It is Friday morning 10:00 am, I have lived on the east coast of Virginia since 1986, and I Have owned a beach front house in Nags Head, North Carolina since 1994. That can make me as nervous as a "cat on a hot tin roof" to borrow a famous metaphor during hurricane season. I am glad that Earl turned to the NNE and weakened to a category 2 hurricane. I have had allot of experiences with hurricanes. I grew up on Miami Beach and have lived through some of the worst hurricanes in history, starting with Camile in 1969.
My only complaint I have is with the way the media sensationalizes every possible disaster. I almost get the sense that they cry "wolf" so many times that people ignore them when they shouldn't Unfortunately, this causes more death and strain on relief workers when their is a big hurricane that damages communities. I know that hurricane prediction is not an "exact science." I am a retired army helicopter pilot and have enough meteorological experience to know that predicting the weather, even with all the high tech equipment, is still very much left to chance!
However, when the news media sensationalizes every hurricane that comes our way people become skeptical when the hurricane does little damage. I think that this was part of the issue with Katrina. Unfortunately, I believe many New Orleans residents did not heed the warnings of that storm and decided to "stick it out." When the disaster hit, there where too many people who needed to be rescued and provided basic life essentials. I think that all the levels of government, federal, state, and local, where too slow and lax in preparing for the storm. A lesson that our community learned from the tragedy of Katrina was in convincing residents who want to ride out a hurricane of that magnitude not to do so. How do they do that?
If the city is convinced that a Katrina like hurricane is going to come our way, they send out the "first responders" of our city to the neighborhoods with the residents that are most likely to hunker down and ride out the hurricane. The "first responders will go door to door to convince the resident to evacuate. If a resident says they are going to stay, the first responders will ask the resident for permission to write on that person's arm their social security number in indelible "magic marker." When the resident asks why that is necessary, the "first responder" will answer that it will be easier to identify the "dead bodies" that have to be cleaned up after the storm. When that idea sinks in, the resident starts packing to leave!!!
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