At some point this weekend around these parts, all the hysteria earlier this week over Hurricane Florence will inevitably seem foolish.
That’s the benefit of hindsight, but the only way for local government and emergency management officials to address a destructive offshore storm with the potential to devastate is to overreact and err on the side of the caution.
That’s not to say that’s what happened here on the Eastern Shore, but there were select instances when there was some misrepresentation and overreaction to describe the storm’s potential impact on our area. That resulted in misplaced anxiety and premature decisions.
By Tuesday night, it was clear Ocean City and the shore were not going to experience much of anything from this hurricane other than rain, high surf and some flooding. In fact, what occurred last weekend with the steady blow and storm surge is expected to be much worse than anything we see from Florence’s outer bands.
Since it did not appear that way one day before, emergency management officials did what they had to do. They sent mass releases to the media advising of recommended storm preparations as well as potential evacuation routes. It was the responsible direction to take and a protocol was clearly being followed by Ocean City officials.
The Ocean City area once again got lucky with Florence. The stationary high-pressure system off the coast steered it directly west rather than north. Some weather patterns on the land were expected, as of Thursday, to keep Florence’s remnants well to the south and west of us even into next week.
Our good graces, however, should be tempered by the concerns for our resort neighbors in North Carolina and South Carolina that will inevitably be facing destruction on some fronts. While we can count our blessings this weekend, we should also be cognizant of the horror that’s likely going to be witnessed during and after the storm.
It’s a frightening situation, one we should all keep in mind as we deal with the expected heavy rain and tidal flooding this weekend. It could have been so much worse.