Monday, August 29, 2011

Rant #569: Goodbye, Irene

So Hurricane Irene came and went. I know that a lot of people in a lot of areas got hit really hard by the storm, but in my neck of the woods, save a couple of tree branches that broke away and fell to the ground on my property, we had nothing.

And I mean nothing.

Sure, we had lots of wind and rain, but we really didn't have anything I haven't seen 100 times before.

And by the way. we live about a mile from the Great South Bay.

Surrounding areas did get hit. I know that in Lindenhurst, Long Island, people were getting around by using boats. And these are on streets that usually have only automobile transportation.

Other areas, like Freeport and parts of Queens, got hit really bad, with new canals formed on what were at one time busy thoroughfares.

In Brooklyn, the news showed video of my late grandmother's old apartment building on Ocean Parkway and Cortelyou Road. Several large trees fell on this property.

Mass transit in New York City was shut down completely, and rail service was shut down in the suburbs.

Some people lost electricity, and haven't yet gotten it back.

Certainly others suffered in the New York area, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been.

Not that I have a crystal ball or anything, but I kind of figured this.

As I previously mentioned in another Rant, my family and I were vacationing in Florida when Hurricane Charley hit. I remember the pitch blackness of the night, and the loudness of the wind and rain that were pummeling where we were staying.

I experienced none of this with Hurricane Irene, which, when it finally got to my neck of the woods, had been downgraded to a tropical storm.

It reminded me of what we had when my son was bar mitzvahed nearly three years to the day of the coming of Hurricane Irene. There was lots of wind and rain, but not much else.

But I swear to you, the people made it worse.

I went shopping in Friday evening after work, and it was as tumultuous as I have ever seen it in the supermarket. Normally, I shop on Saturday morning, but I had to work on Saturday and we were supposedly having a small get together with some relatives to celebrate my son's 16th birthday (which I mentioned was on the same day as last week's earthquake).

This was cancelled, of course, but not knowing this at the time, I did my shopping that night.

There were literally hundreds of people shopping in the supermarket that night. You couldn't move in the aisles.

And you couldn't get water or bread or milk that evening.

People started buying up these things earlier in the week, and by Friday night, there was nothing to be had.

Funny, I was on the line waiting to check out, and I found a carton of bottled water laying in the carts they use to put things back that people take but they end up not buying. So I grabbed the carton and put it into my cart. Almost immediately, some guy runs over to me and asked me where I got it from. I told him that he was out of luck, as I got it from the pile of items that were to be returned to the shelves. He ran away in disgust.

People panic. They really do.

And who do you blame for this? Why, the media.

The media has a job to cover this weather event, but I think they overdo it a bit. Wall to wall coverage, like we got beginning on Friday and running throughout the weekend, is a bit much, especially for a weather system that really didn't do a whole lot of damage in most areas of the New York metropolitan area.

Yes, it did wreak havoc in many areas. But in most areas, there was just a lot of wind and rain.

To devote something like 48 hours straight of coverage like this gets people into the crazy mode, and I think people were getting crazy on Friday night.

Do you really need all of these provisions? And if something really bad happened, how long do you think you were going to be able to drink those several containers of milk that you bought? Remember, no electricity equals no refrigeration equals spoiled milk.

Again, I am not lessening the horrible damage that the hurricane caused both in the New York metropolitan area and south of this area. I saw some pictures and video, and it really was horrible.

There were even some deaths.

But I am happy to say that where I am, the damage was minimal.

But you would think that the apocalypse was right around the corner by the way some people behaved.

And I hear that after the next storm, which I think is called Jose, peters out in the Atlantic Ocean, there is another storm that is started to rev up by the coast of Africa that weather forecasters are keeping their eyes on.

And its name will presumably start with the letter "K," just like Katrina did.

Oh, woe is me. Will we have more of this frenzy if and when that becomes something to worry about?

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