Here we go again.
Thursday and Friday, we were treated to Exploding Meteorologists on the tube as they talked about Sandy, the hurricane that’s supposed to turn into some kind of mutant monster before it gets here Sunday night.
OK, there’s going to be a lot of rain and wind. And if you live near the beach, or in the suburbs, you need to batten down the hatches and prepare. But for the city, it will be like a thousand other storms with no name and no press agent that have hit us before.
In 1985, Hurricane Gloria struck the city on what was supposed to be a normal workday. I headed into work that day. Later in the morning, my wife called me and asked me to come home.
“Is the power out?” I asked.
“No, the lights are on.”
“Are there any broken windows?”
Then leave me alone, I thought, but being newly-married, I said something nicer.
I had had other issues that year, and I didn’t want to skip out from work unless something was terribly wrong, and Gloria did not qualify as ‘terrible,’ at least not to me. Fortunately, most of my colleagues were out that day: I was tasked to run a couple of errands, and then I could go home. But the subways were running normally, and when I got home a little after 1:00 pm, my wife and I went out for a walk under blue skies, looking at a couple of trees in the neighborhood that had been blown down.
As I write this on Saturday night, the city has not ordered an evacuation, but the MTA is talking about shutting down public transport starting at 7:00 pm tomorrow. Not they’ll necessarily do it, but they’re thinking about it.
Before Irene hit in 2011, the city had never ordered an evacuation, and there was never a total shutdown of public transport. Yes, some bus and train lines would get shut down in heavy snow or rain, but until 2011, the idea of an organized shutdown was unthinkable. And now we’re thinking about these things again.
When did we get so wimpy about bad weather?