Hurricane Season Arrives Early
This past week, hurricane season began. No, you don’t have to check your calendar: It’s still May. But regardless of the date, it’s actual, honest-to-goodness hurricane season—and the way we know this is because Tropical Storm Alberto has just finished chugging up the coast of the Carolinas.
Under most circumstances, a storm with maximum wind speeds of 45 miles per hour (winds of 75 miles per hour define a Category 1 hurricane) draws little attention—but Alberto is the first tropical storm to be born before the June 1st start of hurricane season since 2003. That year saw seven hurricanes, including Hurricane Isabel, which did tremendous damage to my home state of North Carolina.
None of this is to suggest that the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season will be unusually good or bad—predictions are for an average season, with four to eight hurricanes. Even a normal season, though, can produce major storms capable of endangering millions of lives, and as such we should all take steps to be prepared.
As families and individuals prepare for hurricane season, so too should we ensure that all members of our communities are prepared for disaster. Many synagogues and other centers of Jewish life can and will serve as safe harbors during hurricane season. We are taught in Pirkei Avot not to separate ourselves from the community—and just as we cannot cut ourselves off, we must ensure that none are kept away in an hour of need. Therefore, we must all work to ensure that these safe harbors are accessible to all—whether that is people with disabilities, those who cannot afford to leave town or others in need.
While we here at the RAC are preparing our own resources (look for these on RACblog soon), New York Disaster Interfaith Services has many excellent resources to help your congregation and community prepare for emergencies (using the above link, click on the box that says “training”).
Image courtesy NASA Earth Observatory