A Year of Natural Disasters (As Told by My Planner)
This coming week marks one year since we had wildfires here near my home. For some reason this popped into my head the other day. Then, after thinking about it, I realized that we’ve had a full year of natural disasters. In most cases, there wasn’t a lot of damage, and in the one case where there was, I personally had no damage. So, even though it’s been a year of weather-related things, I count my blessings that it wasn’t worse.
Keeping track of random information in my planner is a good way to look back and see what events have taken place. The weather is something that I jot down every day, even when it’s as mundane as “sunny; 53 degrees.” And upon reflecting about all that has happened, that’s exactly what I did—I took out my past year’s inserts to see the timeline.
Starting with the fires last year on April 9, 2012:
The fire started on a Monday. Last year at this time, we had unusually high temperatures and a lot of wind. And because we didn’t have any snowfall during the winter, the ground was very dry. I remember that day; we were under a fire warning because of the dry heat. On my way to a doctor’s appointment, I saw the smoke. On the way back from the doctor’s office, I drove through the smoke. For the rest of the day, I could smell it and see it. And while people were evacuating their homes, I prepared what I might need in case we needed to evacuate as well. That didn’t happen, thankfully, and the fire was contained in a little over 24 hours. Thankfully, no one was killed; there was only one injury reported, a fireman had burns to his face. Some homes and property were damaged but thankfully, it wasn’t worse.
These past few days, we have been under another fire warning because the winds have been high. And although we got a lot of snow in one storm (see below), we have not had a good steady rainfall in a long time. Tomorrow the temperatures are supposed to climb, so we’re seeing a little bit of a repeat from last year.
On August 10, 2012, there was a tornado in the town where I work.
From what I remember, there was some damage to a few homes, but again, no one was hurt. I do remember sitting at my desk and hearing the vents on the roof rattle. I was in my office alone (I share it with four other people) and hearing them shake the way they did was eerie.
On Monday, October 29, 2012, we experienced Hurricane Sandy.
You may recall this event, as there was a lot of damage in New York City and the suburbs just beyond—flooding, houses being washed away, people left with no homes. Some of those people are still trying to get back on their feet. Here, we had no official damage. (We did lose a lot of roof shingles, resulting in the need for a new roof, but there were no leaks, no additional damage.) We did prepare for the storm, as we knew it was coming and that it would be bad. Where I live, though, our most difficult issue was obtaining gas after the storm. However, we weathered that issue just fine.
Finally, just this past February 6, we were hit with a blizzard.
There wasn’t really damage with this storm, just a ton of snow which we were digging out from for days. Cars were stranded on the road, it took days for some roads to be cleared, and some people were trapped in their homes for up to three days after the storm. But again, thankfully, no one was injured from the storm itself, though there were reports of a few deaths due to heart attacks while shoveling. In case you missed it, you can read more about our experience with this storm.
There was also a small earthquake that we had here on the entire east coast. Technically, that’s not a part of my year of natural disasters since it took place on August 23, 2011. But it’s still noteworthy.
The earthquake started in Virginia and traveled up the entire east coast, being felt as far north as Canada. Only minor injuries and damage were reported. But again, I remember that day too. I was in the staff room at work eating lunch when we noticed a plant on the table was shaking. Then, it felt as though my chair were vibrating. It wasn’t anything more serious—it stopped soon after. But of course, not being accustomed to earthquakes on the east coast, everyone was in panic/drama mode. The phone lines were all of the sudden in use and people didn’t stop talking about it for hours—days in some cases—telling their story about their experience.
Hopefully we will be done with natural disasters for a while. It seems that they are becoming more frequent and with greater impact. Either way, I will continue to keep track of all the weather happenings in my trusty Filo, where I can look back on all of these events and more that have taken place in my lifetime.