Last week as Florence was bearing down on the Carolina coast the warnings were stern. This was a huge storm and it was a category 4. In anyone’s book that is a force to fear. Then as the storm hit it had reduced in force to a category 1, but had plenty of rain. It’s the water that is the real danger in a hurricane.
Not helping matters was the Weather Channel’s Mike Seidel getting caught faking the impact of the wind as he struggled against it on camera only to be outed when a pair of teens walked by in the background having no difficulty whatsoever. And therein lies the problem.
Weather prediction is tough. The forces impacting the severity and landfall of a storm are even more so. When the storms dwindle from the raging mass of destruction they had been in open water, when the force of the impact is less than it had been only hours before and then the experts we rely upon to give us the best they can are embellishing the impact it causes a loss of confidence. It also leads to complacency that is likely the most dangerous thing in a storm.
We’ve been lucky in Brevard. Oh, we have seen destruction, but not from a direct hit. We have been brushed by storms in the 20 years I have been here. And some of that damage was severe, but in limited pockets of the region. A direct hit and a significant storm surge could wipe out barrier islands. People could die when they do not evacuate.
Our luck and lack of confidence in the predictions can place us in that dangerous position of thinking it isn’t going to happen here. And so far at least, we are fortunate it hasn’t. What we must remember is that the storms are pushed by forces we can’t always predict and if the big one would come, it could be too late to get out.
Officials issue evacuation orders with the best information available in time to get folks out safely. Deciding to stay because of past history is not wise. We simply do not know which one could be THE one.
So watch the reporters faking it and laugh, but remember it’s your life and those of your loved ones on the line. Is it really worth the risk when the reality is, we really don’t know until too late if it is the big one?
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