The past 7 days have been one of records made and records broken. I’ll forego personal topics for now… except to say that it was a perfect football weekend. One in which the Dawgs won and the team from the North Avenue Trade School suffered a gut wrenching loss in double OT. Perfect. Thinking of you, Mrs. Higgins.
But on to other pressing issues-
As the first leaves of fall begin to accumulate on back porches and hummingbirds begin to make their annual trek across the Gulf of Mexico, it’s an interesting time to be an observer of world issues… and wonder where it all leads.
They call it “Category 5”, and the main stream media loves the click bait. Rarely, though, does anyone ever really ponder that. Mostly because, I imagine, we haven’t seen one in decades. With regard to Irma’s magnitude, some say we’ve never had a storm of this scale. Ever.
It sounds ominous, and rightly so.
Little bit of detail- and a whole lot of uncertainty:
A “Cat 5” is only a measure of the sustained winds in a hurricane, measured at approximately 30 feet above land or ocean. To measure as a Cat 5, the winds must be in excess of 157 mph. Irma’s winds have currently been measured at 185 mph. From the National Hurricane Center’s website regarding category 5 storms:
“Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”
The disconcerting part of this measure is that it does not take into account one of the more damaging and deadly results of a hurricane- Storm Surge. That’s not part of the Saffir-Simpson scale.
The reason is mainly because it can’t be estimated on a wide scale or, in many cases, imagined. Walls of water, dozens of feet in height, become very real possibilities with a storm like Irma.
Huge accumulated rain amounts are another dramatic result of a storm. Keep in mind that Hurricane Harvey, the storm that has so adversely impacted Houston, had minimal, relatively speaking, wind impact on Houston. Flooding is still rampant, however. Additionally- one major Hurricane that impacted the Georgia coast, many years ago, measured 16 inches of rain in 48 hours… in Highlands, NC.
Suffice it to say that this storm, if and when it hits land, will be unlike anything we’ve experienced in recent history. That statement stands for my home state of Georgia, any other part of the United States, the Caribbean or Mexico. The initial statement above seems prophetic: “Catastrophic damage will occur.”
A week from now we will know what impact this storm will have, or had, on the continental US.
From experience- I’m concerned. The potentially devastating impact of the storm aside, the politics of storm response and recovery can be very ugly as well.
Having seen firsthand how politics, mostly local, plays into the response and recovery process, there’s reason for concern.
My thought- Elected Officials should trust the experts… and the experts are the First Responders.
Stated simply- If Mayors, County Commissioners, Legislators and Congressional members try to be the problem solvers, they traditionally make things worse with regard to storm response and recovery.
The reality is that these policy makers are the least qualified and trained in rescue, recovery and life saving in general.
So, to the elected officials (and I know you’re out there): If the time comes to engage your government entity in a Hurricane response in the not-so-distant future, do the right thing. Get out of the way. You’re not going to be the smartest people in the room when it comes to saving lives. The best thing you can do is let them run the show and follow their lead. Your experts will thank you later, I promise.
Good Lord willing, we will watch, pray and hope that this storm will turn out into the Atlantic and dissipate. Don’t forget, however, that hope is not a plan. We must prepare at every level and it starts with personal responsibility.
Last thought- If you’re in Irma’s path- head for the hills, so to speak. It’s never too soon. Hope for the best but plan for the worst.
May God Bless those who are in harm’s way and also those serving anyone who will be impacted by this impending adverse weather.