Traditionally, hurricane season is supposed to begin in June. That’s when Floridians and others become fans of the Weather Channel and are treated to major levels of uncertainty as tropical storms and hurricanes do what they please, ignoring what the experts say they should do.
This year. This year. As if COVID-19 wasn’t bad enough with its enforced quarantine measures and the resulting hit on the economy and deaths from the virus, two storms – two! Decide to crash the party.
Tropical Storm Arthur didn’t really do much to call attention to itself. Tropical Storm Bertha wasted no time, becoming a tropical storm and hitting landfall in less than two hours.
Exactly what was the rush? It’s not like anyone is going anywhere anytime soon. June isn’t that far away. Couldn’t these two storms have had manners and waited until then like any other self-respecting tropical storm?
And May isn’t even over yet. We have a few more days for another storm to crop up early to torment the East Coast. And I’m not convinced it won’t happen. After all, it would fit in with the kind of year it’s been.
If I sound a little frustrated, you must understand that the last thing I need is another reason to stay home. I’m already doing my part in social distancing and self-isolating (though I admit with restaurants opening back up I’ve also done my part to assist the local economy). Does Mother Nature feel she needs to back up our stay-at-home orders? Can’t she mind her own business?
Floridians tend to grow somewhat jaded when it comes to hurricanes. Yes, we stock up. (I’m waiting for the next toilet paper shortage if a storm looks at us funny.) Yes, some of us invest in generators. We make plans. And thankfully, those preparations often turn out to have been unnecessary. We eat our hurricane snacks gleefully and congratulate ourselves on getting through another storm season.
Then there are times like two years ago, when Hurricane Irma smacked my county rather hard. We dealt with days without power, gas lines, and having to hospitalize my mother-in-law after several days with no air conditioning nearly killed her. That time, our preparations turned out to be valuable, if a little undersized. (We learned quickly we needed a bigger generator.)
And it’s the chances of an Irma showing up that drive us to prepare. Yes, more often than not, it doesn’t happen. But you learn it’s better to be prepared and not need to be than to merrily go along with no plan and get in the middle of a major storm.
Also, I wonder, given how the year has played out so far, if we’re going to be treated to extra storms this season. Maybe we could get lucky and it turns out hurricanes blow away the coronavirus? Possibly? Nah, we aren’t that lucky.
And there’s a good chance we’ll get as far as the “L’s” this year. That is relevant to me, because this year, the “L” hurricane will be named — wait for it — Laura. I can already hear the jokes when that happens. Hit me with your best shot — I can take it.
Let’s face it. With the two storms showing up early, we’re looking at a long season. If you live someplace where getting slapped by these things is possible, you might want to think about stocking up. Just save some toilet paper for the rest of us.