Good morning and welcome, to the third week of September (already!) It’s been a brutally hot summer and not just here. July of 2012 was the hottest month on record…EVER – but there are signs of a cool down in our futures!
I was wondering what to write about because I didn’t have a good idea for this morning. I kinda wanted to do something sciency but I was at a loss as to how to be able to fairly engage all readers. I happened to be idly perusing the news, pondering what to write when I ran across a story about 33,000 people in Guatemala being evacuated from the area around the Fuego volcano.
“Fuego” means “fire” in Spanish and in this case it’s appropriate because its decided to stop its daily smoking habit and start belching some more dangerous ejecta. Cinders have been half an inch thick in places and hot gases have been rolling down its sides. Fuego is a stratovolcano so there is little danger of a caldera-collapsing explosion, and the geology seems to make the chances of a Mt. St. Helen’s type of landslide/explosion pretty small. But there is always the danger of a vertical eruption column collapsing under its own weight creating a powerful pyroclastic flow of super hot material roaring down its steep sides. Other dangers include groundhugging toxic gases which can kill silently without warning, massive amounts of ash, destroying crops and homes, lahars, and of course the big enchilada, a river of molten rock flowing down into a village or town. I hope you’ll all join me in my best wishes and fervent hopes for the people and wildlife in the area.
It got me to thinking though, we all live in diverse areas with our own possibilities of disaster-forced evacuation. Some of us live in quake prone areas, some are susceptible to storms, some are at risk from wildfires, etc. My own area is both geologically stable and far enough inland to blunt the force of any tropical storms but I still have a disaster bag. It contains some (slightly out of fashion) clothing, a three day supply of my prescriptions and vitamins, some basic toiletries and first aid supplies and $500 cash; along with a small radio, a knife and a flashlight. The box in which I take Kuroneko to the dreaded vet also contains two small bowls and some dry and canned catfood. I regularly rotate the prescriptions and medical supplies (the catfood too!), so they don’t wind up spoiling or losing efficacy. I also keep a five gallon container of water on hand which I rotate as well. I know I’ll probably never need my disaster bag but it’s one of those things that is needed rarely but when it is, nothing else will do.
So what about you guys? Have you made your own disaster preparations or do you think I’m being silly and paranoid for preparing for one? While you’re typing your responses, please enjoy a little Jimmy Buffett and some cool volcanic scenes.