Education key with storms

If the horrible storms that tore through the Gulf Coast last fall have taught us anything, it’s the need to devise a plan to move people out of an area quickly, and to get rid of the water as fast as possible.

Apparently, the lessons are being learned in our area.

Local, state and regional officials spoke to a crowd at Bethany Beach Town Hall on Saturday, Aug. 12, on issues of hurricane possibilities in the region, predictions, possible scenarios to plan for, trends, technology and communication. As Roseanne Pack of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) said, “Delaware is ready for a big hurricane. Delaware has plans.”

That’s a good statement to make, but one also fraught with concerns.

For one thing, evacuation routes are still frightening. Both Routes 1 and 26 are prone to flooding during regular hard rains, so the prospect of a mass exodus via those roads is not a pleasant one. Route 54? We’re just not confident that Route 54 will be able to handle the traffic flow necessary to safely evacuate people in case of a major storm. It barely does the job in pleasant weather.

The good news? The people holding this presentation on Saturday recognized this problem and said that the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) has been putting together a plan. The bad news? Well, cut and dry, the state is clearly not ready for a big hurricane — especially here near the shore, the area that will need the most help.

That being said, we are thrilled that officials are taking storm preparedness extremely seriously, and have a plan of action to take if such a storm would take place — even if the logistics of the roads might cause a bit of a hang-up until it is resolved.

The simple thing would have been to watch what happened with the horrible storms down south last year, get all excited to make a plan, then forget about it as other pressing issues arose. However, state and local officials have proven to us that they do indeed take the threat seriously, and that they have been working long and hard on putting together plans to save as many people as possible.

That should be commended and appreciated. However, we do worry that the statement that the state is fully prepared can give pause that some feel the work is done.

It, most clearly, is not.