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Thursday, May 11, 2006
Sounding the alarm

Months ago, when Hurricane Katrina hit, I read an article in the New Yorker that reported New York City as being behind ONLY Miami and NEW ORLEANS on the list of U.S. cities most likely to suffer from a major hurricane disaster. In 1938, the Long Island Express, a category 4 hurricane, ripped through NYC and caused widespread death and devastation throughout the area. The article warned readers that should a hurricane like this hit our area (which, according to the statistics that storms of this magnitude repeat every 70 years or so, is very likely soon) we're going to get screwed. According to Mike Lee, the Director of Watch Command at New York City's Office of Emergency Management, while no human or computer can ever be completely sure what a hurricane is going to do, a worst-case scenario for New York City is the kind of scenario "that gives emergency managers serious gastrointestinal distress".

A storm surge prediction program used by forecasters called SLOSH (Sea, Lake, and Overland Surge from Hurricanes) has predicted that in a category 4 hurricane, John F. Kennedy International Airport would be under 20 feet of water and sea water would pour through the Holland and Brooklyn-Battery tunnels and into the city's subways throughout lower Manhattan. The report did not estimate casualties, but did state that storms "that would present low to moderate hazards in other regions of the country could result in heavy loss of life" in the New York City area.

I added the info to the filing folders in my head. It made for great conversation during the time when we were all talking about Katrina, but haven't thought much about it since. Yesterday while I was working out at the gym, however, I was watching CNBC and learned that the alarm has been sounded. Scientists are warning government officials that a hurricane may hit our area soon and that they better get their acts together and have an evacuation plan.

Frightening thought. When I told my father of what I heard he shook his head and said a hurricane would never devastate NY. "Where would we evacuate to anyway?" he asked. Which is exactly what New Orleans residents must have thought when their alarm had been sounded. We were ridiculing them here up north; "what is wrong with them that they stayed despite all the warnings? They should have just picked up and left". And now here we are, alarms having been sounded, and we're thinking the same way. All I know is that someone better have a plan.

Egypt has never looked more appealing than right now.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 8:26 AM
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Who: Carmen

xx-something egyptia-yorker who's spent over half her life stuck in two worlds not of her own making. unable and unwilling to fully embrace one identity over the other, she created (is trying to create) her own place in the world where people love each other unconditionally, irrespective of artificial boundaries, and where dancing merengue is as necessary to life as breathing air.

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