Hurricanes – really?

First let me apologize to anyone living in an area hit full force by Irene who suffered serious damage or loss of a loved one. This post is not about those unfortunate people.

This post is about Hurricanes and Newscasters.Comic
Why do they blow it way out of proportion? Honestly, it makes more trouble for people than it is worth. Do you think all the hype about hurricane Irene saved anyone’s life? I think it might have made things worse. There is dishonesty in reporting just to put sensational news out there so people will watch.

I was born & raised in S. Florida and lived through many far worse hurricane’s. If you live in an area that is hit often then you know how it goes, and you know what you have to do. By the day before landfall you can predict how bad or not so bad it will be. I predicted last week that Irene would downgrade by the time it got to NYC and would be nothing more than wind gusts & rain by the time it got to New England, especially NH. I was right.

Meanwhile, universities as far as an hour and a half inland were not letting students move in this weekend because they were afraid of power outages. A paint store right down the street from my house taped up their windows and barricaded the front of their store. When I went shopping yesterday the shelves were half empty, all water was gone in 2 stores, and kitty litter was gone too. (It’s nice that people love their cats and want to keep them safe inside.) I have not seen this much preparation before a winter blizzard, and those can truly be bad in New England.

Does anyone study science or weather in school anymore? I assume the weathermen & reporters on major networks have gone to college, so what are they learning? How to hype up a story to keep the ratings up? Why do we tolerate this kind of overly dramatized news? It should be a well known fact that hurricanes gain strength over water and lose strength the more they make landfall.

Personally I would much rather watch an honest & intelligent assessment of the probabilities than a reporter risking his safety at the edge of the ocean and subjecting himself to the pounding wind, rain & sand. That is stupid & irresponsible reporting because many people would think “If he can do it, I can too.” With news being repeated in so many ways through so many media forms these days it is easy to incite panic & overreaction. The world is not coming to an end, and if we react calmly & rationally knowing factual information we are much more likely to make it through the storms.

I have walked through the streets of Myrtle Beach during a hurricane with water up to my knees, trying to get to the location to meet my evacuation ride. I was not panicked because I knew what to expect. I had been through it many times before. When I lived in Orlando friends used to evacuate the coastal areas and stay at my house, which was only an hour inland, but we were never seriously impacted.

I was 5 years old when I met my first hurricane in south Florida. The thunder, & pounding wind & rain on my bedroom windows woke me with a fright. Jumping out of bed, I ran to find my parents and found myself sliding down the hallway on my back in several inches of water. Mom & Dad were moving furniture away from the front windows and trying to keep the front hallway bailed out at the same time. They wrapped me in a towel and calmed my fears. It’s just water, they said.

They didn’t want me to be afraid, so they took me outside during the eerie calm of the eye of the storm. We assessed the damage and tied down or protected anything else that might create a problem during the second half of the storm. Whenever there was a hurricane as I was growing up my parents would take my brother & I with them after the storm had passed, to assess the damages in the city and to their business or family property. They wanted to educate us, not scare us.

The point is, lots of people have a great deal of experience & knowledge about storms, the behavior & damage potential, & how to survive them or avoid what can be avoided. The news should consult real experts and give people useful information rather than a lot of hype which just scares people, especially when it’s so unnecessary.

We slept with our windows open last night, enjoying the breeze. When I woke up this morning to nothing more than a rainy day, I waved my arms in over dramatized fright and proclaimed, “Oooh, the big scary hurricane has hit!…. Not”.