Editor's Note: We hope you enjoy this previously published Zola classic.
How Bad Was It?
I thought I was the biggest weather geek. Now I find out I have met my match.
I am one of those people who cannot get through a day without watching the weather at least once. I read about it in the paper most days too. They give out five day forecasts and I’m a quick learner, so why would I need an update every day?
Every day? Sometimes I’ll watch the weather included in News at Five and then watch it again during the 6 p.m. news. Nothing has changed, believe me, yet I do it anyway. I even ask those around me to be quiet so I can listen. The second time around I act like there will be a news flash update. Not bloody likely.
During storms there is a reason to check in often. This summer we had one evening where we got golf-ball sized hail for 45 minutes. That resulted in 22 cracks in our roof that had to be repaired. Another time we got 7.5 inches of rain in less than an hour. It’s been a summer of weird storms. The weather reporting helped me be prepared for those events. Or at least the best I could.
As Hurricane Irene approached I watched the weather extra closely for a few days, looking at their prediction models as the storm formulated in the southern Atlantic. I looked at the potential paths and I looked at the predicted wind speeds and made my decision. I decided this was going to pretty much be a non-event. Bad storm, yeah but REALLY bad storm? No. Hurricane and tropical storm, yeah. Category three and a repeat of Hurricane Katrina? No way.
Well, my friend and I debated. He was here visiting from out of town and kept tuning into the weather reports. He’s got a ship captain’s license so he knows a whole lot more about isobars and the paths of weather than I do. He used to live in Baltimore so he’s likely seen more hurricanes than I have. I’ve only officially been through one. That was Hurricane Gloria and I was visiting family with my husband. We were in Maine. We did the fill buckets with water thing and got all the candles, etc. ready. What a snoozer that was. I’d been in bigger thunderstorms in Wisconsin than that turned out to be. By the time it got to us it wasn’t any big deal at all. We didn’t even lose power for long. My feeling was this hurricane was going to be about the same as Gloria.
But the question is, if there is a chance for disaster do you take chances? I say no. Did the media need to hype it as much as they did? Probably not. But on the contrary if they had not, maybe not so many people would have listened. Being prepared is much better than getting caught and ending up in peril.
Did the hurricane do as much damage as it could have? Probably not. But if you’re living in the path of the violent flooding in Vermont that’s not the issue. And it’s not water over the dam. It’s water everywhere. Dangerous unrelenting water. Everywhere.