Monday, August 29, 2011

The Big Hype of Irene's Visit to New York City

Irene visited New York City and decided that there was nothing for her to do there. So she moved on. That was a good idea on her part. But now people are complaining that the storm was "over-hyped" by officials and media. Was it over-hyped? I guess it depends on who you ask. Certainly New York City and other places along the eastern coastal areas could have had much more damage. Many people feel that they had no real reason to evaculate. Well...

Here in the Houston-Galveston area we have seen the good the bad and the ugly of Hurricanes. We've been told to evacuate. We've been stuck on vehicle clogged roads for hours. We have hunkered down and stayed home. Yeah, it is a pain to have to leave. But what is the alternative? We know all too well.

We remember Katrina, Rita, and Ike. We lived through them and learned. The state of Texas figured out how to get people out of harm's way in a timely manner. Yes, it wasn't easy. But we learned from our mistakes. We've seen the force a storm can bring. Allison was only a tropical storm. In and out, right? No, she decided to stay and flood much of Houston. The world famous medical center lost millions of dollars worth of valuable research. The Houston Symphony was babdly damaged. Even cell phones didn't work. But we learned what to change for our protection.

We watched, as did the world, as Katrina obliterated New Orleans. We watched as thousands of people there died. Bad planning? Some say yes. The federal government didn't act fast enough or had no idea what to do first. Now they know. We watched the Houston Mayor Bill White get in touch with "can do" people. The Astrodome was set up to take care of the hundreds of people escaping from New Orleans. Some skeptics said it couldn't be done. Houston did it. We learned what to do and how to do it.

I remember being one of the "lucky" ones during Ike. We lost electicity, but we still had water. Because our water heater was gas we could still take showers. We learned how to cope with no power for nine days. We watched as electric company trucks from across the country rolled into town after the hurricane. We watched as people worked together to get this area back up and running. Sure there were problems and some people and places have yet to be fixed for a lot of reasons. But we are still learning.

Yeah, maybe the Hurricane Irene was not as bad as was predicted. Those mayors and governors may have been over cautious, thus over-hyping the scope of the disaster. But tell that to those who lost loved ones. Tell that to the people who have flooded homes or destroyed homes. I know that your vacations may have been ruined and you have had to scramble to get where you need to go. You are losing patience because it may be days before you can get a flight out of town. You have problems with hotels. Your vacation is ruined and your patience is waning. You didn't get to see that Broadway play that you waited months to get tickets. New Yorkers got off easy. Trust me. You are thinking that this was all a bunch of pontificating for nothing. Maybe...until the next time. Then you will be glad you were told to evacuate.