This is the most ironic blog post I’ve ever written. Ironic because I’m writing to complain about…yep, you guessed it. Complainers.
I spent most of Wednesday helping to seal our house in expectation of Hurricane Matthew’s arrival. This was not our first rodeo. Having experienced the direct hit of two hurricanes three weeks apart back in 2004 and another in 2005, we knew how to prepare. Shutter the house, bring all loose items inside, fill the bathtub with water, brace the garage door…and that’s just the beginning.
But Matthew was a hurricane on steroids. A category 4 (on a scale of 1-5), it cut a swath through the Caribbean before turning its sights on Florida. Not one particular location, mind you. Oh, no. Matthew decided to visit the entire southeast coast, starting with south Florida and hugging Florida’s east coast, as well as the coast of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
To make matters worse, Matthew doesn’t know when to say goodbye. The track is predicted to loop back around to south Florida. I’m reminded of Yogi Berra’s famous quote: “Déjà vu all over again.”
No one is quite sure why, but just as Hurricane Matthew approached the Treasure Coast of Florida, it experienced a series of “wobbles” at the last minute. Wobbles that took it slightly east as it traveled north. East, as in away from the coast. Not by much—perhaps twenty miles or so. But those twenty miles meant the difference between category 1 hurricane winds and devastation.
Enter the complainers.
Posts on social media seem to fall into one of two groups: those who are grateful for the unexpected lesser impact…and those who complained.
It seems they’re upset with the “unnecessary” hype that caused them to board their homes and prepare for a hurricane that didn’t deliver the promised destruction.
The fact that no one could have predicted the slight wobble east is irrelevant.
The inconvenience of hurricane preparation is of greater consequence than the potential (however slight) of saving homes and families.
The reality that Hurricane Matthew is responsible for at least three deaths in Florida is unimportant.
Do television weather reporters thrive on high ratings? Of course. But regardless of their motives for increasing viewership, there isn’t one occasion when it would be wise to underestimate a category 4 hurricane bearing down on us.
I can’t help but think the 800+ people who died in Haiti as a result of hurricane Matthew wished they had the communication technology that enabled our warnings, providing the opportunity to seek safety and protection.
Have the last several days been inconvenient? Absolutely. But as I saw the havoc Matthew inflicted on St. Augustine and Jacksonville (and what it did to Haiti), I’m not complaining. I’m just grateful.