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Hurricane season 2009 finally picks up

Hurricane season is both an exciting and stressful time to live in many of the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean.  

Hurricane preparedness kits are packed with batteries, flashlights, glow sticks and tons of bottled water, to name a few things.  

Plywood sales skyrocket whenever a storm appears to be ready to make landfall.  Evacuation routes are planned and some people go so far as to find places they wish to take up temporary residence in the event of mandatory evacuation.

Even with these preparatory steps taken, there is still the underlying fear and uncertainty that inevitably comes with Mother Nature’s fury.  Anyone who has ever had to evacuate because of a hurricane has known the anxiety and fear of returning home and not knowing what they’re going to find, or even if there is a home to return to.  Life changes, sometimes temporarily while others have their world turned upside down and everything they’ve known is gone.

Many people were breathing sighs of relief this year with the currently uneventful hurricane season.  Storms had taken a long hiatus from forming over the last few months since the season started, and even with the doomsayers environmental experts predicting all sorts of doom and gloom prior to the season, the eastern Atlantic remained quiet of any waves coming off of the African coast.

That all changed with tropical depression Ana, followed by Bill and the spontaneous Claudette.  

Three storms surged up in short order, and while Ana and Claudette are all but removed from worry, Bill was upgraded to hurricane status.  Hurricane Bill’s projected path even suggests that it may make landfall sometime this week along the islands in the Atlantic and Caribbean.  

This uneventful hurricane season all of a sudden received a steroid shot and is now pumping out waves and depressions, with more expected over coming weeks.

With the current economic troubles, one has to wonder that if a major storm made landfall on U.S. soil, would we be able to handle it?  Our wallets are already empty from consumer fear in spending, holding back any attempts at turning the downturn around, and those with the money refusing to put it back in the economy are basically creating a trickle down effect to slow recovery.  

Many families without money may find themselves pressed to impossibility if their homes are threatened by a storm, making simple hurricane preparations unaffordable.  

Insurance companies were devastated the last time storms rolled through Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana, and one can only guess to how much worse it will be for unprepared homes.  Where will people go who can’t afford to rent a motel after evacuation if no family is within travel distance?

We’ve all been granted a reprieve from these worries for the last two months, but that reprieve may not last forever.  The government is already spending money it doesn’t have and the economy is still down, even if it has shown signs of life.  In a way, it has become the perfect storm for disaster should we see another season like 2004 with Bonnie, Charlie, Francis, Ivan and Jeanne.  That was another season that started late, with the first named storm popping up Aug. 1.

Let’s hope that is the full extent of the similarities.