The Power of Sandy

The weather is unpredictable. And yet we are constantly trying to predict it. But this is not news to anyone and I’m certainly not the first to say it.

But I’m sure people living in New York City never thought they’d get power outages and floods due to a hurricane. People further south are prepared for that sort of thing, but the Big Apple? People in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas- they have buildings built for tropical storms. They have hurricane walls and probably better home insurance plans or something. They have evacuation routes and supplies stored up. No one expected a hurricane like Sandy to hit so far north and cause this much damage to areas that are not prepared.

So what did they do? They told everyone to prepare for the worst storm in history, no matter where you live. They evacuated seaside towns in Delaware and New Jersey. They told Pennsylvanians to stock up on water, toilet paper, non-perishable food–enough for at least three days. They told everyone to freeze bags of ice to help keep food frozen after the power goes out. They cancelled schools and classes. They pushed back practices and games and banquets. They post-poned Halloween! (Who gets to make that executive decision?)

The restaurant where I work was all but deserted the night the storm was supposed to hit the Pittsburgh area the hardest. I had a few tables, but we shut down the kitchen early and sent everyone home before people got stranded. That night, as I plugged in my computer, my phone and my Nook, the lights flickered slightly and I went to bed fearing the worst would happen while I was asleep. I woke up expecting my clock to be wrong. It wasn’t. I thought maybe there’d be some trees down outside. There weren’t any. I didn’t even see a fallen branch. I drove to work prepared to turn the GPS on if my usual route was blocked or flooded. Nothing. It rained the whole day, but other than that, nothing out of the ordinary.

People said that Sandy was over-hyped. They tweeted it and made it their status and complained as socially and publicly as they could. Maybe they were angry that someone told them to prepare for a storm and they actually listened? They wanted to blame someone else-for what? For NOT getting flooded? People find a reason to complain about anything these days. But put it this way– if those people hadn’t prepared for a storm, they would have lost their power for a week. And they would have complained even more.

So all these people sitting at home on Facebook with all their lights on and their computer plugged in, voicing their opinions that Sandy was way over-hyped and the news shouldn’t have made such a big deal about it–well they can take a nice trip to New York City or Atlantic City, New Jersey and see how that works out. They can do some real good and help out those people who DID lose their power. They can see streets that DID get flooded. Then maybe they’ll just thank their lucky stars that they live right in between the blizzards, the winds and the floods. They’ll stop complaining about reporters that are just doing their job, reporting what matters to the people who were affected by the storm.

The death toll in New York City has risen to 30 as of a few hours ago. People all along the east coast have been forced to leave their flooded homes with what little possessions they have left. Millions are still without power. Their lives have changed. To them, this storm was not over-hyped. They could never have prepared enough. They’re not even thinking of Halloween and trick-or-treating. They don’t have houses where they can trick-or-treat and I am one hundred percent positive that they would rather have a home.

So while I sit in my house with power, I’m not going to be the one complaining that the storm was over-hyped. I’m so thankful to be living exactly in between all of the devastation.

The east coast will be rebuilding for a long time, removing feet of sand from houses and pumping water from streets. And in the meantime all we can do is keep trying to predict the unpredictable.

Photo courtesy of http://www.washingtonpost.com

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