5/08/2008

Hurricane Season Will Soon Be Here

Hurricane season doesn’t “officially” start until June 1st. But, I noticed at Home Depot this week, people are already preparing. I saw one man buying a 3500 watt generator that was 40% off. After a hurricane, those things are worth their weight in gold. I bought one in April of 2006. After dealing with the heat and humidity that we got as a parting gift from Hurricane Katrina, I decided never again would I be without a generator.

Others were buying the basic staples of hurricane preparedness; flashlights, batteries, bottled water, weather radios, sheets of plywood for windows and doors, etc. Since Katrina struck the gulf coast, people take hurricane season much, much more seriously around here. There was a time hurricane season brought a collective “ho hum” from gulf coast residents. Katrina did one positive for residents of this area; there is no longer a lackadaisical attitude when June 1st rolls around. People still haven’t really recovered from Hurricane Katrina. I suspect they never will. Southern Mississippi was a story that was little reported. Those people were almost wiped off the face of the map. It affected people in ways which still reverberate three years later. Katrina gave our area a “glancing blow”. It was enough to knock out electricity for about three days here in late August. That is something you don’t want to happen on the gulf coast in August or early September.

In some areas along the coast (in Florida) there is a “state tax holiday” as long as you buy goods that are considered essentials during a hurricane. Due to budget woes, that has been scrapped for this year for Florida. Also, this tax holiday was applied to people with prescription drugs. Tax free goods are a welcome relief in preparing for a disaster that no one ever wants to see repeated on the gulf.

This is a time of the year an uneasiness starts to slip into the consciousness of gulf coast residents. We carry on with our lives as we always do. But, we pay much more attention to the weather than we normally do. I will never watch The Weather Channel again as long as I live. It’s bad enough they become advocates of the weather (global warming). But, the way they sensationalize devastating storms is enough to make me sick at my stomach. I can only assume they do it for ratings. To me, they have as much credibility as the “World News Weekly” did before it folded…rant over. Anyway, this is a nervousness that settles in as we keep watch on the weather formations in the south Atlantic. Hopefully, we’ll have as calm a year as we did last year. And, once again, we hope the experts are as wrong as they were last year.

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