Once again a close brush with a tropical weather system has left some Barbadian adventurers upset.
Based on public comments, however, we are somewhat at a loss as to whether the folly of their arguments revolves around their dissatisfaction with the forecasting of local meteorologists or the works of the Lord.
Either way, we believe that sensible Barbadians are happy with the way things turned out, if for no other reason than perhaps the fact that many of us cannot imagine how we would deal with the financial complications that would arise from a direct hit of even a small system like Tropical Storm Chantal, which breezed past us about 50 miles to our north just after sunrise today.
Currently, there is a significant number of Barbadians who struggle to make ends meet under normal circumstances, and we are sure that the last thing they wanted was the excitement of a storm’s devastation. We are sure there will be enough to warm the adrenalin in our countrymen in the final four weeks of Crop-Over 2013.
We would wish those who are disappointed that yet another storm ignored us to ask the older citizens in our midst to tell them a little about the hell our grandparents went through in 1955 when the eye of Hurricane Janet passed over Barbados. At the time the first hurricane to strike the island in 57 years, its 110 to 120 mile per hour winds and accompanying heavy rains resulted in 38 deaths.
But if 1955 is too far removed from memory to have any impact on the would-be thrill seekers in our midst, then with all the technology available they should look at the more recent systems that created havoc in St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Dominica, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti and of course Florida and Louisiana.
We are sure that there is not an American alive who lived through Hurricane Katrina when it unleashed its fury on New Orleans who would wish for any opportunity to play cat and mouse with any such weather system. Persons who have suffered the ravages of a hurricane would prefer the weathermen to be wrong every time when they predict the arrival of a storm.
Why does good fortune upset Barbadians?
In any event, while we are not experts, and while the only true test of our national readiness will come when we are faced head-on with a hurricane, we must say that on this occasion, the quiet confidence with which the emergency response system was activated suggests that we are making the best of simulation exercises.
Additionally, we are also hoping that the lack of panic and the absence of the usual mad scramble at supermarkets, gas stations and hardware stores late yesterday suggest Barbadians entered the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season better prepared than in the past.
But let us collectively knock wood. The season is yet early and we are not yet into the historically most intensive period — we hope not, but the thrill seekers and complainers may yet get their day. We should not take comfort in the fact that Chantal sailed smoothly by.
Let’s all take today’s brush as a warm-up run. The real race may yet come and it will not help us to be found wanting!