In midst of disaster is good fortune
The news emerging from Superstorm Sandy, also nicknamed “Frankenstorm,” is grim.
Millions of people in the eastern part of the nation remain without power after the storm plowed into a wide swath of the East Coast Monday and spread inland Tuesday, causing widespread flooding and destruction from high winds. Once inland, it collided with a cold storm front and dropped large amounts of snow in some areas.
It was a record-breaking natural disaster and the recovery from it could cost tens of billions of dollars, in addition to causing sustained inconvenience and misery. The aftermath will be felt for a long time
But even in the midst of such tragic events, there is some good news too.
Any deaths are to be mourned, but the death toll so far has been small considering the magnitude of the event and the huge population centers impacted by it. It could have been much worse.
The reason there weren't more deaths is the early and well-defined warnings about the impending arrival of the monster storm which allowed the local authorities to take necessary precautions and evacuate people from the areas likely to be the worst hit. It is a tribute to the expertise of the weather forecasters and to the increased accuracy of weather models used to predict storms. There is no doubt the weather people got this one right.
As always in these types of events, some refused to heed the warnings. That is an unfortunate aspect of human nature. But most officials were firm in the warnings and orders, so many did listen and make the needed preparations and evacuations. It made a difference.
Much needs to be done in the coming days and weeks and there may be some inevitable unhappiness and scrabbling in the aftermath as people forget how fortunate they have been to avoid a greater calamity. Again, that is an unfortunate aspect of human nature.
But those of us looking at it from afar realize this could have been much worse, at least in terms of the loss of life, had there not been good warnings and forecasting.