We started hearing about Hurricane Dorian on Wednesday. It is now Monday and she is just now over the Bahamas with devasting effects. With what forecasters thought would come up the spine of Florida now looks like it will skirt and churn up the coast. I am in Clay County and they say we will see her fury tomorrow afternoon through Wednesday afternoon. That will be a week of anxiety and stress. Emotions up and down, will the storm go East or West? Will it hit land or not? How long will we be without electricity… and air conditioning?!
However, I thank God that we have had the time to prepare and plan. That our city and state have had to the time to direct us and protect us. I think about my ancestors, many of whom grew up on the coast just as I have, even closer. They did not have the warnings that we have today.
Florida Hurricanes have been recorded back to 1851, they called it Great Middle Florida. There were eleven more after that, unnamed. Then in 1926, Great Miami hit. Two years later, Okeechobee. There were five more storms, all unnamed, until Easy hit in 1950. They started naming them after that.
My ancestors were LifeSavers up and down the Carolina coasts. I think about them and how they had to deal with these storms, mostly without warning. They were the guys in the trenches, in the seas, protecting their families and their neighbors. And, they were in boats like the one pictured below.
Can you imagine a hurricane hitting with no warning? Well, that is what it was like before the 1870s. In the late 1870’s they would warn with the signal flags, but what if you didn’t see it? The invention of the electric telegraph in the 1840s made forecasting possible, but it wasn’t without its faults.
People complain about our modern-day meteorologists and forecasters. But, I for one am glad we have some warning. As crazy as the waiting makes us, at least we have some time to protect our families, just like my ancestor U. S. Life-Savers, Wescott, Midgett, Daniels, Etheridge, and Tilletts. And, they did it without the warnings we have today.
I pray for everyone’s safety through Dorian’s wrath. And, I pray that you will heed the warnings you receive with gratitude and thanksgiving for all the storms in your life.