As I pulled the front door closed behind me at my parents' Gulf Coast home, I called over my shoulder, "Get your guns ready!"
I had two seconds for that remark to seem ridiculous and less than 8 hours before someone would siphon the gas from one of my parents' cars in their own driveway.
The Sunday night before Hurricane Isaac is projected to make landfall on Wednesday and the gas stations along the Mississippi Gulf Coast were already beginning to run out of gas, assuming you could afford to fill up.
Our family spent the last two days preparing for the landfall of Hurricane Isaac. I'm writing this ahead of impending power loss and will hit publish before I'm satisfied with what I've written.
Seven years ago Wednesday, our beach front home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast was reduced to a bare slab of concrete. Hurricane Katrina. We don't need this right now.
Why is Hurricane Isaac so serious? Although a much weaker storm than Katrina, Hurricane Isaac is roughly 800 miles wide, compared to Katrina's 400 miles. Gulfport is tracking to fall within Isaac's Northeastern quadrant, the area that sustains the highest winds and highest storm surge.
That counter-clockwise motion you see hurricanes make means that wind forces water up toward the upper right corner of the hurricane for hours on end, creating a storm surge.
The wider the storm, the longer the winds have to push water onto the beaches and into the bays and bayous before it moves away. In short, we have to endure 400 miles of the storm if we fall to the right of the eye.
Our current home sits two miles inland but only two blocks from one of the many bayous that course through Gulfport. When we purchased this home, we believed it to have taken on two feet of water in Hurricane Katrina. Years later, we realized it took on closer to eight feet, leaving us far less secure in our purchase but relatively certain we'd be long gone from this "in-between" home before the next big storm found us.
One hour ago, I drove over the bayou bridge near our home and found its waters already breaching the back patios of our neighbors.
We think we can withstand a storm surge of 11 feet at this house. Hurricane Isaac is expected to deliver a storm surge of 16.
So we prepare. And we do so without regret.
I don't have time to write the Katrina anniversary post I usually do, so please allow me to ask you to revisit my words from years before. My feelings have never changed:We adore the Gulf Coast. This is our home. We crave the culture and embrace the community. This is our home.
We plan accordingly.
I love how you have welcomed our family's stories the last five years that I have shared them here at Velveteen Mind and consider it part of our compact that I will continue to share them with you when you come to check in on us.
Please look for updates at the following platforms for as long as AT&T holds up and I can send words and photos out:
I'm going to cross-post some of the photo updates to the Rummage Blog section of VelveteenMind.com for those of you that don't use Twitter or Instagram or aren't already friends with me on Facebook. Those updates should send notifications to Velveteen Mind's Facebook page, as well, where anyone can find them. Check back every few hours and there should be something somewhere.
Please comment. Every nudge of my phone makes me feel more grounded. The pull of your eyes keeps me from floating away on a wave of panic and worry. This social media thing? It works.
What is our plan? We can easily withstand the wind and rain of a Category 1 or Category 2, however we can't tolerate a storm surge. Our plan is to stay at our home until we can't safely stay here any longer, then go to my parents' home a few blocks away, a home that did not flood in Katrina. If power should be lost for more than a day or two, we'll evacuate to family out of state.
I promise, we are staying safe. Our hurricane disaster supply is abundant. We are analyzing our decisions to the point of conflict, entertaining a chorus of opinions and weighing our hearts against our minds.
We have no interest in being brave.
The winds are gusting outside of my window. I am not satisfied with what I have written.