Hurricane Season

Hurricane Season
Hurricane season is a frightening time for Floridians or anyone unfortunate enough to be in the path of these destructive storms.

People say that earthquakes are worse because they come suddenly and give no warning. However, I think hurricanes are much more dangerous, precisely because we have so many warnings and so many days to fear their impending arrival. The weather channel and our local forecasters start telling us about a storm from the minute it forms (usually off the coast of Africa) until it makes landfall somewhere in the U.S. This sometimes takes as long as two to three weeks. In the meantime, we are barraged with daily and eventually hourly updates from the National Hurricane Center.

Over the twenty years I’ve lived in Florida, I have acquired a hurricane vocabulary that is pretty much reserved for use between June 1st and November 30th. That’s the official hurricane season but, August, September and October are the worst months…that’s when the most storms cross the Atlantic and wreak havoc where they land.

Some of the words and phrases that fly freely off Floridians tongues during this season are:
  • Storm surge
  • Dirty side of the storm
  • Wind velocity
  • Eye of the storm
  • Category 1,2,3,4 or 5
  • Cone of probability
  • Landfall
  • Millibars
  • Eye wall
  • Tropical force winds
  • Hurricane watches
  • Hurricane warnings
  • Barometric pressure
  • Tracking the storm
  • The European model
  • Cone of uncertainty
  • Flooding potential
  • Evacuation procedures & zones 
I would suggest that if you live in any areas that are prone to hurricanes, you are already more than familiar with these terms and concepts, and if you don’t, lucky you. There’s thankfully, no need to know about them.

Hurricanes can have a devastating effect on entire communities...think Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. Whole cities have been leveled and water rises so quickly that homes literally float away. Electricity is wiped out by downed power lines, and safe drinking water needs to be trucked in, along with food and medical supplies. The aftermath of a serious hurricane poses great emotional and financial hardships to those affected. It can be weeks, months or even years before life returns to normal. And, there’s always the daunting possibility of another storm coming.

Hurricanes are nothing to laugh about and if one is in harm’s way, there are really serious preparations you should make, like putting up storm shutters, filling your car gas tank, bringing in anything from outside that can blow around and become a projectile, stockpiling any essential medicines and being sure your important papers are secured on a computer chip or at least placed within plastic bags to protect them from possible water intrusion.

On a lighter side…there is a routine Floridians follow (at lease me and my friends do).
  1. Stock the house with booze, wine and beer.
  2. Load up on canned goods and get a hand-held can opener and wine opener. (In case of a power outage)
  3. Buy plenty of snacks, chips, candy etc. and loads of peanut butter.
  4. Have paper or plastic plates, cups and utensils available. Dishwashing may not be possible.
  5. Have plenty of flashlights and stock-pile batteries for them.
  6. Get battery-operated cell phone chargers.
  7. Have several decks of cards available (and possibly poker chips).
  8. Be sure to have a few good books and magazines available.

And my best advice, from personal experience, is GET OUT OF TOWN.

Wishing everyone a seriously, uneventful hurricane season.

Until my next inspiration…ciao.


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