Commentary: Devastating hurricanes are changing our lives forever

Commentary: Devastating hurricanes are changing our lives forever
October 05
12:42 2022

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

Some events in our lives change them forever and sometimes they happen without any warning signs.

That is why all of us should know and understand that tomorrow is not promised. Looking back upon my life, I really didn’t think about tomorrow getting here.

Hurt, harm or danger weren’t in my cycle of thoughts. I just knew it would come without any fanfare. It would simply be the next day. This is the mindset when you believe you have a certain level of invincibility. 

Well, aging has given me some wisdom that I didn’t have before. This could be the reason that some young adults ask senior citizens for advice and counsel. While some things are sudden, there are other events that give us a warning and time to get ready.

Hurricanes are great examples that give you time to prepare for them. Prior to hurricane season, many coastal cities give you primers on what to take with you during these critical times. There are cities that will host events where they are giving out certain medical and food supplies. As climate change has set into our environment, these agency programs have taken on new importance and value.

During hurricane season (June-November) residents near the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico get nervous and awfully anxious. Each year we live with the fear that a hurricane could come our way. So far, we in Louisiana have escaped the destruction and wrath of hurricanes.

Our neighbors in Florida weren’t so fortunate.

Hurricane Ian came roaring into the Fort Myers and Sanibel Island communities last week.

Reports say it was one of the deadliest hurricanes in over 30 years.

Other Florida communities affected included Punta Gorda, Naples, Orlando and North Port. Parts of I-75 in Southwest Florida had to be closed. Homes and communities were taken down and reduced to rubble by this force of nature. This same Hurricane Ian also caused extreme damage along the coasts of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

As of last week, over 1.6 million residents were without power because of this storm. In some areas, it was a category 4 storm with wind speeds of 155 mph. News reports said that over 40,600 people were displaced and there are over 80 fatalities. Some sadly will never return to their homes and their possessions are forever gone amidst the ruins.

President Joe Biden on Friday said, “Hurricane Ian is likely to rank among the worst in the nation’s history and Florida will take months-years to rebuild.”

These are sobering comments coming from the president.

Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, has asked the federal government for assistance. His posture and position are different now. In 2013 when he was a member of Congress, he was against giving federal aid to victims in New York who were victims of Hurricane Sandy. He obviously has selective amnesia.

It is noteworthy that only 20% of the people hardest hit by Hurricane Ian had flood insurance. It is my opinion that if you live in a hurricane area that you should have flood insurance. Without it, you are taking chances with your home and property.

Amy Boggs, head of the property insurance division of the Florida Trial Lawyers Association, said prior to Hurricane Ian, “With Hurricane Ian barreling down on Florida, policyholders have a weaker and harder-to-use insurance product.”

She added, “This storm will expose the true effect of diminishing insurance products in Florida.”

It will take money and time for parts of the Sunshine State to get back on its feet. The clean-up and the will to rebuild have already started.


James B. Ewers Jr., Ed.D., is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator. He can be reached at

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