Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Hurricane Sandy is devastating New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Flooding and winds and power outages and fires and snowstorms, all at once.
We get our share of bad weather here in Chicagoland, but nothing has rocked my world the way this storm is endangering millions of my fellow Americans.
If this had to happen, I'm glad it's happening now. For as hard as it is for people to be without heat, it's not as dangerous as being without air conditioning. You can always put more clothes on, but you reach a point where you can't take any more off. One of the greatest natural disasters in Chicago history doesn't get much attention because there was nothing to photograph. In 1995 we had a horrible heatwave here and 750 people died in just 5 days. That was a death every 10 minutes for five days. Most were the elderly or very young children, most died in their homes. They didn't have ac and lived in areas with such high crime that they were afraid to sit around with their front doors open. Milwaukee was hit very hard, too, and I suspect, under similar circumstances. (It always amazes me that no one who doesn't live here realizes how truly horrific it was -- click here for more.)
But just because Sandy could be worse doesn't mean it's not terrifying. Devastating.