When Will We Be Next?

The superstorm hurricanes of the past two weeks, Harvey and Irma, that have ravaged the southern part of our country, have made us all aware of two things.

First, climate change is for real. The record rainfall that inundated Houston and the winds that obliterated the U.S. Virgin Islands and other islands in the Caribbean within such a short span of time are unprecedented and played out exactly as scientists have been telling us such storms would for the past 15 (and more) years. Climate change is not creating new weather, but it is heightening the effects of natural disasters.

Second, as we have watched in real time the devastation wrought by these storms, it makes us realize that it is only a matter of time before we are next. Superstorm Sandy three years ago wreaked havoc a few hundred miles to our south, but we in this area were largely unscathed. Winter storm Nemo in February, 2013 dumped a huge amount of snow and knocked out power for a few days, but once again, it was not life-changing for us. And the Snowmageddon winter of 2015 was difficult to deal with, but in the end, proved to be just inconvenient.

However, imagine a winter nor’easter similar to the Blizzard of ‘78 — but of an order of magnitude similar to that of the Houston floods or Irma’s wrath — and the image becomes scary.

The time is now to take pre-emptive action, both at all levels of government and individually. Engineers have to tell us how to be ready for these superstorms and government needs to spend the money necessary to prepare for them.

As for ourselves, about all we can do is buy a generator and be ready for a power outage that could last for more than a week mid-winter.

During the past two weeks, we have seen the future — and it is not pretty.

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