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Weekly Blog: October 10

Through much of the Caribbean and southeastern United States, Hurricane Matthew leaves a trail of destruction. The death toll in Haiti now tops 1,000. Some three days after the storm, some 1.4 million people in the southeastern United States are without power. In the United States, 19 deaths are attributed to the storm. Storm surge-induced flooding was reported from St. Augustine and Jacksonville in the south to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and into Virginia. Rescue efforts are underway throughout the Caribbean– notably the Bahamas and Haiti– and in the southeastern and mid Atlantic United States.

Destruction in Haiti

Destruction in the southwestern region of Haiti.

The aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti

Hurricane Matthew in perspective. Haiti bears the brunt of a direct hit from a category 4 storm. Many other regions were far more fortunate.

The hurricane was not only extremely powerful, but something of a rarity. The landfall of a category four storm is thankfully an infrequent occurrence. The storm path traversed sportfishing main street. The storm devastated parts of the Bahamas. Preliminary estimates of the storm damages in the United States alone are in the neighborhood of $6 billion. Another notable fact about Hurricane Matthew was its disruptiveness. In addition to the numbers of people and communities who were actually hit by the storm, its trajectory”from south to north along the coastline of the southeastern United States– left many more in danger. Homes and businesses throughout the region closed and shuttered up. Mandatory evacuations were placed from as far south as Fort Lauderdale to as far north as the Carolinas. Here is a forecast from when the storm passed Haiti. CNN Forecast   Some places were fortunate. Marinas, boatyards, and homes in South Florida went to extreme measures to button up before the storm. The Hurricane passed offshore of much of south and central Florida, producing wind and rain but not the destruction and impact that may have occurred if its trajectory were to have shifted west.
Groceries and necessities were in short supply as the east coast made ready for the storm.

Groceries and necessities were in short supply as the east coast made ready for the storm.

One captain, who runs a Spencer that fishes Florida, the Bahamas, and the DR, provides as perfect example of what many experienced. His boss house is in the Bahamas, his home is in South Florida and the boat is in the Dominican Republic. Before the storm, the captain flew to each location, shoring up, tying down and making ready for a potentially catastrophic impact in each place. After a circus of logistics, he was fortunate. The storm somehow crossed to the north between each of these locations, leaving him in good shape. preparin Stories of close calls and inconvenience are part of what comes with living in hurricane country, especially if you make your living on the ocean. It is, after all, far better to recount these stories than those of destruction of homes and communities. Destruction of property, still, is much preferable to loss of life. While we think about and donate to those who are left without, most of us can be thankful. Hurricane Matthew was a big, nasty one. Its trajectory prompted calls of fire and brimstone. It brought a healthy dose of destruction to some, but for millions of others it was a close call. All in all, most of us have much to be thankful for. Those of us with power and whose homes and communities were spared the devastation and flooding witnessed by so many others should be mindful of how easily we too could have been in their situations. In such times, generosity of action and donation are warranted. Our thoughts and prayers are with those continuing to deal with Hurricane Matthew.