I wonder how many internet searches have been made in the past week for "Idalia name origin." When I made mine this morning, this is what I got back: The name Idalia is a girl's name of Italian origin meaning "behold the sun."

A pretty name, if a bit ironic as the name for a hurricane. It makes me think of flowers ... and onions.

Be that as it may, when the weather radio awakens me at 4 a.m. with a tornado warning, that's too close to my regular rising time to even think about going back to sleep, so I might as well write.

The eye of the storm has already passed west of us, but of course the storm is much bigger than its eye, and we are currently feeling the effects as a drizzling rain.

The tornado danger is serious, as it is with all Florida summer storms. However, I do wonder about what appears to be inflation in the language of our weather advisories. I'm accustomed to "hurricane warning" meaning that a tornado has been spotted nearby and one should take cover immediately. Indeed, "take cover immediately" is what the weather radio said. Porter may have taken that literally, in his own way—rolled over and adjusted the sheet around himself—but I got up and checked out the weather map. I would have expected a tornado watch rather than a warning, which means "conditions are favorable for the development of severe weather," but a tornado has not yet been spotted. Then again, it's hard to spot much of anything in the dark, and I certainly would have been more concerned if we lived in the eastern part of the county, which was clearly getting some pretty nasty weather. But it was moving away from us, so life goes on, albeit with a little more vigilance.

Preparation without panic.

As far as I can tell, our state and local authorities have done a good job of that. Schools and government offices were closed in advance of the storm; given that Idalia could easily have altered course in the middle of the night, I think that decision was not made from panic, but prudence. When we were on the highway yesterday morning, I was happy to see lines of power trucks snaking their way into the state—we saw several from North Carolina, one even from Michigan. That makes good sense, too, since the hurricane will hit somewhere in Florida and it will be useful to have the workers and equipment close to hand. Governor DeSantis has already shown that he puts priority—speed and funding—into getting Florida up and running again as quickly as possible after a disaster. For the same reason I was glad to note yesterday that a portable generator had already been put in place at the sewer system pumping station in our neighborhood. Even if many of these preparations turn out to be, as seems likely, unnecessary, it's a good drill.

Sometimes these days I look around at the world and wonder, "Is this work I'm doing (whatever it might be) worth spending time on? If my world blows up next week, will what I'm doing have mattered at all? Should I instead "take cover immediately"? Are we in watch or warning mode?

"Watch," I think, and go on with my work. But it's a question worth asking now and then.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, August 30, 2023 at 4:48 am | Edit
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