People tell me, a native Floridian who’s never lived anywhere else, they would never want to live in Florida for a number of reasons, but they normally rank hurricanes at the top of the list.

Fortunately for us, direct strikes by massive storms on our state aren’t that common. But as the current storm, Irene, is proof, Florida is far from the only area vulnerable to direct strikes from massive systems.

For those of you on the eastern seaboard in the path of this monster, it’s time to take heed. I don’t care how many near misses you’ve lived through, or if you think your local emergency management folks are full of beans. This is a storm to pay attention to and prepare for, even if the preparations turn out to be unneeded. Believe me, as someone who lived through Charley, a storm that wasn’t supposed to hit us but made a last-minute turn in our direction and hit us head-on, you do NOT want to guess wrong. And don’t forget to take care of your pets. Don’t leave them behind.

Good luck to all those in the storm’s path, and please stay safe.

Heads up, folks. Irene’s on the way.
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