Hurricane season is upon us again
As hurricane Lee marched northwards from the Caribbean last week, Atlantic Canadians were still dealing with some of the fallout from Fiona one year ago, on Sept. 23-24, 2022. Later this month will be the 20th anniversary of Juan, which brought its destruction to our coasts Sept. 29, 2003. We should know all too well the dangers posed by tropical storms and why it’s necessary to take them seriously. However, there will be some who will see bringing in their lawn chairs as sufficient storm prep. Patty Munden of Port aux Basques, N.L., admits she was one of those people before Fiona. “Don’t wait till the last minute like I did,” she told SaltWire in August. “This is a big lesson to be learned. Before, I honestly didn’t pay attention. I mean, we knew we had a storm coming. That was it. I never, ever prepared for a storm, other than go tie our (patio) furniture down and make sure … (there was) no debris around that could be blown or do any damage. But now, I’m listening to the forecast, and following the storm.” While widespread panic is not helpful, it behooves us all to acknowledge the risks of hurricane season and get prepared for them. Lee restrengthened to a Category 3 storm and, as of press time, could gain more power heading into the weekend. Dangerous surf and rip currents had already begun to reach some portions of the U.S. southeast coast. It was predicted the region could experience high winds and rain by Sunday, Sept. 17. Bringing lawn chairs inside is a good place to start, but residents should also tie down or bring in anything that could be blown around in high winds. Trim dead branches and deal with any downed or dead trees lingering from previous storms. The Canadian Red Cross advises people to have an emergency kit that would last three days. After Fiona, many families were without power or passable roads for much longer than that. Stock up on non-perishables, bottled water, batteries and fuel for barbecues and generators (and store these last items safely). Secure windows and doors and move electronics and valuables away from breakable glass. Everyone in the family should know the emergency plan if the home has to be evacuated, and the plan should include contingencies for pets and livestock. Munden and her husband Ricky were forced to leave their home, which Fiona rendered uninhabitable. A year later, they’re living with their son while they build a new house away from the coast. “We … never expected an actual hurricane that you see on the news everywhere else,” Munden said. Even if Lee ends up being downgraded by the weekend, the next tropical storm, Margot, has already formed in the southern Atlantic. It is better to be prepared for a storm that never comes than be caught unawares.