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The Cone of Uncertainty

The Cone of Uncertainty

For readers who don't live in a hurricane prone area, you might not understand what defines the Cone of Uncertainty.

Hurricane forecasters start tracking storms while they are out in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. They take information about the water temperatures, water currents, and wind speeds and make a guess about the path and severity of the storm. The closer the storm gets to land, forecasters put out different projected models in which the storm might travel based on new data thus, creating a Cone of Uncertainty.

What this means is that they have no exact readings on where the storm will definitely go, just predictions. The Hurricane Center warns people within the cone of uncertainty to be prepared for a major storm surge, extreme wind speeds, and possible destruction. Governors, mayors, and emergency personnel will put out evacuation notices and notify the population to be prepared. It is very wise for anyone who is in or near the Cone of Uncertainty to be prepared.

After preparing, it's important to watch where the eye of the storm is headed. The Hurricane Center keeps constant watch on the storm gathering new information. At the last minute the eye could turn and head in another direction - outside of the cone. It could pass quickly or slow down over an area and dump a lot more rain than expected.

We experienced our first major hurricane last year, Irma. Since we live in a hurricane prone area, our house is built with all the latest hurricane resistant products. It is a fortress compared to houses built in other areas of the country. It's built to withstand a hurricane. But, we kept a close watch on the Irma's path.

With the threat of Irma becoming a category 5 hurricane (the most dangerous), many people living on the east coast evacuated to the west coast of the state earlier in the week because the west coast was NOT in the Cone of Uncertainty. We kept watching the eye and decided to stay in our home. At the last minute, Irma made a left turn, went south of where we live and then headed up the west coast and into the central part of the state. Many who thought they were out of the storm's path, got hit the worst by the storm. The aftermath of Irma was powerful for our entire state. Many people were stranded as roads were full, gas stations empty, and power lines were down. Everything was at a stand still for days. Fortunately, we did not lose power and only had a few palm fronds fall at our home.

We will all face our own Cone of Uncertainty in our life. We don't know how life will move, a straight shot or maybe a detour. But one thing we can do is to be prepared.

First, get a good foundation. What is your relationship with God and Jesus? Do you have a sure foundation?

Second, get walls, windows and a roof that are unmovable and shatter proof. How is your prayer life? Are you reading your Bible? How are you staying rooted in Jesus so your walls are unmovable.

Third, watch for where the eye of the storm is expected to travel. Are they any areas in your life that are potential for a direct hit? Will your foundation, walls, windows or roof withstand a direct hit?

Fourth, trust your instincts. In other words, are you listening to the Holy Spirit in your life? The more you cultivate your relationship with God and understanding how God speaks to you, the more the Holy Spirit becomes a constant presence in your thoughts and habits. Are you asking and seeking wisdom, knowledge & discernment in your daily life?

Friends, you know The Small Town Family has taken hits from storms and how we have lived in the cone of uncertainty. But, we had a firm foundation, a strong roof, walls, and windows. We watched and waited to take actions and we listened to the Holy Spirit when God asked us to take leaps of faith when we were afraid. And, you know the rest of the story. (If you don't, you can read about it in Faithful: An Unexpected Journey to Motherhood.)

All of us will live in a 'Cone of Uncertainty'. Storms will hit. Are you prepared? Will you let fear and panic take over and make your decisions? I hope not. Get a good foundation, prepare your house, watch the eye of the storm, and listen to the Holy Spirit. With those preparations, you can weather any storm in your life.

Blessings to you my friends!


Here's the chorus that's been playing in my head today as I write this post. I sang it in Sunday School and, it still resonates with me today.

The Bible stands tho' the hills may tumble, It will firmly stand when the earth shall crumble; I will plant my feet on its firm foundation,  For the Bible stands.

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