I just looked at the latest “official” five day track for Ike and it looks as bad as it can look for interests on the central Gulf Coast.
The good news is that we are talking about an event that is almost a full week away with plenty of time for changes in direction and intensity. But, if the current guidance holds, this could end up being an extremely difficult situation either for those just starting to recover from Gustov or those still trying to recover from Katrina or Rita.
There seems to be no way at the moment that Ike can do more than brush Florida, except for the Keys. This seems to eliminate the “worst case scenario” of a hurricane Andrew type of hit on Miami and then a Katrina hit to New Orleans. At least for the present, Miami is not involved with this hurricane.
At this point, many days out, the wise and prudent person should be engaged in long range preparation for a storm. Making sure prescriptions are current, filling gasoline cans and buying extra food and water before the crunch of humanity later, are simple and wise things to do this far out. The next round of preparation comes at about three days out or on Monday or Tuesday. The final round comes with either an evacuation or the decision to stay and endure whatever comes.
In 1992, hurricane Andrew surprised most people with its degree of intensity. When in roared ashore it was actually one of only three category 5 hurricanes to hit the United States. People living far from the coast who had decided to stay never gave any thought to how bad things could get since there had not been a major hurricane in south Florida for many years. I believe most of us old enough to remember the images on television after Andrew hit were struck by the amount of damage done to homes in sub-divisions far removed from the actual coastline and the amazing lack of fatalities.
Hurricane Andrew still ranks as the third most intense hurricane to hit the United States. Only the unnamed storm of 1935 which hit the Florida Keys and hurricane Camile which hit the same area as Katrina in 1969 were more intense. Most of those who endured Andrew wished they hadn’t, but there was no way of knowing how strong Andrew was going to get so quickly. Camile hit before the current methods of forecasting hurricanes were in place. The results were catastrophic for those who stayed.
As aggravating as even thinking about evacuating is, it sure beats the alternative. During the time I was acting as an advocate for Katrina victims, the reoccurring reason for the problems stemmed from the lack of preparation for the storm. Most people chose to “ride out” the storm based on projections of where the storm was going to hit. Most people who found themselves dead, injured or in a life threatening situation simply believed the dire warnings were just another false alarm.
When the storm surge went miles inland, homes never before touched by a hurricane were swamped and those still in them were forced to wade in the contaminated waters that swamped them. Shortly after the storm, word was put out that anyone in contact with the water had to get a set of shots or face dire consequences to their skin. Most got the shots and were fine, some didn’t and lost limbs or died because of it.
Whether wind, storm surge, flooding or a combination of all of the above; a strong to major hurricane has the ability to ruin a person’s home. It is totally beyond my comprehension why anyone would tempt fate and decide to “ride out” a major hurricane. Do you realize that areas over 100 miles INLAND from Katrina were hit with enough wind to topple huge trees on homes, knock out power for weeks and make driving impossible due to debris and power lines on the road?
Do you realize that after a storm the magnitude of Katrina, the National Guard, the United States military and FEMA have full control over the disaster area and no one is allowed in until they say so. It is not like you or I could run a truck full of supplies to a relative or friend. There are roadblocks and orders to stop anyone attempting to enter at any cost. No sane person would attempt to get through the perimeter set up and guarded by the authorities.
People who choose to stay when mandatory evacuation orders are given must understand they are on their own. No emergency vehicle will come save them when the storm hits. No wrongful death lawsuits after the storm will ever hold up in court. When a person ignores a mandatory evacuation order, he forfeits all rights to help or compensation for the lack of it. Only a true fool ignores such an order and deserves anything that happens because of it.
Please, while there is still ample time before any possible Ike strike, take stock of your situation and take action to be prepared. Nothing drastic needs to be done now, only common sense things like making sure you have enough prescription drugs to last awhile or a few cases of drinking water stashed in the garage. A wise person doesn’t wait until the disaster is on top of them to prepare; he does what he can long before when there is no rush and no panic.
I promise to keep up with this situation and post follow ups as needed. For now, just be aware that an IKE STRIKE is on the horizon, but it is far too soon to know for sure where. The Greek word “nike” means victory, so let us pray for “nike over Ike”.