Over the past several days there’s been this recurring topic and her name is Irene. She’s not the nosey neighbor or the meddling in-law, but the very real and threatening storm… the kind that gains strength and then slows…. oh, and gains strength again…. the hurricane kind of storm. She has relatives, known to me as: Hugo, Emily, Bertha, Fran (my favorite), Dennis, Floyd and Isabel.
Living in North Carolina, I have learned to take heed to the warnings of all weather officials, especially during hurricane season. While I don’t live on the Coast, PAYING ATTENTION is still key to staying safe, regardless of location.
Tracking the storm, listening to the weather alerts, watching Chad Myers on CNN or the local meteorologist can all cause a bit of anxiety, but for crying out loud, a hurricane is on the loose… there should be SOME anxiety.
Let’s face it folks, a hurricane is a storm and like all storms they are predictable to a point. These meteorologists are keeping us informed of many different variables pertaining to the storm at hand, but the key word here is variables. Change one of those variables and there may be a completely different type of storm, taking a path that appears favorable (out to sea), or not so much.
There seems to be this myth that hurricanes only cause havoc on coastal communities. No doubt that these communities usually take the brunt of the storm, but what about Hurricane Hugo? Hugo seemed to go straight for the “big city” of Charlotte, North Carolina, back in 1989. Although Hugo had been downgraded to a category 1 when hitting Charlotte, this storm did tremendous damage to this “western” metropolis of North Carolina. Unfortunately, Hugo’s impact did not weaken upon hitting the coast; it rolled right into Charlotte with a violent force, leaving homes damaged, power out for several weeks, and somewhat crippling North Carolina’s largest metropolitan area.
Now in the case of Irene, this metropolis could have been New York City. It could have.
After watching CNN last night, I was quickly brought up to speed on what seemed to be causing me more anxiety; anxiety of a different kind. Not the hurricane kind of anxiety (that was gone), but the perplexed form. I couldn’t believe that I was listening to people debate whether or not the weather officials had over-alerted the intensity of Irene. What frightens me about this debate is the fact that people may downplay the importance of future warnings.
Again, variables and predictions are just that, but they are relayed with alertness for a reason; there is a strong sense that destruction is ahead. So. Prepare.
It’s completely understandable that evacuating a portion of a large city is going to be very inconvenient and time-consuming, but on the other hand it just may be life saving. Personally, I’d rather have someone error on the side of safety, than the side of fatality.
Let’s stop focusing on what was supposedly done wrong and focus on what was done correctly. Let’s keep those that have lost their lives, their loved ones, their homes and belongings in our thoughts and prayers. For many, it is going to be a long and arduous journey, just to get back on track.
Photo credit: Don Rives