Storm School

If you watch The Weather Channel like we do, you hear them use different terms and may not really know what some of those terms mean. Here are 10 storm terms and their meanings.

Tropical Depression
A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed is 38 mph or less.

Tropical Storm
A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind speed ranges from 39 to 73 mph.

Tropical Storm Warning
An announcement that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the specified area within 36 hours.

Tropical Storm Watch
An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified area within 48 hours.

A tropical cyclone in which the maximum sustained surface wind is 74 mph or more.

Hurricane Warning
An announcement that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the specified area. because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

Hurricane Watch
An announcement that hurricane conditions are possible within the specified area. The hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-force-winds.

Storm Surge
An abnormal rise in sea level accompanying a hurricane or other intense storm, and whose height is the difference between the observed level of the sea surface and the level that would have occurred in the absence of the cyclone. Storm surge is usually estimated by subtracting the normal or astronomic high tide from the observed storm time. storm surge can reach heights well over 20 feet and can span hundreds of miles of coastline.

Storm Tide
The actual level of sea water resulting from the astronomic tide combined with the storm surge.

Short Term Watches & Warnings
Provide detailed information about specific hurricane threats, such as flash floods and tornadoes.

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Build a Disaster ‘Supply Kit’

No matter where we live in the world we are subject to some kind of disaster. Those disasters may include a hurricane, tornado, snow storm, wild fire, or ‘whatever’. Here are some thoughts on things you should have in your disaster supply kit.

* Stock non-perishable emergency supplies

* Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days

* Food – at least enough for 3 to 7 days: non-perishable packaged or canned food, juices, food for infants or the elderly, snack foods, non-electric can opener, cooking tools, fuel, paper plates, plastic utensils

* Blankets, pillows, etc.

* Clothing – seasonal, rain gear, sturdy shoes

*First Aid Kit – Medicines, prescription drugs

* Special Items – for babies and the elderly

* Toiletries – hygiene items, moisture wipes

* Flashlight – batteries

* Radio – battery-operated and NOAA weather radio

* Telephone – fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set

* Cash with some small bills and Credit Cards, banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods

* Keys

* Toys – books, games

* Important Documents – in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag, insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.

* Tools – keep a set with you during the storm

* Vehicle fuel tank filled

* Pet care items – proper identification, immunization records, medication, ample supply of food and water, a carrier or cage, muzzle or leash

* Use a NOAA weather radio – remember to replace its batteries every 6 months, as you do with your smoke detector

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Fried Green Tomatoes

If you’ve never fixed fried green tomatoes before, here’s a simple recipe to follow. It can also be used with any summer squash with excellent results.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Slice 2 small green tomatoes. Place the slices into a colander and set in the sink or large bowl. Sprinkle salt over them to let the excess liquid be drawn out. This will take approximately 30 minutes.

Pour 1 cup of buttermilk into a bowl. In another bowl, mix together 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, 1/2 cup self rising flour, salt to taste, and 2 tablespoons of red pepper. Heat approximately 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a skillet.

Place the tomatoes in the buttermilk, then dredge through the panko mixture.

Pan-fry until crispy. Drain on a cooling rack to avoid sogginess.

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Skinny Dipping

The Shenandoah River as it runs by here has some deep holes that makes for excellent spots for fishing or swimming. There is no public land for fishing if you are not a land owner, renter, etc., so most fishing is done out of canoes. Swimming is suppose to be the same way.

Yesterday I grabbed a five gallon bucket and headed to the garden to pick tomatoes and summer squash once again. As the garden is only a couple of hundred feet from the river you can hear activity going on down there although you have to get closer to see what’s going on.

As I neared the garden, I heard voices shouting and laughing with glee.

Bypassing the garden I approached the edge of the trees and saw a red sports cars sitting just outside our gate. As I looked over to our steps down to the river, I saw a bunch of young women skinny-dipping just off the steps.

I made the women aware of my presence and they all moved into deeper water.

One of the women shouted to me, “We’re not coming out until you leave!”

I frowned and said, “I didn’t come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or make you get out of the river naked.”

Holding up the bucket I continued, “I’m here to feed the alligator.”

Some old men can still think fast.

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Naming Hurricanes

According to the National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this  is how Hurricanes are named.

There are six different lists of storms names that are rotated from year to year. This year’s list will be used again in 2020, but the names of particularly devastating storms are removed. For example, Katrina was replaced with Katia for 2011.

