Don’t play into the chaosPublished 11:56pm Saturday, June 21, 2014
One thing about eastern North Carolina that is predictable is those summer storms that roll through. They make a lot of noise and tend to drop a bit of rain but, for the most part, their bark has been traditionally worse than their bite.
For many residents native to eastern North Carolina, reaction to those storms is ingrained. From a very young age, there is an innate understanding, once the clouds appear on the horizon, of how fast that storm is approaching. In the days before air conditioning became so prevalent, having that knowledge meant the difference between soaked porch cushions and puddles on the floors inside of window, or not. It could mean the difference between the absence or continued presence of lawn furniture and other outdoor items at risk in a stiff wind.
One might have noticed, however, that it seems those days of the harmless summer storm might be a thing of the past. Used to be, a good storm was a relief — nature’s way of cooling things off for a bit. Now, it seem the storms of late are inspiring more than a breath of fresh air. They are inspiring fear.
On April 7, a tornado tore through Pantego/Belhaven. On April 25, county residents experienced the first EF3 tornado in the U.S. for 2014, and it was accompanied by massive destruction. More tornado warnings, and sightings, wrapped up in equally fierce storms have come since. Last weekend, five to six inches of rain fell in a relatively short period of time, flooding many Washington streets and destroying the interiors of cars parked on side streets. Three nights ago, a storm blew through with no warning whatsoever, with gusts of wind that equaled any seen in any hurricane in the recent past. The storms may or may not be increasing in frequency, but they sure are increasing in ferocity.
Now, the news that a storm is coming may be accompanied by corresponding sense of a very real threat. So now is a good time to make a plan. If a family doesn’t already have a plan in place for what to do during a tornado, they should consider making one; if an emergency kit isn’t in place in preparation for a potential hurricane, make one. Any resident who hasn’t already signed up for Beaufort County’s community alert service Hyper-Reach, should just go ahead and do it.
While the storms may have shown increasing unpredictability lately, residents don’t have to play into the chaos: Be prepared.