August 16, 2004

Watery Weather

Ugh, I hate this weather. Yesterday evening it finally started to cool off a little, but the combination of heat and humidity prior to that was just plain uncivilized weather. Were I superstitious, I’d imagine this was punishment for telling Ryan and Derek that we were past the worst summer weather on Thursday. When it’s so humid that things start smelling musty of their own accord, that’s when I get antsy. Luckily, it isn’t like this for more than a handful of days each year in Southern New England. Thoughts of dry autumn air are keeping me going.

It doesn’t help that the flashing around our chimney seems to have failed and our roof developed a leak in the last rainstorm. Boy, is that annoying.

But I will take annoying any day over the destruction Charlie left in its wake. Here, we just got a soaking. There it’s over 11 billion dollars and lives lost. What never ceases to amaze me, in Florida or in Massachusetts, are the folks who do not evacuate when the authorities suggest it. What is it about hopping in the car and going elsewhere that is so distasteful to some that they’d rather risk getting sucked up in a tornado, spawned from the hurricane?

October, you can’t get here quick enough.

This weekend we had our first experience geocaching, which I will detail later. Today is a Museum of Science field trip with my daughter’s scout troop. So no more posts until we return.

Posted by James at August 16, 2004 8:17 AM
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Cool. I want to take Donna to the Museum of Science to see the new Lord of the Rings exhibit. But we can really only afford one "date" a month, and this month was Six Flags. Next month will be the Museum of Science. I'd like to do King Richards but I don't think I have a Saturday or Sunday off before they close.

Posted by: David Grenier at August 16, 2004 9:51 AM

Territoriality and fear of looting are some reasons why many people won't evacuate. Sometimes, even after the storm is over, people aren't allowed access to their homes right away because the area is still dangerous (downed power lines, trees and buildings are in danger of further collapse, etc.).

Shelters fill up quickly and hotels are expensive. (Gouging is illegal, but that doesn't stop some hotel owners from trying. Ditto gas stations.) Most of us could find relatives to stay with, but in Florida, many people are from out of state and don't have relatives for over a thousand miles.

Yes, I know none of these reasons are great. But some dangers and hassles seem more tangible to a person than others. More people have experienced theft than have experienced the destruction of their homes from extreme weather. Therefore, they can envision looting more easily than they can envision a situation where it's too dangerous to loot.

Of course, some people are just plain stupid. Before every hurricane, some hapless reporter gets sent to the area that's about to be hit and interviews a bunch of idiots sitting out on their porches to watch the show.

The next day, of course, the porches have been washed out or blown away.

Posted by: Julie at August 16, 2004 11:24 AM

I saw an AP photo of a house in FL on which the owner had spraypainted "U LOOT U DIE."

Posted by: Bil at August 16, 2004 1:03 PM

We in MA don't get hurricaines like they do in FL. Here, it's an event. I'm sure if they hit here with the ferocity they hit there, it would be a different story.

I clearly remember sitting on my landlord's porch during hurricane Bob, smoking cigars, drinking beer, looking through their wedding album...

Of course, hurricane Bob was a dud. Now Gloria, well, that was a hurricane. I was at Framingham State College then and the college decided we had to evacuate, so they sent us all home to where most of us lived--central MA. Coincidentally, that's where the hurricane hit.

I was upstairs in my bedroom sleeping when I awoke to hear my mother screaming at the top of her lungs. I rushed down into the living room and found her standing in front of the window that looks out into the back yard. A huge oak tree had come down and just missed crashing thorough that window--and onto my mother--by about 6". Very very unnerving.

I think it's the thrill of Nature's possible destruction that makes us keen on hurricanes here in NE.

Posted by: Patti M. at August 16, 2004 1:56 PM

LOL. I was at SMU (UMassD) for Gloria and of course they sent us home too. It wasn't crazy for them to think it would hit Dartmouth fairly hard since it's close to the coast. But as it happened, it hit Taunton (my parents' house) much harder than it did the SMU campus.

The thrill of Nature's destructiveness keeps people in Florida at home too (in addition to the looting concerns, which I believe are also more significant there than they are here). It's just surprising how badly some people underestimate how "thrilling" a hurricane can be. They sit out there on their porches watching the ocean, and then they're surprised when they suddenly get hit in the head by a windblown branch.

I have a coworker who says he was near Miami when Andrew came through. Their cat outside got blown up against the fence. His parents sent him outside to get the cat.

I guess it's a type of denial. Even when you see how bad it is, it just doesn't seem real.

On a final note - when we were waiting for Floyd to approach in 1999 or so, they were scaring the crap out of us with the predictions. They weren't telling us we needed to evacuate Orlando, but people were drilling holes in their masonry to board up their windows, etc. Businesses were being asked to close early if possible so that employees could go home and make preparations.

My employer left it up to the managers, and my manager was an asshole so we didn't get to go home (fortunately the building manager threw us out). I can imagine some people getting a late start on their evacuations or other preparations if they worked for jerks like the ones I worked for.

Posted by: Julie at August 16, 2004 2:53 PM

PS - Floyd turned out to be a dud. It barely brushed the coast, and all Orlando got was rain similar to what we're getting here now.

Posted by: Julie at August 16, 2004 2:56 PM

Ah, yes, stupid bosses. I believe it was 1987 when we had a whopper of a storm that shut down the state. The governor had declared a state of emergency, but of course, the Powers that Be at Shawmut Bank decided to let us go far too late in the day, and it took me FOREVER to get home.

I worked in downtown Worcester and lived on Main Street by Clark University. It's a long walk, especially in the snow (I worked near number 1 Main Street and lived around number 1000). Needless to say, the buses weren't running, so I grabbed a ride with someone who lived out by Coes Pond (even farther out than me), and by the time we got near Clark, we had been in the car for about an hour. I got out of the car and walked the rest of the way, with snow up to my knees. Thankfully, I had high boots on.

My sister worked for an insurance company near my office, and they also let their people out too late to save them from a hideous commute. The whole thing was a mess.

Memo to Big Cheeses: When the governor tells your to let your people out early, DO IT.

Posted by: Patti M. at August 16, 2004 4:06 PM

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