Every year around this time I preach the same sermon.
We are one month into hurricane season and thankfully there has been nothing sighted in the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. But the last thing we need to do is become complacent. Now is the time to get ready for hurricane season by doing all of those things that the National Weather Service deems important. Now is the time to get those trees cut down or trimmed.
My heart went out last week to Priscilla Proctor when I went to her Havana home after a tree in the backyard fell and split her home in two. A neighbor, she told me, had stopped by a few weeks earlier and offered to remove the tree for $800. And that wasn't even due to a hurricane. While trees are beautiful, they can pose a threat to your home. If you're not sure if a tree is too close, get the opinion of someone who knows and act accordingly.
Stock up on food supplies, check those flashlights and batteries to make sure the operate properly, and above all, have a plan.
Hurricanes are one of the most serious and dangerous threats to Floridians. They don't call the state "Hurricane Alley" for nothing. Because, as all the emergency management people will tell you, in Florida it's not if a hurricane will hit, it's when. We have had some very busy years and we've had slow years. Let's just hope that this is a slow year because some people are still suffering from the string of hurricanes we had back-to-back a few years ago.
Do not be lulled into a false sense of security because Gadsden County isn't on the coast. We're less than an hour away from the Gulf of Mexico and a strong hurricane could do a lot of damage. Remember Hurricane Katrina had fish from the ocean swimming down streets in the French Quarter in New Orleans.
Experts are predicting an active season this year with as many as eight hurricanes. Make sure you pick up a copy of “Get A Plan, Gadsden,” a special section on dealing with weather. Look for it in an upcoming edition of the Times.