Years ago when hurricanes battered coastal communities, (like Betsy and Camille) you read about them in the newspapers and maybe saw some grainy video several days later. No more with the internet and video streaming. We’re seeing all the suffering in real time. There is no buffer to shield our senses. The emotion of human suffering jumps right out to you. It’s hard not to watch, but I must tell you, I know when to turn away.
With every network competing for viewers, showing over and over terrible tragedy, I start to feel depressed. First Harvey, now Irma. It’s challenging to not feel sad. Irma’s power is staggering, and I’m sure we will learn of many dead as it hit several islands head-on.
I won’t go over NHC’s latest track, as it really hasn’t changed since this morning. Florida still is the main impact area along with Georgia and the Carolinas. Will she make the turn sooner to spare Florida from the worse winds? Maybe, as she could turn sooner with the main impacts staying offshore. But it’s too close to call.
I remember Dr. Neil Frank (retired director of NHC) once tell the audience at the National Hurricane Conference: ”If you live along the coast, for every five storms that require you to evacuate, four will be for nothing as the storm will veer at the last minute."
Who wants to gamble with their life or the lives of their family? That’s why government officials err on the side of caution. For those of you with family and friends in Florida, remember it’s only the coastal residents that need to evacuate. Florida has some elevation where the storm surge can’t reach. If the NHC track (right over Miami and up along the East Coast) proves correct, then the brunt of the storm will stay mainly offshore. With the track parallel to the coast, the storm surge will be much less. The greater surge threat will be farther north along the Georgia and Carolina coasts.
With modern media, this storm will not surprise anyone. Everyone in its path will have plenty of time to seek shelter. We can only hope Irma makes the turn sooner, staying just offshore and keeping the worst out to sea for the U.S. The Bahamas may bear the brunt of the storm. Stay tuned!
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