My father-in-law started watching Tropical Storm Hanna almost as soon as we arrived in New Jersey on Sunday. Oh, he had monitored the storm a few days before that from his home in Swansboro along the North Carolina coast but now this show was on the road.
“That’s the first time that channel’s been on in this house,” my brother-in-law Vinnie said when his dad practically demanded some access to The Weather Channel, at least at the usual time when the station produces the Tropical Update. You could set your watch by it — 10 minutes before every hour.
I know this because I once lived on the North Carolina coast. When you live there, August to October is spent monitoring the Tropical Update and checking out the exploits of Weather Channel road warrior Jim Cantore who specializes in wearing rain slickers, clutching telephone poles and screaming into a microphone to be heard above winds that sound like a large aircraft taking off.
I honestly say I hadn’t missed this one bit since I moved to Burlington.
But on Sunday, Monday and … well the rest of the week I was sucked in. My wife, sister-in-law, father-in-law and I were traveling earlier this week to attend the funeral of Uncle Rocco in Brooklyn. My father-in-law, who we call Papa Joe, had to make sure Hanna wouldn’t be a problem before we got back on Wednesday.
We continued to watch the storm creep up the coast — as many Atlantic hurricanes are want to do — with North Carolina seemingly its target. On the ride home Papa Joe was speculating about whether or not he would need to board up the large picture window at the front of his house that seems to bend but not break during one hurricane after another. A trip to the grocery store was a no-brainer. People stock up on bread if a hurricane gets within a week of the coast.
Boarding up is trickier. If it’s a tropical storm, no — if it’s a hurricane — then maybe.
By later Thursday he’d decided not to board up for Hanna but decided instead to keep a wary eye on Ike. I thought that might be a good plan. I didn’t like Ike too much on Tuesday and don’t care for it any more when I see it today. Ike’s projected path looks real familiar for folks who have lived on the North Carolina coast for more than summer vacation.
So now I’m hooked on The Weather Channel again. I’ll try to get clean in October.
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