Growing Up With Hurricanes

Debris from Donna – Florida Memory Photo

I lived in Florida during the years from the first grade through college in Tallahassee which saw very few up-close storms of note, though we did worry about hurricane Donna in 1960. Since then, the state has been hit quite a few times by major storms, primarily in the peninsula on tracks similar to Ian’s.

As a child, I was always somewhat stunned when newscasters said that slight changes in the storm’s path meant we were safe even though it was (apparently) okay if a town fifty miles away was wiped out.

We didn’t have the kind of reporting available today, so we were never quite sure where the hurricane was when we went to bed at night. Now, until the power goes out we have live pictures showing a hurricane’ track and impact, being out of touch in the 1960s was a far cry from watching the Weather Channel today and seeing Jim Cantore standing in the storm and getting knocked down by a branch.

Nights were the worst time for storms since we never knew where they were or which way they were headed. Now we can log on and learn that the storm is on our street heading for our house.

When hurricanes hit Florida these days, I feel sorry for the people who are impacted by the winds and storm surges. When I was a kid, there was a certain excitement when hurricanes were near. As I’ve grown older, that excitement has morphed into worry and dread. While I live in north Georgia and don’t have much to worry about, having family and friends in central Florida anchors me to the real-life impact of storms. I’m just too old to find any excitement in it.