Wow, what an awesome display of power from Mother Nature. Michael was predicted to be at least a Cat. 3, possibly a Cat. 4, yet I saw 2 network (CNN & FOX) weather reporters “apologize” for the “inaccuracies” of intensity forecasts from the computer models. Huh? Right, none of them predicted a near Cat. 5, but c’mon. isn’t that nitpicking? Geez the track forecast was almost dead on 3-4 days out and the intensity forecast I thought was pretty good too. Kudos, Bravos, Bou-yas to the NHC. Here are some of my other thoughts…IF & WHEN a Cat. 4 or 5 hits NOLA, we will be shocked to see the failure of many of our buildings. Florida has the strongest building codes in the nation, yet we saw roofs blown off & windows busted in. Just think what will happen here with our far weaker codes? The center of Michael made land fall east of Panama City yet look at our high water levels here(water on Lakeshore Drive in Mandeville, flooding of Grand isle, Water on roads to Venetian isles etc) from a storm that was 250+ miles away! What will happen when the next Cat. 4 or 5 hits us? Surely the levees will be over topped. People have to understand the unique dangers we have being below sea level. I only hope folks chose to leave and be safe. Not everyone needs to evacuate. IF you have taken personal responsibility to have window protection (Shutters/Plywood) & have emergency power (home generator) and have enough supplies for 7+ days and MOST IMPORTANTLY have a 2nd (upper) or 3rd story to go to in case the levees fail, I have no problem if you chose to stay. For the rest of us, we MUST get out of Dodge. Some people said…”it blew up quickly”. Another Huh? That’s exactly what NHC predicted to happen. It should have come as no surprise. Finally, another person said…”I didn’t expect these strong winds (hurricane force) so far inland.” Again, another Huh? I saw NHC this morning BEFORE the storm reach the coast warning that the high winds would go far inland since the forward speed had increased to 16 mph. From my time on-air, I know people only hear what they want to hear. I decided long before Katrina I had to be more emphatic ( IF you stay, you will die! ) in describing what was coming. Still it’s hard, if not impossible, the be responsible for the ir-responsible. Michael is soaking Georgia tonight and will race through the Carolinas tomorrow. It will take many days & weeks to clean up the coast where the eye wall came ashore. For us, we’ll enjoy several cooler and drier days with another front coming for next week.
Hurricane season officially runs through Nov. 30th, but based on what I’m seeing for the rest of this month (below normal temps/ Several cold fronts), it’s time for the “Fat Lady” to get on stage and belt out the song Don Meredith use to sing on Monday Night Football years ago. “Turn out the lights, the party’s over. All “good” things must come to an end, though the season extends, for us the party’s over”. Think about our friends to our east tonight. Someday we’ll need their prayers. Stay tuned!