It looks as if Sampson County and eastern North Carolina will dodge the powerful bullet that is Hurricane Irma, but even as this is being published chances are great that hundreds of thousands of people in Florida and beyond are sitting directly in its path. Our prayers are with them as they hunker down, enduring that which seems so unimaginable until you’ve actually been through it.
Just days ago, even as this editorial was being mapped out, Sampsonians were uncertain whether we would face the wrath of the menacing storm and, thankfully, many were preparing as we are always urged to do — gassing generators, buying supplies, making advance plans, all in an effort to be ready in case the brunt of the winds and rains found its way to our back door.
With powerful images of the destruction Hurricane Harvey left just a few short weeks ago in Texas coupled with those of places like Barbuda and other Caribbean islands already decimated by Irma’s unrelenting winds, we all realize we have much in which to be thankful this time around.
But we know hurricanes, and we understand that while we sidestepped a big one this time around, there is always the possibility of another one forming in the ocean, one that just might take aim at us.
While we’ve not experienced the likes of an Irma or a Harvey here since Hazel buzz-sawed her way through back in the 1950s, we know what the wrath of a mighty storm can do. Names like Fran, Floyd and last year’s Matthew still bring pause to those most directly impacted locally by the winds, rains and merciless destruction they have left in their wake.
And that’s why the preparations that were made are so important to do. The old adage that calls for us to plan for the worst and pray for the best certainly applies, and it certainly seems that is what was done as Irma began barrelling toward the United States earlier in the week.
It was clear as gas stations tied off their pumps, bottled water disappeared and bread began to seemingly fly from store shelves that preparations were being made. Local officials, too, were getting into storm mode, opening lines of communication as they turned an eye to National Weather Service reports, standing at the ready should they need to open shelters, close schools and ready crews.
As of this writing, the pre-planning for Irma may serve as the exercise drill we all need to get us ready for what now seems like a very long hurricane season.
We urge those who believe in prayer to lift ones for all those in Irma’s path. We are certain every single one of those prayers will be most appreciated. And, while you’re at it, send up prayers of thanks that this time it looks like we will stay out of harm’s way.