Ahead of the storm
Last week Hurricane Irene came ashore on the eastern half of the United States and made a direct hit on the New York City area. Thankfully, at least within the city itself, the hurricane wasn’t as ferocious as many had predicted that it would be.
Unfortunately, however, for some people in New Jersey (not too far from where I live) as well as others in Connecticut, Vermont and elsewhere across the region, Irene was devastating. In fact, two members of the LAU family were evacuated from their homes, several of us lost power, many of us had flooding and one of us had a 100-year-old-tree crash onto their house! Sorry about that, David.
In the days leading up to Irene I was struck by the amount of preparation that New York City and its residents took ahead of the storm. The massive public transportation system in and around the city—subways, buses, and the regional rail network—was shut down completely (for the first time in New York’s history) well before the storm hit. This was done not only to protect the system itself but also to prevent unnecessary travel and protect people from harm. Many apartment buildings had their gas lines preemptively shut down to protect them from being damaged during the storm and to make it easier to get them back online after it passed. The city’s airports and seaports were closed well ahead of time. People were encouraged to stock up on food, water and batteries to prepare themselves for what might come.
Ultimately Hurricane Irene resulted in the death of dozens of people in the US and billions of dollars in damages up and down the eastern portion of the US, but much of New York City—a metropolitan area with close to twenty million people—weathered the storm pretty well. Some of it was luck, some of it was geography, but it was also due to the impressive preparations taken ahead of the storm.
I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
Ben would be pleased by how the city handled this one.