Prepare now for the season

Published 7:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2014

Our first tropical system of the season developed off the coast of Florida and quickly became Tropical Storm Arthur. Even though Arthur is no threat to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it should be a reminder to all of us to be prepared and do not let our guard down during storm season.

Those of us who are old enough should look back on the lessons of Hurricane Camille. She wasn’t a monster-sized storm like Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Rita, but she sure packed a whollop.

Some people along the Mississippi Gulf Coast made the unfortunate decision to “ride out the storm”; some went as far as to throw “Hurricane Parties”, in which many people died.

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I am sure that as the East Coast keeps a close watch on Arthur, they have fresh memories of Hurricane Sandy and the havoc she caused along their coastline. Arthur, which is on a similar path, has not yet reached hurricane strength. It is expected to increase to a category 1 before sweeping the North Carolina and Virginia coast.

An expected turn should take Arthur away from land and out to sea, where hopefully it will fall apart and become less of a threat. Some folks in the path of the storm may have a soggy Fourth of July. But a category 1 storm can do some damage. The barbecues and family gatherings may have to come indoors this year’s holiday.

Let us pray for those in Arthur’s path, and pray Arthur doesn’t strengthen into something more serious.

While the Gulf of Mexico is clear of disturbances, it is now that we should be making our plans, creating our survival kits and gathering the materials needed to secure our homes and property.

During Camille, my family took refuge in the Poplarville Courthouse. My memories of that night will never leave me. Even though Camille left major damage in her wake, we were lucky here in Pearl River County. We were also lucky during Katrina, but sooner or later everyone’s luck runs out.

So prepare and keep watch. Do not take safety for granted when the next major storm heads our way.

About Barbara Mizell

Barbara Mizell began working for the Picayune Item in 1993. She started during the "cut and paste" days of the newspaper, and was the first to create a newspaper page using the computer for the Item. She has served as Composing Supervisor and honorary Religion Editor. Of all the contributions she has made over her 20 years at the Item, she is most proud of the World War II book "The Greatest Generation." Barbara was born and raised in the White Sand Community on Lee Hill, she has also written many short stories about growing up on the hill.

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