I had every intention of writing a piece about hurricanes on the eve of the Atlantic Hurricane Season (June 1 - Nov. 30), but I need a pause to talk about what I witnessed on May 23 after a strong thunderstorm ravaged our region once again. Alexandria is no stranger to strong storms. The history of Alexandria is rife with examples of flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, and — in recent memory — a derecho.
What I saw last week was not a community torn apart by a storm but one brought closer together. I saw neighbors out checking on neighbors. Strangers stopping to clear downed trees and block off streets with downed power lines. I saw some of the best Alexandrians on display, all from one storm that will soon be forgotten. Seeing all this confirmed what I know about volunteering. It shows that even unplanned spontaneous volunteerism brings a community closer together. A community that is prepared with people ready to step forward to help is a community that can weather any storm.
And storms will be coming. For 2019, it is predicted that there may be 9-15 named storms. We have already seen the first storm of the year (Andrea) form and fade in the Atlantic. Of the 9-15 storms, 4-8 could become hurricanes and of those 2-4 may become major hurricanes (noaa.gov). It will only take one storm to do a great amount of damage to a community that is not prepared.
I encourage you all to take time now to prepare. Ensure that you have three days of food for you and everyone in your home and don't forget your pets. You should also have at least a gallon of water per person per day. Ensure you have all the medications you will need as well as a backup copy of any prescriptions you are taking. Take the time now to read up on other ways you can prepare yourselves for any storm that may threaten (ready.gov).
If you are in the position to help others, please volunteer. Get out into your communities and get to know your neighbors before a storm brings you together. You can find ways to volunteer in your communities at www.volunteeralexandria.org.
I may never have been a Boy Scout, but I can always be prepared.