2017-09-13 / Columns


The bad and good of Hurricane Irma
Ledger Publisher

Have you ever been through anything like the residents of Texas and Florida have endured during the past month?

And what they will continue to deal with in the foreseeable future?

Not only those who live in the Irma and Harvey affected areas of those states, but millions of others in states bordering Texas and Florida have suffered. And the islands of the Caribbean.

As we watch the devastation on TV or on the Internet, we see flooded buildings and wind damage that is almost impossible to believe.

We breathe a sigh of relief that we were spared and go on with our daily lives.

I feel a bit guilty for thinking as I do at times: “Sure am glad it’s them, not us.”

I thought that Monday when one of my co-workers stopped by the office to tell me he might be a bit late coming to work Tuesday.

“Our power is out and Duke says it won’t be back on until Tuesday morning some time.”

After he left, I called home to check our power status. Good news! Power on!

Tuesday morning I got a call from a newspaper colleague in Georgia.

“Can you print our papers this week? We and a million others in this area are without power and don’t expect it back on for days.”

I’ve been in a similar position due to equipment issues, so I kind of understand their angst.

Of course, I agreed to his request but at the same time thanked my lucky stars it was not me on the other end of the call for help.

For any business that has deadlines to meet, disruptions in the manufacturing and delivery process can create havoc.

I cannot begin to imagine what those who were flooded out or blown away are experiencing. Compared to that, worrying over a loss of power for a few days seems a bit trivial.

One good thing about Irma was that I got to spend some time with my daughter and her family, who evacuated from Goose Creek. Although the storm veered away from the South Carolina coast, there was some flooding, beach erosion and wind damage in our state and especially along the coast.

They were concerned about trees falling on their house and/or losing power. They have have some really BIG pines in their yard. Big enough to smash it. Also, they didn’t want to take chances on the storm’s path changing and getting caught up in really heavy last-minute evacuation traffic.

Better safe than sorry.

Speaking of evacuations, how would you handle spending days in a shelter with hundreds of strangers?

I doubt I would be a happy camper…make that evacuee.

Based on news coverage I’ve seen, most of the people affected have handled it pretty good. Better than I would.

I did see video of some looters. Low lifes. Bad enough to steal during good times, but during a hurricane? Come on. Punishment should be more severe for crimes committed during an emergency.

Those who had to leave pets behind must have felt just horrible. Horrible I tell you.

I think my wife would rather risk her life than leave any of ours behind. She has such a soft spot in her heart for all animals, especially hers.

Like Monday night. One of her dogs stays outside. Most of the time. During thunder storms or frigid weather, she lets him in. But he’s a cat killer and we have a cat, so she locks the cat up in one room or another while Wyatt enjoys his time inside.

She decided to let him in last night and put Oreo in the laundry room.

“Why?” I asked.

“He’s cold.”

It was 60 degrees outside.

“Well, he’s scared.”

No thunder, no lightning. A little wind and rain.

He got in despite my misgivings.

Oreo got out. Wyatt almost got to him but our evacuees saved the day.

Unlike Irma, that disaster was averted.

The first rule of hurricane coverage is that every broadcast must begin with palm trees bending in the wind. — Carl Hiaasen

Cody Sossamon (cody@gaffneyledger.com) is publisher of The Gaffney Ledger.

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