Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lessons From Hurricane Irene

Every time a Hurricane plows through any Coastline, whether the East Coast or the Gulf Coast, Town Councils and Government Officials  incur the wrath of property owners by ordering them to Evacuate.  Get out of harm's way.  Make a plan.  Be safe. 

Lots and lots of times, these precautionary plans to keep people from dying are met with incredulous disbelief, jeers, anger, and obstinate refusal to obey.  Usually, this comes from seasoned, Born and Bred Coastal residents...they've been through Category One or Two Hurricanes, and know that the winds and storm surges aren't always as life threatening as they're made out to be.  But what they (we) always forget is this:

Photo: Getty Images.

 Those steps are all that's left of Stinson's Ranch -a century-old cottage in Nags Head, NC.  This is what it looked like last year, when it was photographed for an article in Our State magazine:

Photo: Jimmy Williams.
It doesn't matter that this house was built on a fragile Coastline...it lasted over a hundred years, through Hurricane after Hurricane - families saw babies born, grow up and marry, get old and die during its lifetime.  Thankfully, the Stinson family wasn't there when it was swept away...they are sad, but alive.  The Lesson?  Don't be where the Hurricane is.

There was lots of damage in the Outer Banks:

Photo of Hwy. 12 in Nags Head - courtesy Reuters.

Rodanthe, NC.  Photographer: Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT/Getty Images
 Same Lesson.  Use your common sense.  Be safe, not Fierce and Independent.  No awards for that.

East Haven, CT.  This is on the shore, but remember that Irene was barely a Category One when it hit here.
Those concrete pilings used to hold up someone's home - probably the house in the background.

One of the most powerful lessons we learned, years ago, from Hurricane Floyd was that sometimes the catastrophic damage, and the deaths, are inland...miles away from the vulnerable coast.  That is exactly what happened this time...

South St. Bridge in Windham, NY, where the Batavia Kill overflowed its banks and roared through the town.  Photo: ABC News.

Rotterdam, NY.  Photo from AP.

But perhaps most shocking is Vermont - they don't even HAVE a Coastline:

Waterbury, Vermont.  Photo: AP.

Over and over, The Weather Channel warned of catastrophic flooding that would occur inland from Hurricane Irene.  When you know there is the possibility of historic flooding in your inland town as a Hurricane or Tropical Storm roars up the coast miles away from you, what is your plan?

Life is all about lessons.  And whether you learn from them, or not.  As my brother, Roger, would say,


Pause, and Think of That.


sarah said...

I watched the flooded New york city on TV. You and your family were safe?
"Disaster comes when we forget it."
This is Japanese lesson. We are easy to forget pains.
Now it is raining. A typhoon is approaching to Japan now.
A typhoon will hit the Western Japan tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. I hope there will be no damage.
Have great days.

Linda McMullan said...

Oh, Sarah! I've just checked on the Typhoon, and it looks like Nara City will be hit by the storm...which is large, with a lot of rain. Be safe, and keep us posted!

snowwhite said...

Hi Linda,
I agree with you 100%! All of us should keep your lesson firmly in mind. To be alive is most important. But, what a disruptive power it had! In front of Mother Nature, we are powerless. I hope everything is Ok with you. These years I have felt something wrong about weather. Once rain starts, it becomes heavy or torrential often. It would rain more gently.
One thing interests me. In Japan, typhoons are numbered, not named. Hurricanes are named. I imagine if a typhoon is named Keiko. Oh, no!


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