Column: Tales of hurricanes, worrywarts and preparation

Published 7:17 pm Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Call me a pessimist, worrywart, maybe even a cynic, but we are due a hurricane.

I tend to think I’m a realist. We’ve been blessed the last few years to escape without anything more than rains from a tropical storm.

As Chantal strengthens, I’m reminded that the predictions call for some 18 named storms, with about nine of those becoming hurricanes and four of those predicted to become major hurricanes.

Forecasters are predicting Chantal will make her way up the eastern coast of Florida. We’re probably safe this time around.

Hurricane season excites me to a certain degree. It always has. Not because I want to see destruction or loss of lives, but because it reminds me of how powerful Mother Nature’s force can be.

I always find myself taking a stroll down memory lane to Oct. 4, 1995. That was my first reality that hurricanes really do exist. Sure, I knew they existed. I’d watched TV enough to see the devastation that Hurricane Andrew caused in South Florida just three years before, but it’s different when it’s in your own back yard.

I can see it in my mind as clearly as ever, we all hunkered down in a bedroom at my grandparents’ house with a battery-powered radio and listened to Rich Thomas tell us when it made landfall.

When it was morning, I learned how blessed we really were. The only casualties were about six 100-year-old pecan trees that were uprooted in my grandparents’ pecan orchard, and my red-headed sister didn’t get to have a birthday party on her special day because we didn’t have power.

We were all alive and no one was hurt, but we were prepared.

We’ve had a couple other scares in the years since then, but nothing in several, several years, and with as much rain as we’ve had lately, a hurricane or even a tropical storm wouldn’t be kind to us.

And while, Chantal will probably make its way up the coast, let’s make sure we are prepared for what is poised to be a busy season.

Let’s all remember to stock up on necessities like bottled water, non-perishable food, battery-powered radio and a NOAA weather radio, with extra batteries, flash lights, first aid kits, prescriptions, infant formula and diapers.

Preparation really does save lives.