Monday, October 29, 2012

Imagine if we had no warning...

Mother Nature is one powerful mama.  On your knees people!  Thank her for the warmth, sunshine and beautiful days.  Thank her for the rain.  Respect her when she's angry.  Show her some love and understanding.  She's trying to teach you.  Listen up!

If you live on the East Coast, you are probably feeling like an insolent child right now with her wrath fully upon you.  You may be wondering just what the hell you did to piss her off.  Perhaps you are lamenting "Why me?  Why us?  Why here?  Why now?"  The storm named Sandy, much like a hormonal teenager, that morphed into a hybrid larger than life and worthy of weather horror fame is hours from making landfall in NJ.  Her impact is felt from the Carolinas to the Canadian Border to Bermuda AT THE SAME TIME.  It's unprecedented.  It's the strongest storm in terms of low pressure ever recorded north of the Carolinas.  It's a big deal meteorlogically and a really big deal to those who are impacted by her fury.  There is rain, wind, snow and coastal flooding of epic proportions.  Some people will lose their 'stuff', some will lose their homes, some will lose their lives.  Many already have from her birth in the Caribbean.

The hard core meteorologists began 'talking up' the possibility of this very scenario a week ago.  They were clear to say it's too early to say exactly what will happen, but if the 'worst case' verifies, time was of the essence to prepare.  Some people took it to heart.  They made plans.  They did their shopping.  They stocked their emergency kits and obtained generators or made plans to evacuate somewhere safe if directly in harms way.  They didn't panic.  They didn't disregard the possibility.  They took heed.  Kudos to them!  I am a fan of informed decision making.  Preparation and planning prevents accidents or at least minimizes them and saves lives.

Many other people accused the media and the meteorologists (who are scientists) of 'hype' for ratings and of trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.  Before you dis them for getting paid to be 'wrong', I'd like to see you try to understand it and predict it accurately!  Those same people who accused them of hyping the storm may well be now surrounded by flood waters without electricity and unable to be rescued because they ignored their mandatory evacuation orders. The mountain turned out to be even larger than the meteorlogical world anticipated!

Weather is powerful.  It can be beautiful.  It can also be deadly.  Water kills more people than any other weather phenomena.  I've always been fascinated by the weather.  Both in it's beauty and it's force.  It is one that must be respected at all times.

I can't help but wonder what it must have been like when storms like this happened before there was the technology to predict it days in advance.  Can you imagine heading to work in the morning in Atlantic City and coming home to epic flooding in the entire city with no warning and your shore side home gone?!

We're so fortunate to have the wealth of technological instruments, computer models, historical data and the collective scientific intelligence to interpret it all and made surprisingly accurate forecasts given the fact they are dealing with the ATMOSPHERE and all of the influences on it at any given point.  We must remember they are not perfect.  They are models.

We're also fortunate to have TV, radio and now Twitter, Facebook and smartphones at our fingertips where we can literally instantly share information.  This not only helps keep the public informed but can also make for more accurate forecasts, and when it's over, the analysis can only  help improve their understanding of the science going forward.

We should be grateful for those who work tirelessly to keep the public informed and safe. Not only those who predict the weather, but those first responders and officials who are there in the horrible weather helping to keep people safe.  Even the ones who didn't take the threat seriously and found themselves in 'trouble'.  While countless others were enjoying a 'snow day' off of work, they pulled double shifts to clear debris, restore power and keep people informed and safe.  They will continue to do so for days and in some cases weeks, long after we, on the fringes, have gone back to our daily lives while some people are trying to figure out how to take another step because they've literally lost everything to the power of Mother Nature.

I wish there were more respect for everyone in the world.  That's a whole other rant.  For today, I hope you are thankful for your officials, media and first responders for the work they do today and every day.  Today there was little banter about who is a better candidate.  Today, it was as it should be.  Everyone with genuine concern for their fellow man and working together to share information and keep the public safe.

Here's to science and cooperation!

So many lessons to be learned from mothers, don't you think?

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