Journalist Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs writes about the category 4 hurricane, Hurricane Dorian, that is supposed to hit Florida as soon as Saturday evening. Because of the unexpected course of the hurricane thus far, Gov. Ron DeSantis and officials have been warning Floridians all along the East Coast to be prepared for the “catastrophic damage” it could cause.
Bogel-Burroughs then goes on to talk about Hurricane Dorian’s impact on Puerto Rico it caused on Wednesday. Far less intense than Hurricane Maria, residents still rushed to stock up on supplies and to calm their nerves through the mental health hotline due to the difficult memories they have from two years ago. Last year, federal and local emergency managers announced a technologically advanced emergency alert siren downstream of the Guajataca Dam. Unfortunately, they have not yet granted themselves the permits required to install the alerts so they could not use it to warn residents about Hurricane Dorian.
The hurricane also unexpectedly hit the Virgin Islands, but luckily it spared them horrific devastation. A lot of people haven’t yet recovered fully from the drastic damage Hurricane Irma caused so once they learned that the hurricane was headed their way, anxiety increased and they had no confidence in what they did restore.
Reading this article instilled great empathy within me for Florida residents. I feel like the East Coast was just now getting back on their feet from the last hurricane that left them in devastation and now they have to scramble to get supplies and face yet another hurricane. Even though Bogel-Burroughs mentions that it will be far less intense than Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane is named for a reason; because it’s memorable. Being in the Midwest, we only understand coastal storms through television and the internet. Unless we, of course, go to the coast to experience one.
This summer, my parents and I took a road trip down south to New Orleans. At one point, we were tired of the tourist town and wanted to see some outskirts of Louisiana. We ended up driving to a little town next to the ocean that looked abandoned, yet still lived. It was hard to see but it gave me a new perspective on how lucky I am that I’ve never had to endure such a tragedy.
My hope for Hurricane Dorian is that people gain a sense of urgency, understanding that climate change has affected how sporadic hurricanes can come. Puerto Rico hopefully realizes how helpful that warning siren could’ve been if only allowed themselves the permits to set it up. People should be preparing for the worst, if they are choosing not to evacuate.