Hurricane Sandy, or “post-tropical storm Sandy” as the TV folks were calling her once she hit land in the Northeast, has come and gone and most of us here in New Hampshire are still standing.
The impact of the storm in the Granite State, while significant, was nothing when compared to New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. As many as 15 million Americans were impacted by the wrath of the 600-mile-wide storm, millions will be without power for as long as a week or more, and as of this writing 16 in the U.S. have tragically lost their lives.
Sitting in my family room early Monday evening, as the worst of it swept through Nashua, I had mixed emotions. I remember fondly the days of my childhood when my mother would open the overhead door and let us play in the garage during storms. I loved the feel of the wind as it blew the leaves across the driveway. When you are 6 years old, playing under the cover of the roof but within sight and feel of the storm, you feel very adventurous and brave.
Monday night, these memories drew me out onto the front porch, where I watched our neighbors trees sway and bend, leaves swirled in the air and rain blew almost sideways down the street. This was a more powerful storm than I recall from my childhood and I worried about family in other states where I know the impact was much greater. I still felt the rush of excitement that comes with a powerful burst of wind, but age and experience has dampened the excitement that used to come with it. I knew that morning would bring news of lives lost and property destroyed.
At the same time, I am struck by the fact that many fewer lost their lives in this storm than would have during a similar event 30 or 40 years ago. Science has advanced our ability to predict and track storms, we are better able to respond early and effectively and as a result lives are saved. Storms like Sandy are a good example of how government, charitable organizations and the private sector can come together and provide for the needs of our community.
Electronic communications have developed to a point where social media now plays a critical role in keeping people informed and connected. Facebook and Twitter were ablaze with updates, warnings and photos, keeping us connected to one another in a way we never imagined possible when we were children.
And, as is so often the case, I am especially impressed by my neighbors across New Hampshire. Nothing will ever replace the strength and comfort of human support. We look out for each other here in the Granite State, we reach out to neighbors in need, we are tightly connected in a very special way. Whether it is our Red Cross volunteers setting up cots and blankets in the high school, our first responders putting out a house fire in the middle of a hurricane or a neighbor simply checking on our well-being or grabbing a stray garbage can that’s rolling down the street through the storm, New Hampshire takes care of each other.
No matter what the weather, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
There are many opportunities for you to help those who are suffering in other states. Start by going to www.redcross.org. Stay updated on power outages here in New Hampshire at www.psnh.com. And stay in touch what’s happening in your community in relation to this and any future storms right here at Patch.