C. Adam Pfander Photograph


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Batten Down the Hatches

October 29, 2012   

A tropical storm is on the way—bringing high winds and high water to Central New York.  Sandy is scheduled to hit the east coast hard over the coming days as it passes over New Jersey and blows inland.  The forecast for Clinton includes some light rain but plenty of wind, with gusts reportedly reaching top speeds of 50 miles per hour.  The storm’s internal barometric pressure – which dictates how “violent” it becomes – is approaching the same level as Long Island’s 1938 hurricane, whose effects were felt decades hence.

I cannot help but wonder what these next few days will bring.  Will Sandy, despite all the hype, turn out to be a mild inconvenience?  Will I just have to put a jacket on and move quickly between classes?  Or will this storm actually live up to, if not exceed, its reputation.  Potentially, trees and power lines could come down; walking to class could end up being a long, hard journey.  Will I resemble a weather reporter in a hurricane—leaning against the wind, clothes flapping, and hoping to get inside as soon as possible?

Just over one year ago, I was asking myself the same questions.  The summer was winding down, the days getting shorter, and I wanted to enjoy my remaining time at home in southern Vermont.  However, late August proved to be a disastrous month for the Green Mountain State.  Hurricane Irene dropped a continuous stream of rain, which flooded every stream and waterway.  Roads, bridges, whole towns, were washed away.  But the worst is that we never expected it.

I don’t think Hamilton is at terrible risk of suffering a disaster like Irene.  Being on the Hill, flooding is not a huge concern.  But these storms are notoriously unpredictable.  Will we lose power?  Will trees be falling?  Will bleachers on the field be tossed aside by wind?  My father asked me these questions earlier today.  My only response: “We will see….”