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The Storm of the Century?

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 29: Water rushes into the Carey Tunnel (previously the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel), caused by Hurricane Sandy, October 29, 2012, in the Financial District of New York, United States. Hurricane Sandy, which threatens 50 million people in the eastern third of the U.S., is expected to bring days of rain, high winds and possibly heavy snow. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the closure of all New York City will bus, subway and commuter rail service as of Sunday evening (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Growing up in Southern Illinois, I’ve seen more than my share of powerful storms. Most of us have a healthy respect for storms. Our nuclear weapons often pale in comparison to what “Mother Nature” can dish out. Any future nation that finds a way to control weather will definitely rule the world.

Sandy

Yesterday hurricane “Sandy” made landfall near New York City and set new records for high tides and flooding all along the eastern seaboard. The storm was so immense in size that it caused large waves on Lakes Michigan and Huron. To compound matters, Sandy ran head on into a cold front that resulted in massive snowfall in upper elevations of West Virginia.

Most of the US population lives inland and are not exposed to hurricane type storms. So it’s only natural that one of the things many people miss when watching hurricane coverage each year is that the huge waves and storm surges they are watching can do much more damage than just flooding. Why would hurricane flooding be more dangerous than say a flood along the Mississippi River? Two words — Salt Water. Salt water is extremely corrosive to electronics, machinery, vegetation, and other critical elements that slow the rate of recovery. Any water damage is serious but salt water is particularly harmful.

Disaster Relief

Most people would probably use Hurricane Katrina as the poster child for what not to do when it comes to disaster relief. In the movie “Die Hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard,” character Matt Farrell tells John McClane, “It took five days to get water to the Super Dome.” Is that correct? Who knows? But one thing is crystal clear; the news media gave a lot of coverage to whoever was not doing things fast enough. Will Sandy put the same kind of pressure on government seven days before a presidential election? I guess we’ll see over the next ten days or so.

Voter Turnout

Will Sandy have an effect on voter turnout? Only time will tell. Many people have already voted early by absentee ballot. How many are left is anyone’s guess. Will there be sufficient cleanup in time for voters to go to the polls? Voting machines, computers, the repair of damages, road repairs, restoration of mass transit, etc. might slow tallies and delay results. The big question — will a reduced voter turnout help Romney or Obama?

Some Final Thoughts

As Election Day draws near, both candidates have restricted their campaign appearances out of respect for those in the way of the storm. I’m sure great criticism will be directed at whoever resumes their campaign first. We can be thankful that the storm was not as powerful as Katrina or other very damaging storms. I wish a speedy recovery to all those affected by this disaster.

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