Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Natural Disasters, check

So. Natural disasters, heard of 'em? Yep anyone who watched 5 minutes of the Weather Channel knows what I'm talking about. What a week we had last week. A big week of firsts for the little baby. Her first earthquake her first hurricane. Good thing we don't live near volcanoes.

The earthquake last Tuesday was such an unexpected event. Never have I felt one that significantly. There have been many in Ohio all those years I lived there but not once did I feel one. Admittedly those were small, less than 4.0. Our Virginia quake was something. We girls had just buckled into our seats ready to vote in the primary when the quake rumbled. The girls blamed me for messing up the van, thinking I was causing the problem. For a while there I did think it was just the van. Hey, when you've had years of car trouble a 5.8 quake does feel like a bad engine problem. For as much rumbling as it made our home was fine. There is one window with damage to the trim; easily fixed. I expected to come home to find numerous things on the floor or altered. Nothing. Not on picture frame was crooked. Our kitten does more damage in a day than the earthquake did to our place. We were fortunate. We have friends who have experienced all levels of damage. From broken vases to flooded homes. Apparently hot water heaters are not installed with high earthquake standards in these parts. Other places in our area suffered plenty of damage. Larger buildings were certainly affected the most. Many area schools have been closed to make certain that there are no hidden structural problems. I'm sure there will be minor things found for weeks.


The hurricane was more of a problem. Nothing like a hurricane to cause panic along the East coast. For days the area just obsessed about how Irene was going to level cities along the coast. Way to go newscasters. As with any strong storm the biggest concern are the trees. Trees just don't manage well in high winds; Especially those old growth trees in the older neighborhoods. Every big storm to pass through our area has downed trees. For the past 10 years, no 11, that we have lived in DC not one Spring has gone by where there were not some sort of thunderstorm caused tree disaster. Yet people are constantly shocked (those living with tall, old, untrimmed trees close to homes) that a tree smashed their car, busted a window, or blocked the street. It's not unbelievable that a scraggly old half rotted tree along the street lost branches which fell on homes, cars or power lines. While there were high winds and plenty of rain we living in the far, far burbs of DC had little damage. Our yard had many branches and leaf litter all over. If anything the hurricane topped some trees and tossed the debris around. Flooding was worst near the coast or along rivers and the Bay. I think compared to Vermont our area came through quite well.

 The unfortunate aspect of the hurricane is the media's desire for major devastation. The endless talk of how terrible the storm would be turned many people into devastation junkies. I say this because I know there are people who evacuated only to return to see very little damage. Sadly it seems they were hoping for more. To me that means they were blessed. You were blessed to have a category 1 hurricane which spared your home. If that is not comforting think of Katrina. Think of the damage those people are STILL trying to overcome. So, yeah, you in Jersey or NY, it wasn't a big deal. So you had to change your weekend plans. No big deal. That's a good thing because whereas everything else in your life has to be a big deal when it comes to disasters you don't want it to be big.




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