This not a test...

That unmistakable attention signal blaring from my radio had almost always been preceded by the announcement, “This is a test.”

Only this time that afternoon of August 23rd 1992, it was the real deal. Hurricane Andrew was bearing down on South Florida and there was very little time left.

And I was not ready.

Even 21 years later, the moment of that Emergency Broadcast System alert remains crystal clear precisely because I was NOT prepared and was caught among the thousands trying to stock up and board up in time.

I was a Sports Director then, pressed into service on the anchor desk to help guide South Florida

viewers through the approaching destruction.

Andrew Damage 04_15_13

Hurricane Andrew Damage, from the National Hurricane Center

When it was over, I vowed to never again be caught unprepared and to do whatever I could to remind others of the importance of making a plan. Any kind of plan. And that it is never too early.

As hurricane experts last week came out with their predictions of a more active than normal 2013 tropical season, it was a reminder to start thinking about your plan.

Ike Satellite Image 04_15_13

(Satellite view of the huge size of Hurricane Ike as it neared Southeast Texas on 9/10/2008)

There are visual reminders everywhere of the massive and destructive power of Mother Nature. The only question for us is when and where will we come face to face with it, and will we be ready?

I will be. Make sure you are too. It's a test you can't afford to fail.