Don: Good news, bad news
It would have been perfect – rain on Friday night, sunshine on Saturday. The rain comes in, the rain goes out and nobody gets hurt.
But it didn’t happen that way.
Don took the low road and left us dry.
Since we haven’t had a hurricane since Allen in 1980, and no serious hurricane since Celia in 1970, most island residents don’t have a clue what they’re about.
So, the good news is that Don put us on alert and reminded us that we, indeed, are vulnerable. We, therefore, need to have a plan of action in place should a storm strike either directly or close by.
The bad news is that rumors were flying and people were on the verge of panic.
Panic doesn’t do anyone any good, and could do a lot of harm.
Murray heard a kid in the grocery store ominously telling everyone that the storm was headed this way. The kid was not from here and when asked for his source of information, he came up empty-handed – it was the proverbial “they.”
That’s the kind of thing that can start the spread of panic, and that’s when bad decisions are made.
I began to hear that the storm had turned north toward us. I checked my usual sources and couldn’t verify that information, so I contacted my NOAA source who told me that if you didn’t look at the projection cones side by side you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Thus, the “turn to the north toward us” was so slight as to make no difference.
Sometimes it’s not what is said, but how it’s said.
Some television weathercasters put such drama into their reports that viewers get carried away with the tone and cadence, rather than the substance of the report. The Weather Channel adds to the panic with dramatic music played going into its Storm Watch reports. Of course, they send a reporter down so he can be shown on camera blowing with the wind. The thing of it is, if they came down here in March they might be able to get the same effect.
So, brush up on your evacuation plan and don’t listen to rumors.
The South Jetty stays in touch with NOAA, the National Weather Service, and city and county officials when storms threaten. We post free updates on our Web site, www.portasouthjetty.com, to give you local, accurate information – without the drama.
Sometimes the facts aren’t as fun as the rumors, but in the case of a storm, they’re a lot safer.
Mary Henkel Judson is editor and copublisher of the South Jetty. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, (361) 749-5131 or P.O. Box 1117, Port Aransas, TX 78373.