In a region on pins and needles over every storm that might create oil-spill emergencies, it’s worth observing that yesterday (Sept. 10) was the annual historic peak of the Atlantic Hurricane season. So far, the National Hurricane Center has identified nine “named” tropical systems, only three of which reached hurricane status.
The so-called “peak” is actually an historical landmark, because since they first started keeping records in 1851 more hurricanes have been in existence on Sept. 10 than any other date. In that 159-year period, there have been 86 hurricanes on Sept. 10.
Emergency officials, of course, tell us to remain prepared for harsh weather. They don’t, however, say much about what to do if that weather whips up an oil and dispersant storm in addition to the hurricane.
With local resources strained by the spill and the tight budget constraints brought on by a flagging economy, I urge our public officials on the Gulf – and in Washington – to be prepared to marshal an effective response should the occasion arise in the coming weeks, and to keep all lines of communication open. As we hit peak season, we need to embrace a policy of preparing for the worst and being pleasantly surprised if it doesn’t happen. Let’s remember the lessons of Katrina. And believe me, as a New Orleans native, those lessons are never far from the front of my mind.
Here’s hoping our luck holds.
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