Before Isabel, there was Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972, which began as a hurricane but caused great destruction from flooding after being downgraded to a tropical storm, especially in northern Maryland. And before that, there was The Chesapeake & Potomac Hurricane of 1933, when the eye of storm traveled up the west side of the Chesapeake Bay, bringing record high tides and an 11-foot storm tide in Washington. Understandably, memories have faded, and there is now strong concern that many in the Baltimore-Washington area have little to no experience in preparing for hurricanes. Many residents may not know, for example, that fresh water flooding from heavy rain and storm surge from the Chesapeake Bay and tidal rivers like the Potomac and Susquehanna pose the greatest danger from landfalling hurricanes. When disasters are decades apart, time seems to be on our side. But that's true only if we take advantage of calmer times to fortify against future risks.