500-Year Storms . . . Every Year?

October 30, 2012
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Uber-storm Sandy whisked through Hamilton County last night causing minimal damage. My power went out for about 8 hours, but my hard-wired generator kicked on within 90 seconds. I did dishes and watched TV, like manyof my neighbors. I had to wear ear plugs to bed because of the generator's growl, but that does not qualify as a hardship.
Last year Hurricane Irene wreaked havoc in nearby Essex County, also in the Adirondacks. Because of the volume of water that poured down mountains into already swollen streams and rivers, that storm destroyed roads, homes and bridges. As I recall, Hamilton County replaced a couple of culverts as a result of Irene, but we were all aware that things could have been much worse. It was a novel experience.
We are not accustomed to weather devastation here in the Adirondacks. A huge snowstorm doesn't count – that's merely good skiing or snowmobiling weather. Besides, our highway departments are geared up for snow removal. Heavy snow doesn't hinder travel here the way it does in, say, the Hudson Valley. When I lived on a rural road there, you might see a plow once in two or three days – only when the snow stopped coming down. Sometimes a pick-up truck would go by with someone standing in the bed ladling sand on the road with a shovel.
| I am glad that friends and neighbors here were safe and comfortable. Temperatures remained around 50 degrees all night, and many communities didn't even lose power.  I send positive thoughts to folks in Staten Island, Queens, Manhattan, Long Island and New Jersey where homes and businesses were destroyed and power may not return for days.
I wonder when the next 500-year storm will crop up. Maybe next year.