Valdosta Daily Times

July 11, 2013

Be ready for weather

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Chantal is gaining strength in the Atlantic. No, wait, it’s not. Or perhaps it will come straight up through Florida and hit Valdosta with 70 mile per hour winds on Saturday. And then again, it may have completely dissipated by Friday, having taken out its lessening ferocity over the Caribbean islands.

Chantal is the third named storm of the 2013 hurricane season but it doesn’t look as if it’s going to fulfill its destiny as a hurricane, petering out as a tropical storm on Wednesday.

But just because this storm is blowing away doesn’t mean another one isn’t right behind it, forming in the Atlantic, which could come our way in the next week or two.

The lesson is to be prepared, which cannot be stressed enough during this hot, wet, particularly rainy summer we are experiencing. Intense showers every day have caused river water levels to rise again and the flood warning for the Withlacoochee keeps being extended, with it now extended well into this weekend. Just because Chantal won’t be a hurricane doesn’t mean residual rain bands won’t come this way in the next few days, adding to our perpetually soggy conditions.

Who knows what may come after Chantal as we still have until Nov. 30 before the season is over. The next named storm will be Dean, followed by Erin, Felix, Gabrielle, Humberto, Ingrid, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Noel, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.

The time to prepare is now. Valdosta will most likely get hit at some point this season, so why not go ahead and be ready in case of the loss of power for several days. At least three days supply of water should always be on hand, in addition to candles, flashlights, matches, lighters, charcoal or other ways to heat and cook food, canned food items, preferably that don’t need to be cooked, batteries for radios, first-aid kits, etc. A list of recommended items can be found online.