Hurricane Florence is projected to do what Tropical Storm Gordon did not when he rolled onto the Gulf Coast last week.
North and South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland have issued states of emergency, and other mid-Atlantic states aren’t taking any chances, either.
This is peak season for hurricanes, and the East Coast’s midsection is seemingly favored by Florence, which was churning at Category 4 strength at press time Monday.
While those aforementioned states encouraged residents to evacuate coastal areas and be prepared before week’s end, D.C. officials were gearing up as well.
Said Mayor Muriel Bowser: “I encourage all District residents and visitors to take this storm seriously and stay up to date on the latest emergency information, including signing up for our AlertDC messaging service. your personal connection to real-time updates and instructions to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your neighborhood.”
To borrow an admonition that’s been oft-repeated in recent days, just do it.
Water is no joke. It’s one of God’s creations that’s as enticing as it is destructive. It’s so mysteriously dark over roadways that weathermen and traffic ladies instruct “turn around, don’t drown.”
Still it seems whenever there are major downpours, like the ones this summer, motorists mistakenly think they rule the roads and end up stuck and in need of being rescued, or Good Samaritans underestimated the consequences of trying to save their own lives and limbs while trying to pull someone else to safety, as happened last week.
Water is so soothing that we flock to the sea shores to frolic and buy homes on the coast just to hear the waves rock up to sleep at night. Then, when warnings about storms like Florence come around, we wonder why some folks even want to stick it out. (Can you imagine a home or business that’s more important than a human life?)
Hurricanes do not primarily involve water, though. Hurricanes, whether they have a girl’s name or a boy’s name, kick up skirts in angry rages, and sometimes when the winds have dissipated, the storm just hovers over a region — as if trying to out-drench the last hurricane.
The D.C. region is still wet from the remnants of Gordon as Florence barrels toward the East Coast.
“We are not going to gamble with the lives of the people of South Carolina,” Gov. Henry McMaster said Monday, issuing mandatory coastal evacuation.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said: “We’re in the bull’s eye.”
Mandatory evacuations were also in order for the Outer Banks and other coastal areas of North Carolina, as the coast braced for heavy rains, storm surge and the hurricanes’ close cousins — tornadoes.
Further north, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a state of emergency over the weekend and began urging residents prepare an emergency kit with food, water, medication, pet supplies and important documents. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a state of emergency on Monday.
Although experts can’t precisely predict where Florence will first strike land, being prepared is our best path to take.
As things now stand, the best info we have are a bunch of spaghetti-like maps attached to Florence all the way up the DelMarVa. And by all accounts, Florence is “hangry,” hungry for destruction and angry that Gordon failed to stir things up before she did.
None of this is to scare the dickens out of you, of course. Hurricanes have a purpose, too.
However, just remember: You can’t fool Mother Nature by riding her coattails.
• Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected]
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