It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback and that isn’t what I want to do. However, I pointed out several days ago that the impacts of Hurricane Matthew were being overhyped. It started with TWC saying 12.3 million people were under a Hurricane Warning. While that was true, there was never the SAME danger for all of those folks. Then we had Florida’s Governor saying, “if you stay, you will die.” Plus FOX’s Shepard Smith saying, “ if you stay, I will not come to your funeral, your kids will die!”. I understand those remarks were made to get the locals to act. However, if you cry wolf and the wolf doesn’t come, it will be MUCH HARDER to get people to evacuate the next time & the next. Matthew was a “Monster” storm when it hit Haiti & the Bahamas and the NHC track did bring it onto the Florida coast. I don’t disagree with evacuation for low lying coastal locations. That was a no brainer since any westward shift in the track would have caused great destruction. But what the media that I watched didn’t do was question the UNCERTAINTY of the NHC forecast track. No one was pointing out that only a small percent of the residents (those near the coast) needed to leave. So what happened? Over 1.3 million Floridians hit the roads, many for no reason and at great expense. So here I’m watching Stephanie Abrams on TWC apologizing for being “misunderstood” by some. Joe Bastardi of WeatherBell Analytics admitting he was wrong on the track and the error was “huge” resulting in way less impacts. Hey I understand better safe than sorry, but there has to be some tempering of the words coming out from the media. This was a bad storm and there will be more bad storms, but we must not get hysterical when our mission is to get folks out of harm’s way.
Matthew has weakened down to a Cat. 2 and will likely weaken further as it nears the S.C. coast. This means the 11 year streak of no major (Cat. 3+) hurricane crossing the U.S. coastline continues. Since none of the long range computer models indicate another storm forming the next 10-14 days, it’s time for the “Fat Lady” to sing. In the spirit of the late Dandy Don Meredith, she is singing…”turn out the lights, the party is over!”. We have NEVER seen a major (Cat. 3+) storm cross the LA/MS coastline after October 10th. We still could see a hurricane, but we will not have to evacuate this season. Turn out the lights, Gang! Let’s enjoy another cold front this weekend. Get out and enjoy it, but remember to pray for our friends in Georgia thru the Carolinas as their nightmare of Matthew is just beginning. Stay tuned!