Editorial: Get ready now for hurricane season
Hurricane season officially began June 1. The Cape Region has a long history of avoiding a major hurricane’s direct hit; our region has largely escaped the devastation that storms have brought to communities across the nation.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a near-normal hurricane season with nine to 15 named storms possible.
Four to eight could become hurricanes, with up to four reaching Category 3 status, meaning sustained winds of up to 129 mph.
There is no doubt our region has been lucky to have avoided bearing the full brunt of a hurricane, but that luck breeds complacency. Sussex County officials urge everyone to be ready – make preparations now in case a major storm threatens. Plan an evacuation route and let family or friends know where you plan to be. Think through the steps to secure your home, so, should a disaster threaten, you will know what has to be done.
If a major storm hits, officials say we should expect limited communications, no electricity, polluted water, sewer backups, undermined foundations and severe beach erosion.
Still, many among us like to think we’ve ridden out storms until now, and we can do so again. That is the danger of complacency. Today, devastating weather events are occurring more frequently, while at the same time, Sussex County is rapidly losing the marshland and open space that once absorbed stormwater and tidal flooding.
The Cape Gazette urges everyone to prepare now to handle a major storm event.
At the same time, we urge Sussex County officials to place greater emphasis on determining how future development will affect the resiliency of our region. New developments they approve remove land that once absorbed stormwater, increasing the threat of flooding that they are warning us to prepare for.
Residents and homeowners must do their part to prepare, but Sussex County officials must also do their part by emphasizing the effects of new development on future flooding events and on the capacity of our roadways should evacuation become necessary.