Drama tends to dominate weather forecasts, something we’ve all witnessed. Time and again, we keep hearing unprecedented, Nor’easter, Mega Storm, to the point of exhaustion. We either take heed and prepare or chalk it up to one more weather event that will probably fizzle-out as it blows out to sea. That’s the way it almost was leading up to Sandy and her vicious attack on the Northeast, arriving not as a hurricane but a Superstorm.
One week ago, people started taking it very seriously.
Weather maps demonstrated a massive shadow, a witch’s crooked finger, reaching up and pointing at the East Coast. Evacuations were ordered in low-lying areas, although in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg delayed such decision, announcing on October 27th that “the evacuation isn’t warranted. We’re making that decision based on the nature of this storm. Although we’re expecting a large surge of water, it is not expected to be a tropical storm or a hurricane-type surge,” he said. “With this storm we’ll likely see a slow pileup of water, rather than a sudden surge, which is what you would expect from a hurricane and which we saw with Irene 14 months ago.”
Mayor Bumbleberg, as he’s often labeled by me, a man with the judgment of an Opossum crossing a highway, did an about-face this past Sunday and finally issued mandatory evacuation orders of certain areas, even closing schools in New York City on Monday. The Mayor’s next statement was “”This is a serious and dangerous storm,”
It’s difficult to keep from basking in all this wisdom from a man who banned 32 ounce sodas from being sold in Manhattan.
Nevertheless, one week ago, here in upstate New York, I headed to the stores with my Granddaughter, Emma. We listened to the weather forecast blaring from XM in the car and made our shopping plan of attack. I had previously stocked-up on necessities and planned to do some all-day Sunday cooking to get us through the week should the worst happen. Our home generator was primed and ready to spring into action for a possible one or two days without power. Driving through our small town, I noticed that a few local gas stations were already closed with big “NO GAS” signs posted at the pumps. Supermarket shelves were once again emptied of bread and milk, people had carts filled with whatever food staples they could gather and, of course, lots of Beer.
Don’t ask. This is what country living is all about.
Emma and I headed into our local Kmart, crowded with people rummaging for last-minute Halloween costumes and candy, so pleased with ourselves in finding the perfect shirt and bandanna so that Em could dress up as Rosie the Riveter for school (Our district hasn’t yet outlawed kids wearing costumes to school, as in other states). At that point in time, no one imagined that the approaching storm could possibly impact Trick-or-Treating for the second year in a row as happened with the freak snowstorm in October of 2011.
Errands done, we headed home to hunker-down and, of course, watch the endless broadcasts about Sandy. Area school closing announcements were made late into Sunday evening and we awoke Monday morning to light rain. I headed into the office, making the 50 mile trip on highways that were largely deserted except for the Staties posted here and there, waiting to snatch those speeders who were taking illegal advantage of the open roads. Our business isn’t far from Long Island Sound and the coastal weather started to churn and grumble where we’re located, in Larchmont, New York. Local banks were already closed along with many businesses in our area; we decided to make it an early day and all headed back upstate as the outer bands of the hurricane began reaching out to take control over lives and property.
By 7 p.m. that evening, power went down (stayed down until last evening) and the roar of our generator was muffled by the wicked screams of the wind that pounded against our home. Our huge Willows, which had survived Hurricane Irene’s torment, once again bent and twisted with every gust. I had a bad, bad feeling that one tree might land on our house and removed all the wind chimes that decorated their swooping branches. Inside, I gathered collectible items from my kitchen and other windows, thinking to myself about how foolish it was to worry about “stuff” if a tree did come crashing through the roof.
Looking outside on our deck, I noticed that the new grille cover had blown off and I ran outside to secure it again. For a moment, it was eerily quiet. As I picked-up the cover and pulled it over the barbecue, a roaring blast of gale force wind knocked my feet out from under me and I scrambled to get back into the house, struggling to open the screen door. Moments later, the trees in our backyard surrendered to Sandy’s onslaught and tumbled to the ground, sideways, away from our house.
We were very lucky and I will not complain now…or ever…about any inconvenience we’ve encountered during this storm.
One week later, the aftermath is beyond tragic. My heart cries for those in New Jersey, in Staten Island, in Breezy Point and beyond. I’m ashamed over being concerned over my “stuff” and how none of it matters in the face of those people who are rummaging through water, sticks and sand, looking for precious memories that were once part of their home, belongings that cannot be replaced. Thousands are homeless, disoriented, begging for help, many with nowhere to turn as they wait for guidance and support from government and local officials. Others are burying their loved ones, lives cut short by the viciousness of nature, victims of a witch… named Sandy.
Those of us who had access to the Internet and television have been watching the latest recovery updates. New York City, like so many other places, looks like a war zone, in spots. Subways are flooded, Yellow Cabs are underwater and transportation is extremely limited. Motorists are not being allowed to drive into Manhattan unless they have two other occupants in their vehicles. At this time each year, the New York City Marathon is usually held with people participating from all over the world to run through the streets of five boroughs. By all that is reasonable, having this event should have been something that was immediately cancelled by…Mayor Bloomberg.
The dis-honorable Mayor was more concerned with coffers of the city he works for, gathering revenue along with showing the world how strong New York is after a disaster. Really? I think New York demonstrated just that after the attacks on 9/11/01. After much public outcry, the marathon was rightfully cancelled and there has been nothing since but pitiful complaints from all those involved in the event. Spare me from feeling badly for those who flew to New York from Switzerland to compete and booked some choice hotel rooms. Spare me as well from shedding a tear for anyone who has trained to run for miles through the streets of Manhattan and beyond to support a particular charity of their choice.
Know what? Charity begins right here in New York and New Jersey before anything else, marathoners! How’s this for a plan…while you’re here, how about volunteering some time at a shelter or soup kitchen? Before you leave, write a check and then… go home and rejoice that you still have a roof over your heads!
Shortly after the cancellation was announced, Crystal Egger, so-called wench-Meteorologist of The Weather Channel, sat with a marathon organizer during a broadcast, sympathizing with his moans and groans over the marathon not taking place and ended her segment by stating…”marathon runners, more victims of Superstorm Sandy”…a completely asinine and thoughtless remark by this clueless, ignorant, self-absorbed woman. How dare you label any of these people victims and tout their hardships while others are scrounging for food, shelter and gasoline, while two Staten Island parents bury their two young sons who were swept away in the storm surge… while others are saying their final good-byes? How dare you?
Big FAIL for both The Weather Channel and this moronic, scatter-brained, personality. I’ve forwarded the link to this blog post to The Weather Channel and to Crystal Egger. She should enjoy seeing her name in print, especially with the #dumbass hashtag I’ve connected her with all over Twitter. I’ve also requested that Egger be made to apologize to everyone in the Northeast for her stupidity with the statement she made. I won’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen but it sure gives me satisfaction in venting about it here on my blog.
One week ago, I waited, and watched. One week later, I watch and give thanks for everything I have. And…I pray for those who lost everything.
We’d like you to take the word “Storm” and write a blog post around it. It can be a response to the devastation of Sandy or a reflection on the stormy days of life.
It’s so nice to have the inspiration back again from The Lightning and the Lightning Bug! There has been quite a blogging-lull of late for so many, life keeps putting those detours in our writing paths. The ideas are there, waiting to be shared but seem to stall along the road leading to.. publish. My post is long-winded with a great deal of venting brought on by Sandy’s visit to the Northeast last week. As people struggle to recover, another storm is heading our way this week and the weather analysts are falling over themselves trying to decide where it will hit…and what it will bring.
Keep the prayers going for everyone in New York and New Jersey, people just trying to make it through one more day.