Numbers often tell a story.
That's the case with Hurricane Michael — and really anything requiring complicated analysis.
So when it comes to figuring out population fluctuations caused by the hurricane, tracking the numbers is essential to figuring out the upcoming needs for things like education and services. For instance, business want to know how many people have left town already, and education officials are interested in the same information, albeit for different reasons.
Thankfully, a News Herald analysis has found that, at least so far, Bay County, Florida, has not seen a massive migration in the aftermath of the storm. You probably know or have heard of someone moving out of town and deciding to resettle elsewhere. The numbers support that, but they don't support the feared "mass exodus" that seemed eminent when the storm was plowing through Northwest Florida.
There is population "churning," as Elizabeth Fussell told The News Herald's Katie Landeck, but Fussell, who studies population data, said that is normal following a destructive storm like Michael.
Some people still may be trying to decide whether to stay, especially given the slow return to normal — even a "new normal." But all should remember that, as city and county officials have said, patience is necessary when dealing with a storm's aftermath. You have to wait for, among other things, money from insurance and other sources; workers to help rebuild; materials that may be in short supply due to the massive amount of sudden demand; and decisions from policymakers that directly affect the rebuilding process.
The "silver lining" of any storm takes a while to be realized, but the investments will come. (Many investments, such as those related to RESTORE, already were in the works when the storm struck.)
It can be difficult to feel like the silver lining ever will come — especially when you inevitably get stuck in traffic. Best to turn up the music and sing along. It's oddly soothing, and your mind shifts from the frustration of the rebuilding process to the dreams of the future that are harbored in the back of our minds.
Speaking of dreams, a former Army man from Maryland won more than $15,000 in the Maryland lottery after using numbers he said came to him in a dream, United Press International reported. It turns out the numbers were the same as ones he processed while in the Army.
That's not the first time something like this has happened — lottery players often report using numbers from birthdays, anniversaries, etc., and when they win, they attribute the win to their association with those numbers.
Oh, and by the way, that was the man's second win in a year. Perhaps luck runs in waves. If so, we all could use a wave of luck and enthusiasm.
REPRINTED FROM THE PANAMA CITY NEWS HERALD