He and his fellow fearmongers have only succeeded in gaining the contempt of the entire North Central Gulf Coast and creating a panic when none is warranted. Believe me when I say that anyone who has lived in this area for any substantial length of time knows the risks hurricanes pose, and more importantly, we know when to start worrying about hurricanes. A low-grade Category 1, which is the projected landfall strength of now-Tropical Storm Arlene is NOT a cause for worry except for those who live near rivers, streams, coastal areas, and low-lying areas. Furthermore, Jim Cantore and his fellow coworkers have exacerbated future problems by reducing their credibility when a real storm is headed someone’s way. Several local news personalities are talking about wanting this to be a “One and Out,” actually WELCOMING the storm in the belief that this will be the only hit the coastal counties of Mississippi, Alabama, and Northwest Florida experience this year. Having evacuated from Hurricane Ivan last year, remembering the sheer living hell those days were even from over 200 miles away, while I think that’s excessively optimistic, I can certainly understand that mindset. I remember that even though the trip up was an experience I never want to repeat, the days of waiting and the warnings on the way down that gas supplies were questionable; the days after I returned, seeing empty grocery stores; and the stories from those who stayed behind may have actually been worse. I’m not quite sure as I was, like so many of my neighbors, in the midst of trying to cope with the emotional and practical concerns the disaster caused.
Arlene is not projected to even approach that intensity. Yet, Jim Cantore, probably at the behest of his bosses or at the very least without their disapproval, is playing up the drama. So the next time an Ivan, or a Hugo, or an Andrew, or any of a number of nightmares to have hit over the years, heads our way, some people will remember this and not take appropriate precautions. Thank you, Weather Channel. It is my sincerest hope that your grab for ratings doesn’t cost lives down the road.