Today’s Editorial, July 26: Don’t be complacent

The debate about global warming isn’t anything new.

And whether you believe that mankind is causing the earth to heat up or warming trends are cyclical, you do have to agree that we’d better get ready for a disaster.

For the Cayman Islands disaster usually comes in the form of a hurricane, such as Ivan in September 2004.

We’re one month into the hurricane season and many of us still haven’t had our homes and businesses measured for shutters.

Many haven’t tested their generators to see if they’ll run in the event of a power outage.

Several folks haven’t stocked up on their hurricane supplies.

And as we watch the Weather Channel or surf the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website some of us are becoming complacent.

The worst we’ve had to deal with this hurricane season has been a little rain and lightning. The unfortunate few lost computers, televisions, phones or other electronic devices because they didn’t have surge protectors on their equipment.

But we can’t be complacent.

We know that the Atlantic Ocean is warm and getting warmer, whether by global warming or just the way the earth runs through cycles.

We also know that warm oceans are breeding grounds for hurricanes.

Hurricane Ivan was dubbed a 100 year event, which means the Cayman Islands should be safe from a major hurricane for another 100 years.

Right.

Hurricane Camille was a 100-year event too. She destroyed the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969.

Camille killed 259 people and caused US$1.42 billion in 1969 dollars.

The folks who were fortunate enough to survive through that Category 5 storm thought they’d be OK riding out Hurricane Katrina last year.

Katrina is estimated to be responsible for US$81.2 billion in damages, making it the costliest hurricane in US history. The storm killed at least 1,836 people.

Many of the people who thought they could ride out Katrina because they survived Camille were killed in last year’s storm.

We can learn a valuable lesson from Hurricane Camille and Hurricane Katrina.

Our next Ivan could be just around the bend.

It doesn’t matter if global warming spawns the next storm.

What matters is that we’re prepared.

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