While the weather was good over the holiday weekend, we had been watching for over a week as our friends in Houston battled to survive and begin recovering after Hurricane Harvey. Their struggle will be a long one. And maybe it's serving a purpose here in Florida.
While we enjoyed whatever Labor Day festivities were in play (for me old movies and Mountaineer football), there was something else in the back of our minds: Hurricane Irma. Irma was brewing in the Atlantic and potentially headed our way. Even as I write this Monday night the storm is so far off that the prediction models are nothing more than reasonable guesses. She may or may not impact us directly.
We could see a south Florida strike or Irma could go into the gulf. She could turn and head up the coast and hit us or go by and head for the Carolinas or points to the north. The point is we just don't know. And while we're used to that here, this time there has been something different.
Social media comes into play here. I saw several Sunday and Monday Facebook posts about hurricane preppers finding empty store shelves when it cane to water, gas cans and more. While many may be shocked, I see this as a positive.
You see, being in an area that hasn't had a major impact since 2004 until last year's Matthew, many had become complacent. Not this time.
I was in WalMart earlier today and saw the empty shelves for myself. Good. WalMart will restock and people will continue to go buy their prep items. We don't usually see this until a couple of days before the storm is following a fairly reliable predicted path. Again, not this time.
Suddenly, after Houston, people are responding in a much more reasonable fashion. That's a positive. Preparation now means a greater likelihood that people will be ready and respond more properly to the warnings and evacuation orders should they come our way. And that means more of our friends and neighbors will be ready or out of harm's way.
Yes, Houston was a big wake up call. Here's to praying we won't have to apply more of its lessons anytime soon.
If you need tips on making your hurricane kit, see the Stormwatch page at WMMBAM.COM.
And if we are fortunate enough for Irma to pass us without major impact, hang onto those supplies you have. While there are three months of hurricane season behind us, there are still three months to go and the fall is usually the more active part of the season.
Be safe, pray with faith and do your best to weather whatever may come.