Most of you know that hurricane Gustav has entered the Gulf of Mexico and is on it's way somewhere along the gulf coast. As it stands now, it is still predicted to hit New Orleans (or somewhere very close to New Orleans) late on Monday.
Although we are about 200 miles northwest of New Orleans, we are still in the direct path of what will be the remnants of hurricane Gustav. It will most likely still be a tropical storm. With Katrina, we didn't even get rain or strong winds. We were very lucky. Rita brought us some rain and gusty wind, but no local damage.
Locally, they are predicting we will most likely have tropical storm winds (39+ mph sustained wind) AND from 10 to 20 inches of rain. We are going to be to the NE side of the storm, which is the area that receives most of the rain and wind, and potential tornadoes. It is where you DON'T want to be. Needless to say, this isn't how any of us here wanted to spend our Labor Day weekend.
Our town always acts as a "shelter" destination for coastal residents. We always get a great influx of visitors during most storms. They are busing in thousands of coastal residents this time, in addition to those that drive in on their own. Many shelters had opened by this morning. Hotels and motels have been booked solid for several days. We have a horse and livestock shelter set up at one of the arenas. Schools have already been declared closed for Tuesday and Wednesday. Each convention center or coliseum is being used for different types of shelters ... people with pets, handicapped, etc. So far, things are going as planned.
I had planned on doing my normal grocery shopping yesterday. I wasn't prepared for it to be such a zoo at WalMart and the local grocery store. I figured today would be the crazy day. I guess it was a mix of normal, holiday weekend, hurricane, and end of month shopping for everyone. We stocked up on the normal foods plus more packaged stuff than usual. Have lots of batteries and water (although WalMart was out of water yesterday). Went to the ATM before they started running out of cash. All three cars are full of gas, as is the propane bbq. Regular gasoline jumped from $3.46 to $3.69 overnight.... um????
Sunday will be spent preparing the house. Everything must be brought indoors. Nothing should be left in the yard to "fly" around. It is amazing what can become airborn, and the damage and injuries that airborn items can do. I am worried about possible wind damage as we have alot of large bayou trees near us. And, the amount of rain that is predicted scares me. 10 - 20 inches is alot of rain!!!! ... even in Louisiana. Thankfully, I just paid my homeowners insurance renewal ... and we have had flood insurance for years even though it isn't required where we live.
I'm truly not sure what this hurricane is going to bring. If I disappear, it is most likely due to loss of power and internet service. But, hopefully we will still be on dry land. Keep your fingers crossed for all of us along the gulf coast and inland in the path of this storm.