Thoughts on Preparing for Hurricane Dorian

Sept. 1, 2019 — Less than a year after Hurricane Florence inflicted its devastating wrath on Brunswick County, another major hurricane is staring us down: Dorian. As of this writing, Dorian is an extremely powerful Category 5 hurricane — tied for the second-strongest wind speed in Atlantic basin history — and is barreling through the Bahamas. I’ve seen and heard comments along the lines of “I can’t go through this again,” and one person even referred to “post-Florence PTSD.” I think all of us who experienced the brunt of Florence have had those feelings. While we cannot control what the storm does next, we can learn the lessons of Florence and do our best to be prepared.

What Info Should You Share?
Please be judicious in what information you forward and post prior to, during and after the storm. I encourage you to only share or post information from known, credible, and ideally official sources. There are lots of official-looking pages on Facebook that are anything but official.

Focus on the Potential Impacts, Not Every Little Shift

Basing your preparations on every shift in the forecast path is like basing your financial plan on every gyration in the stock market: you might get lucky, but it’s not a wise strategy. The official forecast path has shifted east, and now slightly west, in the past 24 to 36 hours alone, and it will likely wobble again. The average four-day forecast error is 170 miles, and that increases to 200 miles at five days. The current forecast path has Brunswick County squarely within the cone, with the center of the storm skirting past us offshore. A slight last-minute jog either direction could make a tremendous difference in the level of impacts we feel, ranging from a direct hit to much ado about nothing. With that said, impacts extend well beyond the center and can extend outside the forecast cone.

Be Prepared, But Don’t Panic
There is still a great deal of uncertainty in terms of Dorian’s future impact on our area. Now is the time to prepare for a possible direct impact, even though we hope that will not happen.

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