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‘God help us.’ Jim Cantore paints bleak picture for Miami

By Madeleine Marr

mmarr@miamiherald.com

Hurricane Irma poised to hit Florida:

Hurricane Irma remains dangerous. The storm is poised to bring hurricane conditions to the Florida Keys & South Florida Saturday night Hurricane warnings are in effect for southern Florida while hurricane watches are under effect into central Flor
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Hurricane Irma remains dangerous. The storm is poised to bring hurricane conditions to the Florida Keys & South Florida Saturday night Hurricane warnings are in effect for southern Florida while hurricane watches are under effect into central Flor

It’s game week for Jim Cantore.

“Game month, actually,” said The Weather Channel’s star meteorologist Thursday after arriving in Miami, about to feel the brunt of Hurricane Irma.

He is duly exhausted.

“I have to be honest, I’m tired,” said Cantore who recently returned from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. “We poured our hearts into Harvey. A little bit of me is still there.”

To have two such disastrous weather events so close together is a rarity.

“I’ve never had a back to back situation like this especially at this strength,” he said. “This is a first.”

Though Cantore hates to be an alarmist, the 53 year old storm tracker believes Irma could be absolutely devastating.

“I have to paint the worst possible scenario,” Cantore admitted. “It would be a disservice to do otherwise. There are dark skies ahead potentially. God help us.”

Cantore thought he had seen it all, after witnessing the hell of three major storms back in 2005.

“I thought Katrina was then but then came Rita and then Wilma,” said the storm veteran. “You go from one disaster to another. This is kind of like this [hurricane] season.”

Thought Andrew was bad? Irma could be an even bigger beast.

“This is a far reaching storm at least twice as big as Andrew,” advised the Connecticut native. “If people don’t prepare, they could be in trouble.”

More advice: After battening the hatches, prepare yourself mentally for the aftermath.

“I think that’s the hardest thing about a hurricane situation: The routine you knew is going to be gone for maybe five days, maybe 10 days or more,” he said. “You do the best you can to protect yourself, your family, your property, but you have to kind of accept that and go through a psychological transition.”

But, hey, no one forced us to live in the subtropics.

“Let’s face it. When you live in paradise, it’s the price you pay.”

Cantore may be exhausted, but he’s driven.

“I call it adrenaline with a purpose. You stay on a mission and do what you’re supposed to do. I’m only one guy. I pace myself.”

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