A Milestone Week of Preparedness Observances . . . And An Extraordinary Show in the Heavens

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Hurricane season is a big deal for us. By “us” I mean ImpactWeather specifically but it’s no stretch to include all meteorologists with an interest in the tropics. It’s also a big deal for our clients with offshore interests (which makes it a no-brainer that it’s a really big deal for us). Homeowners, local and state governments, even non-clients turn a sharp eye to the Atlantic Basin for six months of the year (that would be the length of the Atlantic hurricane season) all with a similar interest:  Is this the year a storm is going to get me/flood me/end my business/change my life?

A large part of our business is preparing our clients for the coming season — and not only, as you might suspect, by providing accurate forecasts. We do that, of course, but we also provide in-person and via recorded preparedness presentations to help our clients prepare their employees for the coming tropical season. After all, what good is preparing your business if the employees who run it are busy at home taking care of things that could have easily been taken care of before the storm? In fact, when I finish this post I’ll be jumping in my truck to visit a client later this morning for just such a presentation.

Photo: redcrossnca.org

But it’s not all about the hurricane, is it? Life goes on. Friends have difficulties, family members get sick, sometimes the mortgage is a huge headache instead of only a moderate one. Sometimes it’s about taking time out from an otherwise seriously busy day to stop and smell the roses. That’s why this article, tempting as it is, will not be about hurricane preparedness. Instead it’s about other stuff. Stuff that’s not even meteorological, but a big deal just the same.

First, did you know it’s National CPR Week? Indeed it is. When’s the last time you saved a life? When’s the last time you prepared to save a life? Your family, your friends, your colleagues, your neighbors — nobody is immune from cardiac arrest. It’s our duty as citizens to know the basic steps to save a life. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, more commonly known as CPR, is a simple way to save a life. There’s only one catch: you must know how to do it, and for that you need to be trained. The American Red Cross suggests that at least one person in every household should be trained not only in CPR but also how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator). Fact: According to the American Heart Association, 80 percent of cardiac arrests happen in the home.

If you learned CPR as a Boy Scout (as I did) or as a Girl Scout decades ago, here’s something new:  CPR is now a “breathless” procedure. No more mouth-to-mouth. It’s been determined that there’s enough oxygen in the blood for several minutes without breathing, but the problem is getting the blood to circulate. That’s why CPR is now chest compressions only. That is, after you dial 911. Get trained. Save a life. And visit the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross for more information.

Venus in transit in 2004 but after tonight your next chance isn't for another 105 years. Photo: foxnews.com

Lastly, take time today to enjoy the Venus Transit later this afternoon. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event and it will be entirely visible throughout most of eastern Asia, eastern Australia and Alaska. A partial transit can be seen in progress at sunrise throughout Europe, western Asia and eastern Africa. A partial transit can be seen in progress at sunset throughout most of North America, Central America and western South America. For North American viewers, the transit will last about 7 hours. The next transit will not take place until 2117. If you, your kids or even your grandchildren (more than likely) miss it, that’s it — you won’t have another chance. Learn more about the transit from NASA here. One more thing: Never look at the sun with the naked eye. Always, always use protective eye wear. Even for those of us in America watching near sunset this evening, never, ever look at the sun without protective eye wear.

That’s it. Hurricane season’s here. Learn how to save a life. Take time out for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’ve got to get to a presentation . . .

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