August 2023 was a mixed-up month for weather related disasters. On August 8, a wildfire swept through Lahaina on the island of Maui, Hawaii. I have to say, I knew enough about Maui to know that Lahaina was on the ‘dry’ side of the island, but based on the rate of devastation, it was much drier than I thought. We think of Maui as a lush, wet, tropical paradise, and not the place of fast wildfires like the ones we worry about here. Ten days later, we found Hurricane Hilary in the Pacific Ocean, beating a path to California, and although it didn’t hit any of us like a hurricane, we still got rain, thunder, and lightning in Amador County, and the threat of flooding. In August!?!
Obviously, there is a flaw in the assumptions that certain disasters won’t happen at certain times, or in certain locations. The people in Maui were familiar with Tsunamis and had their siren system ready to warn the people to move inland ahead of the waves, but were surprised by the wildfires, and were surprised to learn that their system couldn’t tell people to move TOWARD the shore. Likewise, California doesn’t have hurricane evacuation routes like they have on the Eastern and Gulf Coasts in this country. What would have happened had the storm been stronger?
As far as LNRW is concerned, neither of these two disasters had a direct impact on us, although some of you might have friends, family, or acquaintances in the disaster zones and I hope they fare well, but we need to make sure we recognize that future disasters and events that need us to respond as a neighborhood radio watch, may change from today’s events and take a form completely unexpected. We need to be ready for a wider variety of threats. Far be it for me to increase the level of stress you experience in your life, but I am asking that you consider the form some of these future threats may take and what we as a neighborhood radio watch could do. I’d be really interested in your thoughts on this subject.