Storms provide reminders
Residents of America’s hurricane-stricken regions will experience growing impatience and frustration as the days and weeks ahead drag on, some of those residents having to deal with damaged or devastated homes, others without the everyday conveniences of electrical service, water that’s safe to drink and operational sanitary sewer systems.
Many residents are destined not only to spend countless more hours than already have been expended engaged in cleanup work, but also in navigating the tasks and legalities of putting their lives and properties back together in some semblance of the way in which they had been living before the horrific storms struck.
For people of the stricken regions, hearing the names Harvey and Irma will forever resurrect all-too-vivid memories of the nightmarish horrors, hardships, challenges and life-threatening conditions they were forced to endure.
The stricken areas could be facing a decade or more of recovery efforts.
Consider that the flood-ravaged Johnstown area in 1977 required about five years of flood-repair work, and that disaster was of a much smaller geographical scope than what Harvey and Irma inflicted on Texas, Florida and nearby states.
Meanwhile, pity those who never will fully recover from the loss of a family member or friend in the storms.
In reflecting on the two storms and the days of preparation in advance of their arrival, it must be acknowledged that almost all that government leaders and other officials could have done was done in trying to avert much greater tragedies.
Even the evacuation orders that some people, in the storms’ aftermath, might have judged as an overreaction, because they themselves escaped a major impact and major damage, should not have been criticized, because they were based on the best scientific models and data available.
Meanwhile, skimping on caution could have been disastrous.
All of that said, it must be acknowledged that Harvey and Irma doled out lessons and reminders that people of this region need to keep in mind, even though this region isn’t usually threatened with the kinds of serious weather events that the past couple of weeks have produced in the South.
Again, the best advice is to be over-prepared, not under-prepared, when serious weather events are forecast.
Have a plan for dealing with the emergency while at home. Likewise, no community should be without an approved emergency-response plan at its fingertips.
While people should know how to access valuable possessions quickly for the purpose of saving them, leaders of all communities should know how to access immediately their first-response capabilities.
As for obligations during whatever the weather emergency, the most important is to heed the advice geared toward ensuring safety and preventing injuries and loss of life.
When a storm is bearing down, no one ever should consider himself or herself invincible.
Suffering in the wake of Harvey and Irma likely would be much worse now, if excellent decision making had not prevailed prior to and during the storms.
People of the stricken states should acknowledge that, even amid the frustration and impatience that lies before them.