Hurricanes and tropical storms have been named since 1953. When the naming system started, storms were all given female names. In 1979, male names were added to the list and now storms alternate between male and female names.

Experience shows that the use of short, distinctive given names in written as well as spoken communications is quicker and less subject to error than the older more cumbersome latitude-longitude identification methods. These advantages are especially important in exchanging detailed storm information between hundreds of widely scattered stations, coastal bases, and ships at sea.

In the event that more than 21 named tropical cyclones occur in the Atlantic basin in a season, additional storms will take names from the Greek alphabet: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and so on. If a storm forms in the off-season, it will take the next name in the list based on the current calendar date. For example, if a tropical cyclone formed on December 28, it would take the name from the previous season’s list of names. If a storm formed in February, it would be named from the subsequent season’s list of names.

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Re-purposing Chickens

As a young boy growing up I was sometimes told by my mother that I was “running around like a chicken with its head cut off.”  At the time I had no idea what she meant by that. When I was a little older, I found out what she was talking about. I knew that every spring we laid in a couple of boxes of baby chicks and around the fourth of July we started having fried chicken for supper, but I never figured out the transition until one day I was told I was going to help re-purpose chickens.

Our garage door consisted of two big swinging doors, each being hinged on the side and meeting in the middle. When opened, the right door stayed in the open position by itself but the left door had a mind of its own and had to be held open with an axle from an old car. This axle was the main implement of the re-purposing process. Most people would chop the chickens head off with an ax or hatchet, which is quick but messy, but not my mother. Holding the chicken close to the ground, she would place the axle over the chicken’s neck. (The door be damned.) While standing over the chicken she would put one foot on each side on the axle and pull straight up on the chickens legs. Giving the headless chicken a toss soon taught me what she meant by the forgoing phrase.

Although she would scald the chickens in boiling water, we always had lots of pin feathers to pick. It wasn’t until much later that I found out her process had a few flaws. (I’m being kind.)  I had a poultry production class in college taught by Phil Plummart but I can’t remember him teaching us the right technique either. Not remembering doesn’t surprise me much as that was back in the mid 60’s and I have problems remembering to take my medication after meals now-a-days. So, if you have the opportunity or “duty” to re-purpose live chicken into fried chicken, here are some things to keep in mind.

To dispatch a chicken, hang the bird by its legs and grasp the comb by your non-dominant hand. (If you’re right handed, your left hand is the non-dominant hand.) The next two steps can be reversed. Finding the groove in the roof of the chickens mouth, force the point of your knife through this groove in the back part of the skull piercing the brain. If you hear a squawk, you’ll know you did this step right. This relaxes the muscles holding the feathers, making plucking easier. Next, insert your knife into one side of the throat and cut to the opposite side before withdrawing the knife. If done right, you will have cut major blood vessels and blood should gush out. The bird will be dead , but the heart will continue to beat pumping the blood out. If the splashing blood bothers you, hang an empty soup can from the chicken’s beak to catch the blood.

If you are re-purposing only a few chickens, you may dry pick the birds. If stuck properly, this should be an easy task. If you are going to wet pick the birds, dip one bird at a time into approximately 130 degree water for 30 seconds before plucking. If you have spring fryers, the water temperature doesn’t have to be this hot, but stick to the 30 seconds in the hot water. Slosh the bird up and down in the water to soak through the feathers to the skin. If you do have a few pin feathers, pick these while holding the bird under a stream of cold water. If your bird has ‘hair’, singe with a torch or use a gas stove running the flame parallel to the skin.

I’ve used this method on turkeys that dressed out over 50 pounds and only the end wing feathers gave me problems. Of course, I didn’t hang them by their feet. I had to straddle and sit on them before the sticking process began. Remember, if you remove the head on poultry to dispatch them, the plucking process will be much harder.

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Tomato Hints From the Amish

To help with tomato blight, spray  tomato plants with 2 tablespoons of Epsom Salts in 1 gallon of water every week when they are blooming.

Once there are tomatoes on the vines, spray them with 1 tablespoon of Epsom Salts in 1 gallon of water every week to keep them from cracking. You may add a liquid fertilizer to the above spray to increase production.

Mulch your tomato plants with straw, hay, or newsprint to keep tomatoes from rotting.

Lay straw sprinkled with lime around your tomato plants to help eliminate blight and dry rot.

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