They hyped it for a week, those local and national weather people. I'm guilty of falling into it myself last week. As with most of the storms that predict doom and gloom that far in advance in Maine, Hurricane Irene had lost most of her devilish behavior before she entered our state.
I'm not saying she was an angel. Even though she had been downgraded to Tropical Storm before she got here, she left her mark on a pretty sizable portion of the western mountains part of our state. She also let the people of York County and parts of Cumberland know she had been around. But she wasn't nearly as brutal as we were led to believe she probably would be.
Kevin Mannix, the morning weatherman on WCSH6 Newscenter made a pretty good comment Monday morning. He acknowledged there was a lot of hype concerning Irene before she got here and that the storm wasn't as bad as forecast. He pointed out that his job, and thus the job of most public weather forecasters, was to prepare people for the potential. Mannix said his profession would take a lot more criticism if it didn't present the potential of an upcoming storm. He's correct. Can you imagine the outcry if the weather folk didn't warn us and we were caught off-guard?
Part of the reason the damage was not as high as it might have been and the deaths, I don't think I've read of one in Maine, from not being ready were as low as they were, the last figure I saw before writing this was 40, is because most of us took the precautions that were suggested by the warnings. It is far better to be well-prepared and take extreme caution and be able to gripe about it when it doesn't turn out as bad as the potential.
I feel badly for the almost 300-thousand people who lost their power, many of whom are still in the dark, and I feel equally as bad for the people who had a tree crash into their yard, homes, vehicles. The damage was severe, but people were watching out and not getting caught by those falling trees.
There are so many parts of a major weather event that I can't mention them all here. I'm sorry for the inconveniences and costs, but I'm happy that personal tragedy was kept to a minimum.
Will the weather folk hype another storm? Absolutely. Will I complain about all the hype? You bet. But in all my griping, I'll remember to take heed of the cautions and do what I can to keep the Gator Clan safe. And when the next one is over, well, the cycle continues.
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