To: ex-LEE Countians, present LEE Countians, and future LEE Countians or
those who know a LEE Countian:
We’re about to enter the peak of the hurricane season, which starts June 1
and ends November 30. Any day now, you’re going to turn on the TV and see a
weather person pointing to some radar blob out in the Gulf of Mexico and
making two basic meteorological points:
(1) There is no need to panic.
(2) We could all be killed.
Yes, hurricane season is an exciting time to be in LEE County. If you’re
new to the area, you’re probably wondering what you need to do to prepare
the possibility that we’ll get hit by ‘the big one.”
Based on our experiences, we recommend that you follow this simple
three-step hurricane preparedness plan:
STEP 1. Buy enough food and bottled water to last your family for at
least three days.
STEP 2. Put these supplies into your car.
STEP 3. Drive to Nebraska and remain there until Thanksgiving.
Unfortunately, statistics show that most people will not follow this
sensible plan. Most people will foolishly stay here in LEE County.
We’ll start with one of the most important hurricane preparedness items:
HOMEOWNERS’ INSURANCE: If you own a home, you must have hurricane insurance.
Fortunately, this insurance is cheap and easy to get, as long as your home
meets two basic requirements:
(1) It is reasonably well-built, and (2) It is located in Nebraska.
Unfortunately, if your home is located in LEE County, or any other area that
might actually be hit by a hurricane, most insurance companies would prefer
not to sell you hurricane insurance, because then they might be required to
pay YOU money, and that is certainly not why they got into the insurance
business in the first place. So you’ll have to scrounge around for an
insurance company, which will charge you an annual premium roughly equal to
the replacement value of your house.
At any moment, this company can drop you like used dental floss.
Since Hurricane Frederick, I have had an estimated 27 different
home-insurance companies. This week, I’m covered by the Bob and Big Stan
Insurance Company, under a policy which states that, in addition to my
premium, Bob and Big Stan are entitled, on demand, to my kidneys.
SHUTTERS: Your house should have hurricane shutters on all the windows, all
the doors, and — if it’s a major hurricane — all the toilets. If you’re looking for a company that offers custom shutters, try Southern Custom Shutters. There are
several types of shutters, with advantages and disadvantages:
Plywood shutters: The advantage is that, because you make them yourself,
they’re cheap. The disadvantage is that, because you make them yourself,
they will fall off.
Sheet-metal shutters: The advantage is that these work well, once you get
them all up. The disadvantage is that once you get them all up, your hands
will be useless bleeding stumps, and it will be December.
Roll-down shutters: The advantages are that they’re very easy to use, and
will definitely protect your house. The disadvantage is that you will have
to sell your house to pay for them.
“Hurricane-proof” windows: These are the newest wrinkle in hurricane
protection: They look like ordinary windows, but they can withstand
You can be sure of this, because the salesman says so. He lives in
Hurricane Proofing Your Property: As the hurricane approaches, check your
yard for movable objects like barbecue grills, planters, patio furniture,
visiting relatives, etc. You should, as a precaution, throw these items into
your swimming pool (if you don’t have a swimming pool, you should have one
built immediately). Otherwise, the hurricane winds will turn these objects
into deadly missiles.
EVACUATION ROUTE: If you live in a low-lying area, you should have an
evacuation route planned out. (To determine whether you live in a low-lying
area, look at your driver’s license; if it says you live anywhere in LEE
County, you live in a low-lying area.) The purpose of having an evacuation
route is to avoid being trapped in your home when a major storm hits.
Instead, you will be trapped in a gigantic traffic jam several miles from
your home, along with two hundred thousand other evacuees. So, as a bonus,
you will not be lonely.
HURRICANE SUPPLIES: If you don’t evacuate, you will need a mess of supplies.
Do not buy them now! LEE County tradition requires that you wait until the
last possible minute, then go to the supermarket and get into vicious fights
with strangers over who gets the last can of SPAM.
In addition to food and water, you will need the following supplies:
23 flashlights. At least $167 worth of batteries that turn out, when the
power goes out, to be the wrong size for the flashlights.
Bleach. (No, I don’t know what the bleach is for. NOBODY knows what the
bleach is for. But it’s traditional, so GET some!)
A 55-gallon drum of underarm deodorant.
A big knife that you can strap to your leg. (This will be useless in a
hurricane, but it looks cool.)
A large quantity of raw chicken, to placate the alligators. (Ask anybody who
went through Fredrick; after the hurricane, there WILL be irate alligators.)
$35,000 in cash or diamonds so that, after the hurricane passes, you can buy
a generator from a man with no discernible teeth.
Of course these are just basic precautions.
As the hurricane draws near, it is vitally important that you keep abreast
of the situation by turning on your television and watching TV reporters in
rain slickers stand right next to the surf at the Gulf of Mexico warning
everybody to stay away from the ocean.
Good luck and remember: It’s great living in paradise! Those of you who
aren’t here yet, you should come. Really!