I Take Hurricanes Seriously


Hurricanes happen every year during the dying days of summer. The warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean help build up rain clouds that first form into a tropical disturbance, growing into a tropical depression then tropical storm and finally, if the sustained wind speeds reach at least 119 km/hr, a hurricane.

This swirling storm travels from east to west over the Atlantic Ocean. It gains strength as it picks up more and more warm water. The forces associated with hurricanes are dangerous. The combination of high wind and tremendous rain can be destructive and deadly.

I will admit that I am fascinated by hurricanes. I respect their power and am in awe of how they form, travel and eventually die out. They are not to be fooled with, and a powerful hurricane will win against humans and animals every day.

2017 has been a particularly bad hurricane season, and right now there are three hurricanes simultaneously battering communities along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Irma, Jose and Katya are not to be messed with. Irma in particular is one of the largest and strongest hurricanes ever recorded. It has been described as a weather event that can cause catastrophic damage to everything along its path.

How do we know so much about these hurricanes and the horrific destruction they have caused? We live in a time of instant news, where we can follow a storm’s every move on TV, radio, our computers, smartphones and tablets. We don’t need to go a movie theatre or pick up a book when a massive hurricane happens – we just follow the unfolding story live.

Admit it – how many of us are glued to your televisions or various websites as we follow the path of Hurricane Irma? We are concerned for the well-being of the millions of people who have been affected by Irma. Countless people have lost everything or will lose everything as the storm rages through their town. It is terrible, and I hope everyone comes through safely.

While we are all worried about the people directly affected by this and other hurricanes, it is not the only reason we are following Irma’s every move. As I stated above, I, and I know many of you too, are simply fascinated by massive hurricanes. I don’t quite know how to put it into the right words, but I can’t stop watching.

I have become addicted to CNN in the last couple of days, and I can’t turn it off. It is ironic that their reporters stand in the middle of the hurricane, remind people to stay indoors or stay away from the water – as they themselves are outside, being blown over. I watched one reporter stand in the middle of the street in Miami Beach on Sunday, warning people about flying objects. She had to duck and run as a sign came crashing down beside her!

If it’s not safe for people like you and me to be outside, what are reporters (and producers and camera men and women) doing out there? It’s not safe for them either! And yet I keep watching.

CNN knows I am watching and knows that I, and you, want to watch. The better their coverage, the more people will watch. Maybe it’s just human nature.

Hurricane Irma is making her way up through Florida and through the United States. She will eventually break up and become a part of history. Jose and Katya will eventually break apart too. There may be more hurricanes this year that will follow them and cause more destruction.

Hurricanes are terrifying and fascinating. They are dangerous and awe-inspiring. And we must take them seriously.