It’s that time again for people who live along the east coast of the United States…and for some former residents like myself. A hurricane is churning and making its way toward the Eastern Seaboard. Time to hurry up and wait.
This storm goes by the name Irene and she is seemingly determined to at least brush up against the US coast, if not make a more direct entrance, this weekend.
I know what this means for the folks who are in her path. A lot of waiting, a lot of watching, and a lot of wondering. I lived it for six summers and it can be pretty stressful, waiting for something that could (or in many cases could not) tear up your community.
It can be a bit of a helpless feeling, watching that forecast cone.
On one hand it is wonderful to have the ability to know where the storm is heading. Weather experts do a great job of relaying data and we are constantly updated with ‘the latest’ on where these storms are heading.
It’s a blessing to be able to have such detailed information in advance before a natural disaster arrives. Folks who have been impacted by earthquakes or tornadoes would certainly be inclined to agree with me on that.
On the other hand this can begin to wear on you. Waiting for a hurricane to arrive or pass by is not fun. When you have numerous hurricane threats in a given year and you go through this routine several times, it will test even the most positive person’s cheeriness. It’s not easy being in the path of these storms.
When your job is to report on the news and weather it becomes even more intertwined with your psyche, as you spend every waking moment of the day covering every angle of the possibly impending doom. It’s just part of the deal. People expect to know what’s going on and as a news person, you want to give them as much information as possible. It’s what you’re there to do.
It was what I did when I lived in Myrtle Beach. I can recall one summer where it seemed as though a new storm was forming every week. I was on the anchor desk at the time. At one point even the guy who was the meteorologist on the show said, ‘This is nuts’ to me that year.
Of course, reporting in a hurricane was probably the highlight of my broadcasting career. Quite a rush to say the least. So for some, including me while standing in the middle of Hurricane Charley on that August afternoon in 2004, the storms aren’t all bad.
No matter where life takes me, I’ll always be glued to the news reports when a hurricane is heading toward the US. It’s a part of me and always will be. I know of a few others who do the same despite not living on the east coast anymore. I expect the text messages to start flying here in the next day or two.
Meanwhile I’m thinking of my colleagues and friends in the news business who are gearing up for Irene this week. Stay safe out there, wherever you are.
I’m also thinking of everyone who lives along the coast and those who are there visiting right now. Unsolicited advice? Be smart. If you are in an area where the officials tell you to leave – do it. They’re not saying that just for kicks.
If it turns out to not be as bad as everyone thought, well, be thankful for that upon returning home instead of feeling frustrated that you had to leave. Better safe than sorry. Don’t get stuck in a storm that could threaten your very existence out of stubbornness.
Godspeed everyone. Oh and Irene, I have two words for you: Turn right.