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  • Writer's pictureCherie Claire

How hurricanes prepared me for Inga

Yesterday, I woke to frigid temperatures and frozen pipes. I turned on the faucets and nothing came out but air. I flushed the toilet and the tank emptied and didn’t refill, made a grumbling noise.

winter storm inga

My first reaction? A pair of expletives.

We have freezes in the South and they’re usually broken into two categories — light freeze, where you cover your plants and know that pruning will follow come spring, and hard freeze, where you bring the plants inside or kiss them goodbye. Right now, my living room is a nursery.

As for the pipes, if your house isn’t raised and your pipes not exposed, chances are they will be fine, much like the rest of the country that deals with this freezing nonsense. Mine are not exposed — at least for the most part. I never had problems with frozen pipes before so I felt we were good.

Yesterday, I discovered the main water pipe extending out of the house on the front patio, nekked to the world.

In all fairness, it’s never been this cold. At least not in my memory. We’re had several nights of hard freezes, then this Inga Storm that has kept things frozen since Tuesday afternoon (it’s now Thursday morning). So, the freak winter and the pipe I missed are my excuses and I’m sticking to it.

winter storm inga

But here’s where hurricanes come in. I stash water in recycled containers beginning June 1, the start of hurricane season. When the season ends on Nov. 30 and I can breathe easier, I dispose of the water. This year, I let the water be. Guess what I used to make my coffee yesterday morning when the pipes froze? And used to cook, brush my teeth, fill the cat’s water bowl, etc. It made me think that I learned quite a bit from hurricane season, things that can aid you when the weather turns cold.

Here’s a few other ways that hurricane season can aid you in winter:

  • I keep a blanket, flashlight, Swiss Army knife and first aid kit in my car and I suggest you do, too.

  • Flashlights, candles, matches are scattered throughout the house in case of power outage. And because this happens in regular storms, not just hurricanes, I never move them. A friend of mine lost power in this ice storm.

  • Another victim of power loss is the freezer. When a hurricane approaches, we start “eating the freezer.”

  • Because of the above, buy canned goods and stock them in the back of the pantry. When the weather’s good and you’re heading to the store soon, you can eat them and restock.

  • After a hurricane passes, we all become friends with our neighbors again, sharing freezer food, barbecuing said food and sharing resources and assistance. It’s so cold to venture outside, but finding out what neighbors need and have might help you get through the storm.

  • If you really need something to warm you up, I suggest alcohol. A good old fashioned will warm up a body like nothing else.

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