I live in southern Connecticut, an area usually immune from extreme weather events. We get an occasional hurricane, usually the tail end as a storm meanders up the Atlantic coast. Occasionally, it’s a serious one — like Hurricane Sandy in 2012 — and it does real damage, but these have always been rare. We used to lose power a few times a year. Usually, it was just for a few hours. Our typical four-season weather does not cause flooding, droughts, mudslides, earthquakes, or tornados.
Recently though, we got a blaring tornado warning on our phones, telling us to head for the basement for the next half-hour. In shock, we headed downstairs with our dogs. This is scary stuff! I can’t believe that people stay in areas that are frequently battered by weather disasters. They lose their homes in many different natural disasters, yet they rebuild, on the same spot, again and again. Don’t they realize that the Universe is sending a message and that message is “MOVE!” We weren’t hit by the tornado, just a bad storm, but rumor has it two neighboring towns did get a small tornado. They are very rare here.
I’m not brave. You wipe my house out once and I will get the message. I’m heading for safer terrain. We’re such wusses. After a hurricane or two with week long power outages, we put in a full-house generator. I’m not a “roughing it” kind of gal. The generator has earned its keep several times over.
I also don’t like camping or rustic cabins. One of my worst memories is a weekend family summer camp to which I went when my kids were young. We slept in a bare log cabin with bunk beds, a table, and a single light bulb. The communal bathroom was a long trek through the woods which was a root-filled obstacle course. Stumbling through the woods in the middle of the night with my eight-year-old daughter in tow was my definition of torture. I never forgave my ex -husband for insisting we try this “adventure” on Lake George.
Basically, I’m a spoiled city girl having lived there in Manhattan for my first 40-years. By now, I’ve lived in the suburban woods now for 30-years but it’s a civilized suburban woods.
In the city of New York, Nature rarely impinges on life. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 was a big exception to that. Blizzards regularly shut the city down, but all it means is you just can’t go anywhere. You’re safe though you might be stuck at home for a few days. It’s inconvenient but not life-threatening or even scary. Even Hurricane Sandy didn’t threaten the tall apartment buildings and brownstones in which most people reside in New York. Some streets flooded. A few cars were swept away. Most people were safe and sound. No loss of life, no major property damage, no rebuilding. That’s all foreign to me.
I do know someone who had a beach house in Connecticut which was partly destroyed in Hurricane Sandy, but she knew the risks when she bought beachfront property. She couldn’t afford to rebuild the house and it took her years to sell the damaged house. Not a great investment.
In my suburban rural area in Connecticut, I know someone whose house was hit by a falling tree during a hurricane. That’s the biggest danger we face in this neighborhood. Falling trees in storms are not uncommon in this heavily-treed area. My family built a house in this town in 1934 and has never had a direct hit. Our road has been blocked several times by fallen trees and the power lines have been pulled down regularly, but never any property damage or personal injury.
So we’ve been very lucky in escaping major storm damage over the years. A good part of that luck is because we live in a part of the country that isn’t regularly terrorized by Mother Nature. I think I’ll stay here the rest of my life. Three-months of winter is an acceptable trade-off for safety and peace of mind.
Times and the climate are changing. Let’s hope we manage to get things sorted out before it gets much worse.