While the Bahamas were battered with fierce winds and torrents of rain over the long Labor Day weekend, much of Florida enjoyed one of the loveliest weekends of the summer.
Our great fortune.
The early threat that Hurricane Dorian might shift course to the west brought some local cancellations — most notably, school for two days — and full mobilization of county government emergency management. A dry run-through which seemed to go smoothly.
Students return to school today. Tuesday afternoon, shelters were closed and the county public safety personnel demobilized to a normal pattern. Our hats off to all who participated. Another tip to the agency and fire departments who coordinated the backup. Prepare for the worst; hope for the best.
The national focus naturally will forward to the coastline communities still in the path of the now-weaker storm. The extraordinary devastation in the Bahamas will likely command most attention.
While Central Florida was spared the wrath of Hurricane Dorian, the Bahamas was not. The storm stalled over a portion of the Bahamas for a day and a half, pounding Abaco and Grand Bahama with winds up to 185 mph and torrential rain.
Florida residents should consider helping out in any way possible. There are a number of groups collecting donations to get to the Bahamas. Pay attention to what is needed and please be generous with donations.
Meanwhile, we here should consider this a refresher in hurricane prep. It’s fair to assume, from the looks of supermarket aisles, that most people now have a cache of jugged water on hand. Keep them in the back room. Water doesn’t spoil.
The same with other dry goods, canned goods and provisions scooped up in a rush late last week. As many observed first-hand, the threat of trouble sent a lot of us out to the market and gas stations. Take note. This is what happens. When the threat gets real, we act. The reality is, many of us finally do the things we might have done much earlier.
That’s human nature. Granted. But there’s value in the exercise, so let’s review:
- Was your home secure? Did you clear your property, or have plans to clear your property of potential projectiles last weekend, as projections dictated? Tree limbs trimmed? Boat secure?
- Nonperishable food was put aside?
- Flashlights and batteries? A gas lantern? A backup tank of propane for the grill? A generator? Backup gas cans for the generator? (Be careful with that.)
- Good with meds? Did your pharmacy text you and tell you normal restrictions on monthly prescriptions were suspended in the emergency? (Ours did.)
- Did you put your papers in one place? Did you put the papers in an airtight container?
- Did you withdraw extra cash from the bank, in case ATMs went down? You can always redeposit.
- Was there discussion in the family of possible evacuation up north or to a shelter? Top off the tank, just in case? Did you speak with a friend or a family member with a newer home farther inland about the possibility of an overnight or two?
- And did you take a look at the emergency management pages on the county’s website, hbcc.net ? If you care for a person with special needs, did you register beforehand with the Florida Special Needs Registry? Or print out a to-do checklist?
There is no doubt that harsher weather events and stronger hurricanes threaten our peaceful existence on the Gulf Coast. Imagine the reality of a slow-moving Category 5 hurricane. Always be prepared. Hurricane season is the same period of time year after year — June 1 through Nov. 30.
And one more thing: Please, don’t forget the Bahamas. The people of those islands need whatever you can give.
A revised editorial from the Charlotte Sun.