09/01/10 — Safety first: It is likely it won't hit here, but North Carolina knows to be prepared

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Safety first: It is likely it won't hit here, but North Carolina knows to be prepared

Although actual predictions of what Hurricane Earl will do in the next 24-48 hours as it chugs toward the North Carolina coast are still up in the air, there is a comfort in knowing that officials and residents are already thinking ahead to what the next step should be in case the storm makes landfall.

For now, we will hope that its impact is minimal and that its reach will only touch the coastline.

And in the meantime, residents' jobs will be to listen, to heed and to watch.

If there is a call for an evacuation, or if someone says you shouldn't head to the beach to hurricane watch, of course, you should listen.

And county and city officials certainly should have a plan in place, just in case Earl's outskirts bring with them a bunch of rain and wind in the Wayne County area.

Hurricanes are tricky things. There is no question that there is not one forecaster in America who absolutely without a doubt knows what Earl will do.

That is why it is so important that residents and officials stay tuned, prepare and pay attention to the warnings they see.

Five years ago this week, a major hurricane destroyed a city and killed thousands, in part, because officials waited and residents chose to ignore the warnings that came in quickly and in a short span of time.

One of the lessons that every government should learn from Katrina is to always expect and prepare for the worst.

Every resident should learn that he or she should have the utmost respect -- and a little fear -- of Mother Nature.

Published in Editorials on September 1, 2010 11:31 AM