By BosNewsLife Americas Service with reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos
WASHINGTON, USA (BosNewsLife)– A group of Christian volunteers, community leaders and emergency professionals urged churches in the U.S. eastern coastal regions on Friday, August 26, to evacuate their buildings and homes amid concerns Hurricane Irene will be the most powerful storm in decades.
Christian Emergency Network (CEN) said church members should begin evacuating “now before Saturday, when emergency management may give orders to evacuate.” In a statement obtained by BosNewsLife, CEN cited Bible verse Proverbs 22:3 as saying: “A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”
CEN said it could confirm “reliable reports” that “Hurricane Irene may be as devastating as the 1938 Hurricane” in which hundreds of people died and over 57,000 homes were destroyed, mainly in the New England region.
There are “similar patterns and water surges over 10 -15 feet”, or up to five meters, CEN explained.
“For those who feel CEN is making a dramatic warning, imagine a 10-15 foot wall of water being pushed on shore with a power of a tsunami. In addition to the wind damage and battering waves, the areas that are in the most direct path of the storm there is literally no physical defense,” CEN added.
The evacuation warning came as the National Weather Service said heightened waves and swells already started hitting the U.S. State of North Carolina’s coast.
North Carolina’s Outer Banks were reportedly seeing six to nine-foot, or up to three meters, waves early Friday, August 25.
“Given the large population areas along the east coast this would make evacuations difficult at best and damage unprecedented,” CEN added. As many as 65 million people along the densely populated East Coast were warily awaiting the dangerous hurricane, that experts said could potentially inflict billions of dollars in damages.
CEN said especially Christians “should prepare to survive themselves” to respond “to any emergency well as a faithful peaceful” followers of Christ. “Christians need to pray for God’s leading and timing to evacuate. Care for others by adding more supplies to your survival kits, and be ready to share the Hope of Christ with those who will be asking ‘Where is God in this?’.
The group recalled that the Biblical Apostle Peter said: “Be Ready to give an answer for the Hope of Christ within.”
CEN also quoted Jeff Masters, a hurricane and tropical storm specialist, as saying that “a small change in course can have profound impact on landfall, damages and loss of life. He has acknowledged that it is impossible to predict with accuracy where and how a storm will impact a specific area, “therefore encouraging widespread and reasonable preparations are essential.”
The major danger from Hurricane Irene may be from flooding and rainfall on an already saturated area, CEN said. Windfall is likely to be a secondary affect, according to CEN investigators.
“Past experience with hurricanes documents that storm surge is by far the greatest killer and destroyer of property. For example, a 10-15 foot storm surge will penetrate far inland, historically reaching up to several miles,” or kilometers, “depending upon the elevation.”
Not responding to evacuation calls can be deadly, CEN recalled. “For example, during the Hurricane Camille landfall, 30 residents of a condo decided to have a hurricane party not believing or responding to the calls of emergency management and were all killed by the storm surge.”
“The catastrophic damage would mandate that evacuations would be done sooner not later and be done even if an area may be bypassed given a slight turn of the storm.”
CEN said it had urged believers to pray that “Communication lines stay open” for “solar devices, radio supplies, energy and water systems” and for “Christians who still need to prepare to shelter with food, water, medicines.”
(On the Web: National Hurricane Center- interactive map http://1.usa.gov/eI6OBS
Weather Underground http://bit.ly/o9h9ly )