Irene – Go fly a kite

A sloppy mix of wind and water has slowly been blowing up the east from the Bahamas. People, as people typically do, have panicked themselves into buying water, batteries, flashlights, and any other set of post-apocalyptic survival materials they can acquire in order to prepare themselves for the event. A little panic is understandable after Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana but, what most people fail to realize about Hurricane Irene, is the category label.

Hurricane Irene is a category one hurricane. It’s an over-sized tropical storm. Compare this with Hurricane Katrina, a category five hurricane. Yes, airports and mobile home parks do need to take basic precautions and thousands of people will probably find their shrubberies are gone but all in all, the panic is over-rated.

Granted, there have been deaths associated with the storm. The sad part of this tragedy is that most of the deaths (if not all) could have been avoided. One individual decided to go surfing; let’s just say he died doing what he loved, probably a result of watching Point Break one too many times. Another was killed at an intersection via car wreck where lights were out (think safety) and at least one was killed in a fire from falling electric lines (smoke alarms anyone?). I don’t want to undermine the cost of these of these lives but the hysteria being played out in the media is the worst disaster of all.

In August of ’91 Hurricane Bob hit New England while I was staying in Connecticut. It started out as a category three but lowered to category two as it hit us. I put on my brother’s long military rain coat and went outside to take pictures. Granted, that was dumb but when you’re eighteen you’re pretty invincible. I lived to tell the tale and that was the only trophy I needed. Moving on in my story, I made it around the block once before I was forced back inside by winds that threatened to take me to the Land of Oz. The pictures were awesome.

Hurricanes can be awful but with a few basic precautions, the odds are highly in your favor (especially with a category one). Board your windows to prevent your neighbors lawn flamingo from flying in your house and likewise, remove your yard ornaments for their safety. Don’t go surfing and, by all means, don’t be like me and go out for a few action photos. Furthermore, stop watching the madness on CNN because the last thing you need is a bunch of FUD.

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