge."
Q) I have a charcoal barbecue grill. Can I bring it inside to cook and boil water when the power is out? I am worried about carbon monoxide.
A) Absolutely. This is a charming and quaint custom whose roots can be traced back to a small town in Miami called Hialeah. By bringing the gill inside, you greatly increase the convenience of cooking food and boiling water. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas. As they say in Hialeah, "what you can't see or smell can't hurt you."