Another monstrous storm is swirling its way across the Atlantic, and like most of the East Coast, we at Smoke Cartel Headquarters are staying glued to the the StormTracker app and battening down the hatches.
As of this writing, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that Category 2 Hurricane Florence will barrel into the Carolinas tomorrow evening with treacherous downpours and shearing winds, and we're sure to feel the rainy wrath here at SMKC HQ in Savannah, GA.
But it takes more than a nasty tropical depression to get us down. We've been through two hurricanes in the last two years (Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017 both brought hell and high water), and we've learned some thangs.
Obviously, we all need to heed warnings from government officials, and should an evacuation order be issued, it's time to pack it up and head to higher ground. Florence may have slowed down to a Category 2, but hurricane of any category is still incredibly dangerous, and keeping ahead of a storm like this is no joke.
But if you can't find a little fun in the chaos, what is life, anyway? As we say in the South, ain't no party like a hurricane party.
The Smoke Cartel Guide to Hurricane Preparedness
- Water. The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security recommends one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation. In addition, we advise factoring in at least another cup a day for each water pipe on the coffee table. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to fill your hurricane bong by opening the front door and holding it out in the rain. Learn from our mistakes.
- Food. The official rule of thumb is a three-day supply of non-perishable food, which is far too subjective. To some people, that could mean sensible choices like a loaf of whole wheat bread, a jar of peanut butter and an extra large bag of beef jerky. To us, hurricanes are an epicurean opportunity to try out snacks we would never consider during nice weather. Jalapeño pork rinds? Hell yes. A jumbo bag of pumpkin spice yogurt pretzels? Get three. Caviar and melba toast? We could all die tonight so why not?
- Ice. Fill a couple of coolers to keep the beer cold, but make sure you keep a reserve for the ice pinch. That way if the AC goes out and the humidity starts wilting the wallpaper, at least the hits will stay crisp and cool.
- Emergency essentials. Flashlights, candles and a battery-powered or hand crank radio to keep apprised of NOAA updates are no-brainers, no matter what state of mind you're planning. And don't forget the first aid kit: Stock it with bandages, over-the-counter meds and salves for minor scrapes and burns. In the aftermath of the storm, emergency rooms may be full of serious injuries, and you don't want to be that person taking up valuable first responder time for singing off your eyebrows.
- Extra batteries. We're talking AA, AAA, C and D types for flashlights and various other portable appliances (small fans can help keep the party comfortable) as well as additional ways to power your cell phones. Vaping enthusiasts will also want to throw in an extra lithium battery or two for their favorite vaporizer to counteract the big bad clouds outside.
- Games. As long as the wi-fi is working, it's easy to stay entertained with Smoke Cartel's fun 420-friendly activities. But if the electricity and interwebs fail, it's time to go old school: For blunt buffs, there's "Cherry Bomb": Try to puff, puff, pass without tapping—drop the ash on your turn and you're out. The Iron Lung Challenge will separate the respiratory champs from the mouth breathers—whoever can clear the bowl and hold the rip the longest, wins. And who doesn't love a good game of Bong Pong?
- Smoker supplies. Before the winds go wild, be sure you've got your storm sesh dialed in. Pipes, papers and rigs at the ready? Multiple lighters on hand? Be sure to stock up replacement bowls and bangers in case of breakage, and don't forget extra butane for your dab torch! Whatever else you need to source is your business, legalities being what there are, you understand. We'll just offer up the ol' hurricane foxhole adage: Smoke 'em if you got 'em.