The East Coast was hit by both an earthquake and Hurricane Irene last week, which means in North Carolina, there isn’t a store to be found with either milk or bread remaining on the shelves. I’m surprised the media hasn’t jumped on that angle. They’ve pretty much driven every other theme into the ground.
There’s still debate over whether they overreacted to one or both incidents. I don’t know. Certainly, both caused damage and Irene caused numerous deaths, so it’s tough to deny that they deserved to be taken seriously. But there were also plenty of examples of giving them too much press.
California thinks we overreacted to the earthquake. This is monumental, because it’s probably the only time you’ll see me use the phrase “California thinks.” They had the audacity to mock us afterward, for allegedly panicking during and after the 5.8 earthquake, something they claim wouldn’t have bothered them at all.
I didn’t see examples of unjustified panic — I believe the people who have worked in the Pentagon for at least 10 years get a pass for becoming jumpy when the ground moves — and considering no one under the age of 67 had experienced anything like that on the East Coast, I’d say we handled ourselves with aplomb.
In fact, we were less afraid of the quake than California is of Happy Meals, so they can just shut their collective Apple Piehole as far as I’m concerned.
Even New York City got into the act, with an entrepeneurial tattoo artist offering a tongue-in-cheek “I survived the quake” tattoo, complete with an outline of the state of New York. The problem with that is, the quake didn’t take place in New York.
People there might have felt it, but its epicentre was near Mineral, Va. How that equates to a “New York City earthquake,” I don’t know — maybe the same way a hurricane bearing down on the Outer Banks of North Carolina equates to a need to immediately evacuate Manhattan. (Which I’m happy to report turned out to be nothing more than premature evacuation.)
In other words, New York has been behaving as expected — as usual, they’ve taken something owned by southerners and claimed it as their own. Damned carpetbaggers.
But the strangest fish out of water that I saw was during the Friday night preliminaries to Irene’s landfall, when the news stations were running their warnings full-tilt. We heard from the President, various governors, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Yes, I know my civics and I understand that her department handles disaster preparedness, but it was still weird to see her urging people to follow storm evacuation orders. I’d rather know she’s dealing with terrorist cells than with low-pressure cells. Unless it’s threatening to produce heavy winds and suicidal jihadists, she can probably keep a low profile during anything less than a Category 3.
Still, we kept watching and we heeded all the warnings. Which, for the central part of the state, were few. I kept a flashlight by the bed and listened to the rain and wind pick up thoughout the night, finally moving to a separate room during the wee small hours.
This was my traditional, morbid take on not putting all the eggs (or both the eggs, as it were) in one basket — I wanted to increase the odds of at least one parent surviving a tree through the roof, so the boys wouldn’t have to wake up to an ugly discovery. (I haven’t forgotten that bitch Fran.)
We stayed inside Saturday and hoped for the best for our loved ones and others on the N.C. coast as Irene came ashore. We watched the updates on actual damage there, played almost as afterthoughts between updates on NYC’s preparations for damage that might not occur.
Then I caught this gem while perusing the online warnings and watches: “Special Weather Statement from 9:09 – 10:45 … Numerous showers with gusty winds continued over parts of central North Carolina due to Hurricane Irene… At 900 am…National Weather Service Doppler radar indicated scattered to numerous showers continuing over central North Carolina…mainly from Sanford and Pittsboro north to the Triangle…Roxboro and Henderson. These showers will produce a quick quarter to half inch of rain in 15 minutes or less…with winds gusts to 30 to 35 mph. Gusty winds with showers will produce isolated downed trees due to the wet ground. This can result in isolated downed power lines. Do not go near any downed power line. Also…use caution when travelling this morning due to gusty winds and occasional heavy rain. Drive more slowly to avoid hydroplaning.”
I honestly don’t know what to think of this. First, if “9:09” wasn’t a typo, then the NWS has become really good at specifics. I’m also not familiar with the phrase, “Special Weather Statement.” Normally I see this type of thing categorized as either a “Watch” or a “Warning.” I guess this one qualified as neither; it’s really nothing more than a description. A laughable description, in fact.
I’m sorry, but “numerous showers” and “gusty winds” aren’t really that big of a deal. Plus, it’s only common sense to drive more slowly during heavy rain, and as for staying away from downed power lines? Been onboard with that since I was five, thanks.
This special statement was plain ol’ sensationalism — our situation isn’t as dangerous, but let’s pretend it is. It’s as if the entire eastern seaboard — as well as regions quite safely inland — wanted to take the spotlight away from those who really were impacted. One big case of Irenish Envy.
Thanks, but I’m fine with letting them have the spotlight. They suffered through this; they need the attention. There’s no need to keep up with the Joneses; how about we have some empathy for the Joneses instead?
Even though my family suffered damage to our house…
…I’m pretty sure we’ll get over it. We’re probably going to sell it at the next community yard sale, anyway. As for the people who were actually hurt by Irene, who knows? Please keep them in your thoughts.
Meanwhile, here’s hoping California mocks the crap out of New York City this week….