Even though I have been through a couple of hurricanes, I find it difficult to maintain some degree of normalcy because we are in the path of Hurricane Matthew along the southern coast of North Carolina by Wilmington. But once again I find myself in a state of flux, unable to accomplish much of anything except prepare and wait, watch every update on The Weather Channel. Hurricane Matthew is the latest storm of a season to directly impact the United States since 1954.
The Weather Channel is very detailed and provides frequent updates and analysis, however, I needed more. I purchased the Hurricane Tracker app for my phone for $2.99. I also continuously pull up other weather sites on my PC and iPad to compare data. I also receive text alerts on my phone alerting me of any change in status. Right now we are under a hurricane warning. In spite of the time and money spent in attempting to predict a hurricane’s path, as time goes on it will vary significantly. Not too much has changed since the advent of hurricane hunter planes and spaghetti models. We have just become more attached to media.
Last week started out in the direct path of the storm, which was supposed to creep along the east coast of the US and on into the northeastern states. However, it slowed down. Slowing down allowed a ridge of dry air combined with a wall of low pressure to move across the country. This led forecasting to continuously shift Matthew to hook back south, further and further away from southeastern North Carolina. It seemed that we were out of the woods.
Then, upon awakening this morning, I grabbed my phone and checked the tracker. We were right back in the path, with a southeasterly turn predicted just north of us. The next advisory showed it turning further up the coast, with the storm coming in to hug the coastline right where we live. By the time it is predicted to hit, it is supposed to be a Category 1 hurricane, I have been through those when I lived in Florida, although they never came this close to my home.
So I watch and I wait. Do we evacuate? Not unless it’s mandatory, and time is running out for that. Mentally, I check off a list. Bottled water? Check. Flashlights, batteries, and candles? Check. All loose items from the outside of the house and garden moved to safety? Check. We do not have hurricane shutters, so I will skip that part. Eat all the food in the freezer! Check.
Power outages are a real concern. There is really no excuse for anyone to ride out a storm if a mandatory evacuation is ordered. This is where the danger becomes imminent and lives are lost. People in the path also become fascinated with the wind and resulting damage, so they wander out into the storm to check it out. One loose branch from an oak tree can kill a husband who goes into his yard to see what’s happening. These branches aren’t called “widow makers” for no reason!
With the invention of so many alert methods, people who are unaffected directly by these storms become fascinated with them, gluing themselves to the Weather Channel all day long. The Weather Channel has become a sort of perverse Reality Show, and the reporters seem to relish the storms because, on most days, the weather is boring. Risk takers will actually travel to the storms instead of evacuating. These are the storm chasers, who also love to hunt tornadoes. I think they should be disqualified from applying for life insurance policies.
Stay safe. I realized during Hurricane Charlie being prepared can also be boring. Hurricane Charlie was supposed to come directly through my town but hooked east into Naples, FL. Waiting out the hurricane was boring because it never even rained. However, being safe should be a priority especially with all the tools we have and the unpredictable paths these storms take in spite of the models. What good does it do to ride out a full blown hurricane if you end up drowning or being swept away in a 10-foot storm surge?