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Reflecting on Irma and moving on
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Happiness is turning on your television and not having to watch a glob of swirling vomit for hours.

I’m referring to the weather wizards’ pre- and post-coverage of Hurricane Irma in the past few weeks – where she was supposed to go, where she did go and what would happen if she went someplace else, did a somersault, came back and regurgitated on the place where she left.

Coverage ad nauseam? Yes and no. Overall, I think television stations did a good job of keeping Floridians informed of dangers of Irma and its path.

They also were thorough in explaining where did to get help, where to stay and when it was past the point of no return for those who wanted to join the endless caravan on the interstates.

But my pet peeve about the broadcast journalists’ coverage is the obsession with trying to be the last guys standing before the wind blows them to god knows where.

Watching them broadcast –or at least try to broadcast – on a flooded street in high winds for effect gets tiring. Sidestepping debris and stumbling while telling us not be where they are only cause me to change the channel or try to do something more productive, such as making sure my flashlights are positioned properly for when the inevitable happens – darkness.

Don’t need to see a model of a city about to be deluged with electronically produced water, either. I’m not a kid, and I get the picture.

It takes all kinds

Comments heard before, during and after the storm.

“Why did they name a storm after an old lady?”

(She certainly proved to be long-winded).

“I’ve been without power for four days, but my neighbor across the street had power a day after the storm.”

(Ask him what church he goes to).

“How come all those guys in utility trucks gather at places and don’t seem to be doing anything? Why aren’t they fixing something?”

(Bring them some coffee and doughnuts).

“You think one day our politicians will realize that mass transit would be effective in helping to evacuate people during a storm?”

(It could rain lottery tickets, too).

“I’m going to go back to Delaware where they are much smarter and have more underground utilities.”

(In the words of the late great southern humorist Lewis Grizzard, “Delta is ready when you are”).

“If I’m without power for another night, I’m going to stay in a motel.”

(Providing the hotel has power).

“How many more days of television analysis are we going to have about Irma? I’m done with it.”

(Beats listening to a generator).

Final thoughts

Tampa Bay Newspapers lost power during the storm, and it was restored sometime in the afternoon Sept. 12, shortening our production time by days for last week’s papers. So we made the decision to publish the papers in a combined edition a day late.

We apologize if you didn’t receive your paper or it arrived late. At this writing, I’m not sure what effects gasoline shortages had on delivery, but I know we did the best to get the paper to you, in racks or through delivery.

Kudos to those grocery and convenience stores and other businesses that opened the day after the storm. Yet another reason to shop local.

Having worked through five hurricanes, on the east coast, in Central Florida and the west coast over the several decades, I always dread their arrival, large or small, because of the uncertainty of the storms’ wrath and the effects they will have on businesses, communities and people, especially the elderly and the infirmed.

I hope our leaders will reflect upon Irma, too, and discuss what they did well and what they could have done better.

Nevertheless, I believe that the good people of Pinellas County will get on with their lives, laugh in the face of adversity and find comfort in friends and family. And have hope.

Watching the “Shawshank Redemption” a few nights after the storm, one of my favorite lines from the great movie gave me pause: “… hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Tom Germond is editor of Tampa Bay Newspapers. He can be reached at 727-397-5563, ext. 330, or by an email at tgermond@TBNweeky.com.
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9911 Seminole Blvd.,
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Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
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