Although media attention is rightly focused on the widespread devastation of Hurricane Harvey (click here to help), here in the Diocese of New Jersey it is very important that we understand that we are still in the midst of Hurricane season.
Superstorm Sandy struck on October 29th, so it is clear from our experience that late season storms can be devastating.
For many New Jerseyan’s, images from Harvey will be disturbing reminders of the trauma suffered in Superstorm Sandy. Resources are available here.
As Harvey wanes to a depression, a new hurricane, Irma, has fired up in the central Atlantic Ocean, the National Hurricane Center said Thursday. The hurricane was rated a Category 2 with 100-mph winds, and it is forecast to roar into an “extremely dangerous” major hurricane over the next several days.
As of 11 a.m. ET, Irma was located about 1,845 miles east of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean.
It poses no immediate threat to land and its eventual track remains highly uncertain as is typical for storms this far out to sea.
However, forecast possibilities (see picture below) don’t rule out this storm affecting the East Coast of the United States, including New Jersey.
I don’t raise this specter to warn, but instead to call attention that we must always work to be prepared for whatever comes our way. The Church has an important role, serving as the hands and feet of Christ to help our neighbors in disasters, both small and large.
September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. I urge congregational leaders to use this opportunity to participate and/or update your page on The Episcopal Church Asset Map. This is an important tool to share our ministry throughout the wider Church, and is an important tool for planning disaster response. Please also create or update your Congregational Disaster Preparedness Plan.
It is necessary that we understand that disaster is not an abnormal condition, Harvey is the 38th Presidential Disaster Declaration this year. We have had hundreds of non-declared disasters in 2017, as well. As we learned well from Sandy, disasters don’t always happen to others…they can happen to us…and they will. It is also important to remember that recovery is a long slow process, thousands of our neighbors are still not home nearly five years after Sandy.
Please keep the people of the Dioceses of Texas, West Texas, and Western Louisiana in your prayers.