Monday, August 30, 2010
As I write this, we are expecting our first hurricane of the year, Hurricane Earl, to bounce just off the north coast of Puerto Rico. We've done as much as we can to prepare, but we don't have a generator or even a large backup water tank so we hope a direct hit won't come. I installed hurricane proofing for our large sliding window doors last year and we have about 20 gallons of drinking water and a 25 gallon tank of grey water for showers and the toilet. I don't want to buy a generator, eventually I'd love to have a solar battery backup just to run the fans and a computer or 2. Ah, another project.
The water is another issue. I can collect the rain runoff into our 25 gallon tank, but eventually we will need to buy a 200 gallon tank. Then hooking it to collect runoff and to use gravity for it to flush toilets and run a shower if we need to. For a storm situation, the water could be off for 2 weeks, if we can collect runoff we won't be reliant on the city to come around with the water truck. As far as the house goes, it's all concrete and once we get the hurricane panels up, no windows are exposed. We;re also high above the beaches so a large swell shouldn't be an issue either.
There haven't been many storms to directly hit Puerto Rico, the last being Hurricane Georges in 1998 that was the first to pass through the entire island since 1932. It sounds like it was pretty devastating, mostly on the eastern coast, but damage throughout the island. I'm sure another one will hit eventually, maybe sooner rather than later considering the climate changes of the past decade. Our friend, Beth Kramer is coordinating an emergency preparedness workshop with government help to start in September. Cynthia and I will be in the classes for 3 consecutive Fridays, learning how to help our town in the event of a disaster, natural or otherwise. When it comes, we would like to be fully prepared, but hard decisions must be made on how we spend our money. For this hurricane season, we will prepare to be self-sufficient for a 10 day period and rely on neighbors and friends if we need more, next year I hope to be writing about our 200 gallon water tank and solar battery system and to be of some help should our neighbors or friends need it.