"Goodnight Irene"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The East Coast could not wait to say, “Goodnight Irene,” and what a storm it was. Damage estimates are still escalating and expected to perhaps top any natural disaster in the past. I watched as the storm terrorized the East Coast. So many of the areas in its path were familiar to me from my travels in the various areas, and we had family members threatened.

The first day, the Weather Channel devoted 10 minutes each hour, and soon most of the major news channels began to join in. By the second day, it was confirmed the storm would impact the East Coast. It had hit Puerto Rico, leaving a large amount of damage as it headed toward our mainland.

As the storm came ashore on day three, weather and news reporters began discussing how bad its impact would be. Past storms recalled included the 1938 one, the most devastating on record along the East Coast. The many nor’easters were also recounted. On the fourth day, the second-guessing was over as damage reports from North Carolina and Virginia were described.

TV coverage showed areas like Atlantic City’s boardwalk that had never before totally shut down and boarded up. The storm was leaving a trail of damage as tornados were spun off of it. Speculation ran high about what would happen when it arrived in New York City. That city’s mayor took extraordinary measures to ensure his citizens’ safety by ordering hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers from low-lying areas to evacuate.

As the storm continued, rain became the worst danger as it swelled every waterway the storm visited. New York had little damage, but when the storm hit Connecticut flooding became a serious issue, with every river and creek overflowing its banks into crowded neighborhoods. The storm kept heading north into the state of Vermont, with its hills and mountains. By this time, runoffs were beyond control, bridges and roads were swept away, leaving entire towns stranded without power or communications.

While I continue to watch the aftermath coverage of the storm, the damage and death counts continue to rise. Bloomberg’s online Businessweek quoted New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie as he bluntly ordered: “Get the hell off the beach.”

They noted his remarks after the storm passed. “I want to make one thing really clear for the folks who will now say, ‘Well, there wasn’t abject destruction up and down the coastline, and therefore we shouldn’t have left.’ Let me tell you, those types of second-guessers won’t be tolerated. We saved lives.”

I sure wish he was running the country instead of New Jersey.

Coverage has now turned to finding funding to restore the massive areas of damaged infrastructure which can only mean JOBS – WORK. They may not be cushy jobs behind a desk, but there will be plenty of them. Those on government funding should be required to sign up for the work needed to be done if they are physically fit. It should not matter what their rank or degree held is. If they don’t apply they should lose their federal assistance for good. They need to get off the couch, turn off the electronic toys and go to work. As bad as this natural disaster was, it can provide a benefit if it puts people to work who are draining our resources.

As I see it, many of us who helplessly watched as Irene threatened, then struck, with such deadly force were grateful our family and friends in its path were spared. It’s hard to believe the hurricane season has yet to reach its peak, which is mid-September.



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