Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The unbelievable storm

I was up until 4 am Oslo time last night watching super storm Sandy make landfall on the eastern coast of the USA. It chose the area around Atlantic City as its entrance, and the video footage of the Atlantic Ocean pouring into this casino city was just unbelievable to watch. The Atlantic Ocean has never been the enemy before. Not until last night. Watching it flood these coastal towns was kind of like watching a mini tsunami—scary, unbelievable and fascinating at the same time. I can understand why people want to get close to the fury of a storm to film what it does to everything in its path, but you would have been completely foolhardy to have done so yesterday. I’ve been in Atlantic City, walked along its boardwalk, and enjoyed its shopping and luxurious hotels. Last night it did not look luxurious at all. It made me sad to see the destruction, as it did to see the flooding and destruction in Manhattan and Queens. This is not supposed to happen in these areas. But it did. The monster storm from hell made sure that we will not take anything for granted ever again, not where nature is concerned.

I grew up in Tarrytown, a lovely little town on the Hudson River, about a thirty-minute train ride north of Manhattan. In all the years I lived there, I cannot remember this type of storm occurring. Yes, there were intense storms, with resultant minor flooding here and there. I can remember the Saw Mill River and Bronx River Parkways being flooded and becoming impassable. Once I tried to drive through one of those parkway floods with my car, but had to back out of it as I could not steer my way through it. Luckily I managed to back out of it; not everyone was so fortunate. I was together with a friend of mine; we were commuting home from college that day. Water seeped into my car through the doors, and we had to bail out pails of water from the car afterward. It was a stupid decision on my part to attempt to drive through the rising water, and I learned an important lesson that day for the future about not taking unnecessary risks. But in Tarrytown (and other Hudson River towns) yesterday, there was unprecedented flooding. The Hudson River rose higher and higher due to the storm surge further south. Boats floated inland, having broken free of their moorings. In the town of Ossining, a few miles north of Tarrytown, a boat floated onto the railroad tracks, blocking passage in both directions. The pictures tell the story—proof that the unbelievable happened. I am including two links to online storm photos here. I am sad to see the destruction and flooding, and only hope that most people have come through the storm safely. http://www.businessinsider.com/at-least-16-dead-75-million-without-power--heres-what-hurricane-sandys-destruction-looks-like-photos-2012-10?0=bi

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