Hurricane Irma: A note about sensitivity, empathy, compassion

Hurricane Irma: A note about sensitivity, empathy, compassion

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - I once had a friend who complained that Hurricane Sandy put a "serious dent" in his vacation plans to NYC. When I tried to remind him about the potential devastation possible for many parts of the area, I felt like it fell on deaf ears. It was only after I showed him what Staten Island looked like in the days after that he realized how serious it was.

Over the past few days I've seen people post about how mad they are that #Irma is forcing their favorite college football and NFL games to be canceled. I've seen several people complain and seek sympathy because their Caribbean cruise might be canceled or delayed. While no one likes life's little inconveniences, we have a situation unfolding that will significantly affect millions of people for a long time.

Make no mistake: Irma is a deadly hurricane that will give Harvey a serious run for its money.

Homes will be washed away, blown down or both. Flooding--especially in Miami and other South Florida coastal regions--will wash away cars and permanently change some of the cityscape. Possessions, heirlooms, all are going to be just a memory for many in the storm's path.

Most importantly: some lives will be LOST.

And just when you think this sounds a bit dramatic, remember this: Irma is significantly larger than Andrew was in '92, and will likely stay over Florida for 24 hours or more. Andrew spent just 4 hours over land and many of us remember what kind of destruction even that small of a window caused. Andrew also only affected a small portion of Florida.

While we meteorologists (especially those who work in the affected markets) have been working tirelessly to keep everyone updated, the real heroes like the police, firemen, and emergency management personnel are going to go days without sleep rescuing people and getting them to safety. No doubt that we'll be seeing incredible video coming out of this for a very long time.

So remember, this isn't just a storm that is going to cause a big inconvenience for some. It's a catastrophic and deadly event that will forever affect millions (over 20 million) across the Sunshine State. Forget the games and the vacations...let us hopefully try to do what we can to help after Irma becomes an unorganized cluster of showers and storms late next week. I'll be posting links to the best places to donate once they are set up. Remember: having a little sensitivity, compassion and empathy for those who's lives will be forever changed will go a long way in helping them and us recover from Irma's wrath.

Meteorologist Andrew Kozak
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