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Irene is on the move; we know how you feel

Hurricane Season. Like cold and flu season, it can bring misery or it can pass mildly to everyone’s deep relief. Over the past years, however, the forecasters have predicted increased hurricane activity and for the most part they have been right. Unfortunately. In June we were not overly concerned about hurricanes yet. By contrast September is traditionally our high-activity month.
As I watch the news coverage of Hurricane Irene, I whisper a prayer and think, “We know how you feel”.

We know how you feel, Bahamas, to be the center of a hurricane’s attention. Last year Hurricane Igor threatened to wreak havoc on our itty-bitty paradise. By the time Igor approached us, it was already a Category 4 storm 500 miles across. If that weren’t bad enough, Igor advanced with the potential of growing to Cat 5. Frightening because 2005’s Hurricane Katrina was a Cat 3 storm and no one can deny its devastating effects. Hurricane Fabian (2003) packed 150 mile per hour winds, caused approximately $300 million in damages and claimed four precious souls. Hurricanes are serious.

We know how you feel, Carolinas, Cape Cod, and New York, to be in the midst of preparation’s flurry. On one hand everyone wishes the storm will dissipate out at sea or miraculously die down to a puff of wind. In the meantime, what to do? What to do? We know how it feels to have ‘hurricane boxes’ in our homes, stocked with the supplies required for this time of year: flashlights, batteries, rope, tarpaulins, hammer, nails, water . . .

We know there’s a gulf between underestimating and overcompensating. If the storm dies out, just how many peanut butter sandwiches can a person eat? What is the expiration date on those D batteries anyway? However, we need to have enough to carry us through the storm and then the aftermath which usually involves being without electricity for days at a time, sometimes weeks, and the inability to move about due to downed trees and other road debris. Plus in those “worst case scenarios” that are staring even the bravest in the eye, enough strength and courage to pick up the pieces and help our neighbors.

The best advice: prepare for the worst and pray for the best. Hurricanes are capricious. If a threatening storm loses steam and peters out without so much as a how do you do, I will never complain. I get on my knees and thank God for mercy, pack away the extra non-perishable items and carry on. Better safe than sorry.

To those up and down the East Coast who may be sitting in cars right now moving inch by inch because your area is being evacuated due to Hurricane Irene or boarding up windows or filling bathtubs with extra drinking water, we are praying for your safety and well being. From those of us who know how you feel.

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