While there are no threats of hurricanes that are likely to hit American soil in the very near future, hurricane season is still active and will be through Saturday, Nov. 30.
The most recent storm, Dorian, was devastating, especially to the Bahamas. It was, according to Robert Rohde, lead scientist at Berkeley Earth, the slowest-moving major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger) on record in the Atlantic Basin, crawling at just 1 to 2 mph averaged over a 24-hour period.
Although the Florida coastline was spared for the most part this time, those who live there take no chances and prepare for the worst because no one knows for sure what path a hurricane may or may not take.
Michael Shuck Sr., a former Holly area and Fenton resident, now lives with his wife, Brenda, in Largo, Florida, about 16 miles from Tampa and four miles from Clearwater. Both Mike and Brenda worked at The Home Depot in Fenton for many years.
Mike Shuck shares a message for those who don’t live in Florida but loves someone who does.
“There are some things you need to know about hurricanes,” Shuck said. “They don’t come until they come, so if you ask us how we are on a 93-degree sunshiny day 72 hours before we expect the winds to start, don’t be surprised if we tell you we’re fine. Please believe us. We’re actively preparing, and we’re watching the forecast more closely than you are, but we’re truly fine at the moment.
“Hurricanes are unpredictable,” Shuck said. “No matter how good the models are, hurricanes often demonstrate a mind of their own. We’re always hoping and praying for a turn or ‘wobble’ that sends the monster further from civilization. But if you ask us what’s going to happen three or four days from now, we honestly don’t know for sure — and neither do the meteorologists.
“An entire state can’t evacuate,” Shuck said. “Everyone packing up, jumping into their cars and heading north may seem like a great idea. However, the truth is that those of us in ‘safer’ inland regions generally need to stay put to reserve the roads, gas, hotel rooms, shelters, plane tickets, etc. for the most vulnerable folks who live on the coast in the storm’s path, where evacuation orders exist.
“Some inland folks may choose to leave, but most of us stay put and follow the instructions of our local governments,” he said.
“We truly appreciate your love and concern, the offers to stay in your homes, and most of all your prayers,” Shuck said. “Of course we’re worried, but we’re trying to do all the right things to prepare and not freak out. Thanks for offering words of love and encouragement and not jumping on the freak-out wagon — it just makes it harder on us.”
• On Aug. 23, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) first highlighted the incipient tropical wave that would become Dorian when it was about 1,400 miles east of the Windward Islands, according to weather.com.
• By Sept. 1, Dorian was upgraded to Category 5 status and became the first hurricane of that intensity to make landfall on Grand Bahama Island.
• Maximum sustained winds topped out at 185 mph, tying the second-highest sustained wind speed among all Atlantic hurricanes.
• Dorian stalled and pounded Grand Bahama Island for nearly two days before finally beginning a northward crawl on Sept. 3.
• Dozens of people were killed by Dorian in the northwestern Bahamas, and it will take years for the area to recover.
• Dorian’s most intense winds largely missed the Florida coast, but there were destructive coastal impacts.