Natural Disasters

Out of all the readings we had to do this week, I could relate the most to What They Don’t Tell You About Hurricanes by Philip Gerard. I really liked his writing style and how he incorporated humor in his essay. The beginning started with a play on words stating “First it’s whether. As in Weather Channel…They can’t tell. The experts. We’ve been through this before” (Gerard 223). I feel like everyone can relate to the unpredictable weather, especially in New England. The weather can change from being hot and sunny to freezing rain the next day in New Hampshire. When living in a place that frequently gets hurricanes, I can just imagine always looking at the radar to try and predict when it’s going to hit. I was a lifeguard over to summer and I always was on the look out for thunderstorms. Just like Gerard, “the radar scope on the Weather Channels becomes familiar, part of the nightly ritual before going to bed…It becomes the first thing you do every morning, even before coffee” (Gerard 223). My reason to check the weather was not as big as a significance as his, but regardless I was still trying to track storms.
New Hampshire does not get hurricanes on the regular, but I remember my dad telling me about a hurricane he experienced in 1985. It was a category 4 hurricane named Gloria. Here is a link describing all the hurricane categories: http://www.gohsep.la.gov/hurricanerelated/HURRICANECATEGORIES.htm. My dad told me how he experienced being in the eye of a hurricane. He said that everything was calm and that the sun was actually shinning. He remembers it being such a drastic change and then after a little bit, the hurricane was back on full force. “The eye sat over out backyard-you could look up and see the actual sky wound into a circular wall, like being down inside a black well, watching the stars out the top” (Gerard 223). This phenomena still amazes me.
Going through any type of long storm can be extremely stressful. Gerard describes the fear of not knowing what is going on outside and just hoping that you will make it through the night. “The great trees cracking and tumbling to the ground in the roaring darkness ready do sound like an artillery barrage-Crack! crack! whump! whump!…The house shudders again and again” (Gerard 226). This description reminded me of the 2008 ice storm in New Hampshire. We got hit to hardest. Freezing rain, I think, is the worst type of rain there is. It comes down from the sky as a liquid but freezes once it touches something. You can’t even walk outside without getting pelted in the face by ice. Everything gets weighed down with the ice and trees start falling everywhere. During the night I kept hearing the same noises Gerard was describing of trees falling. The power lines got so heavy they fell to the ground leaving everyone without power. It was also impossible to drive anywhere because the roads were covered in ice, fallen trees and power lines. Keeping a warm house during this storm was also a hard task. I have a wood stove in my house and my dad stores a lot of wood for the winter so we were all set with our fire. For people without wood stoves, a shelter was set up in my school gymnasium for them to go to. We were left without power for a week and as Gerard states, “When the power comes back on, it’s like a religious experience. Everything becomes possible again” (228). We ended up having no school for a week because it took a while to clean up the roads and to get power back. Here is an article I found describing the ice storm in more detail: http://www.yankeemagazine.com/article/features/ice-storm-2008
Natural disasters can sometimes bring people together. Gerard states how his family stayed at their neighbors house because their house wasn’t as safe with a lot of windows. He also describes people helping others in times of need like when the elderly couple’s house caught on fire and some random people extinguished it for them. People also helped each other clean up the aftermath. My dad would help people remove fallen trees from their yards by cutting them up into firewood. In times of need, people will come together and help each other.

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