Mannix About Manatee: List of signs it's that dreaded time of year

June 2, 2013 

Our human resources department emailed each of us an employee locator form, which means one thing.

It's hurricane season.

The bosses want to know our plans in case of the impending arrival of a Category 1 or higher hurricane.

That's followed by the question -- where will you go if told to evacuate?

I type in the same answer every year.

The Railway Tavern in County Kerry, Ireland, overlooking Tralee Bay.

I wish.

Instead, we'll all be gearing up for whatever Mother Nature decides to throw our way.

The experts are forecasting an active or extremely active season, which is overstating the obvious because we'vehad nothing but activehurricane season fore-casts for the past several years.

Besides, all it takes is one hurricane to ruin your day, not to mention rearrange your life.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts 13 to 20 named storms (winds 39 mph-plus) with seven to 11 potentially becoming hurricanes (winds 74 mph-plus) including three to six major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph-plus).

Six months of dread.

Great.

Well, we're two days into it and so far so good.

By this time last year, there had already been two tropical storms.

Anyway, with thanks to readers and fellow Floridians who share our dark sense of humor about this peculiar time of year every year, here are some other signs it is, indeed, hurricane season:

• If the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore shows up on Anna Maria Island, get out of town. Fast.

• You're able to catch catfish -- in the driveway.

• No matter how many times you flick the wall switch, lights won't come on without electricity.

• Florida's state flag? A blue tarp.

• Someone in another subdivision four blocks away comes over and says they've found your roof.

• You click on the National Hurricane Center website umpteen dozen times a day.

• Nothing in the fridge? No problem.

• A postcard of the Florida peninsula, hidden beneath a swirling storm system with a small arrow at its roiling core that reads: "You are here."

• A Lincoln Town Car will float.

• The Guv criticizes Citizens management for its profligate ways -- and the state's insurer of last resort goes right on gouging its customers.

• Three-day-old pretzels are comfort food.

• You hang on every word from meteorologists like ABC 7's Bob "Hurricane" Harrigan as if they are omnipotent.

• Downed power lines make effective security systems.

• The electric bill is 40 percent higher even though the house was without power for a week.

• You can recite your homeowner's insurance policy verbatim.

• Neighbors' homes are boarded up, yours isn't and you wonder if they know something you don't.

• Hooome Depot!

• You find out the hard way those flood plans drawn on your mortgage documents were seriously out of whack.

• Three words: Cone of death.

Mannix About Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee County. Call Vin at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix.

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