Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hey, New Yorkers: Take The Hurricane Warning Seriously

By Manifesto Joe

I've been through four hurricanes and two tropical storms. Don't take any warnings about this sort of thing lightly.

The one I'm thinking of is when I was 14, and it wasn't expected to be that much. It gained strength spectacularly just off the Gulf Coast, and then came in. It was officially called a Category 3 hurricane after the fact. At the time, people measured the gusts at 160 mph, more like a Category 4. Later, the official measure was lower, but it was quite enough.

I never saw anything like it before, and I hope I never do again. Fortunately, we were riding the thing out in a very strong house, and we had boarded the place up as much as one does with a routine hurricane. Things were going down all around us. Power lines, garages, houses -- collapsing. The eye passed over us, so then there was a long lull in the middle -- a deathly calm.

Then the worst part came. The second "half" was more like two-thirds of the storm. It seemed like it would never end.

Then we spent about a week digging our way out of the ruins. No power (in August in South Texas), only the water we had drawn, food out of cans. A little help from the Red Cross and FEMA.

A direct hit on Manhattan would be a calamity. Take this seriously.

Correction: FEMA as we know it now didn't exist until the late 1970s. There was federal aid coming to the area then, but it had to have been under different auspices. We didn't lose our home, so of course we didn't ask for any.

1 comment:

Jack Jodell said...

A good word to the wise, Joe. Dismissive Americans can become dead Americans very quickly! The same holds true for twisters...