CARS HOMES JOBS

First, eat all your perishables

Friday, November 2, 2012
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The way I figure it, you do a nice job rewrapping the generator, you may be able to get your money back, but please, do not embarrass yourself by trying to return the canned Hormel’s chili or the C batteries, OK?

Hey, that’s the way it goes when a “Frankenstorm” fizzles or peters out, at least in our area. Some local weather people did their best to keep it going into the wee hours of Tuesday morning by telling us over and over stuff like “plan for the worst and hope for the best” or “we’re not out of the woods just yet,” or “this could get worse before it gets better” or “better safe than sorry,” then finally conceding, “Well, it appears that we dodged a bullet this time.”

It’s the old Poultry Little Syndrome: The sky is falling, the sky is falling. The sky was falling, just not very much in our area.

As for me, I got myself into a pickle by accepting as gospel that Sandy was on the way. First, I stocked up and then I ate all the perishables in my fridge just to be certain those foods did not spoil. By 9 o’clock Monday night it was apparent that, for the Capital Region at least, Sandy would be mostly a no-show, and I would be the one spoiling.

Look, this is not to make light of a storm that caused huge harm, human and financial, up and down the East Coast. Sixty or so dead and $30 billion to $40 billion in damage do not exactly inspire punchlines. Nothing funny about those grim numbers at all. But when Sandy made a very quick left-hand turn at the lower end of New Jersey, that pretty much lifted the threat of an Irene-like event for the Capital Region.

Call this self-serving if you want, but the weather guys where I work and at some of the other TV stations, as well, seemed able to accept that they would not be tracking another huge, local disaster, one year later. But one or two did not seem to accept that.

I mean, what the hey, they dreamed up the label for their updates (“Kiss Your Kids and Your Pets Goodbye, Continuing Storm of the Century Coverage”) and they went to all that trouble creating the graphics, so why give up the game so easily? At times, they would do live updates either warning that it still can happen here or simply repeating information from Jersey or Manhattan that just was reported by the network.

No clue which TV channel they were watching down in Schoharie County, which sustained about $70 million in damage from Irene’s winds and waters 14 months ago. But folks there could not have been more thankful this time around that Sandy wandered off before reaching upstate.

“People around here were scared, and legitimately so, after what they went through with Irene,” said Kevin Neary, director of emergency management in that county.

“Grateful, grateful, grateful,” one woman in the village of Schoharie told me, succinctly. She and just about every other Schoharie resident said two things: They were understandably grateful and they appreciate too well the bad things that are going on post-storm on the Jersey Shore, in Lower Manhattan and on Long Island.

“If anyone understands what they’re going through, it’s us,” said Sarah Goodrich, executive director of SALT (Schoharie Area Long-Term Recovery), the local nonprofit still helping to coordinate more than a year later the putting back together of that region. “Our thoughts are with them.”

So be thankful that Sandy took that detour and consider those not so lucky. Take back the generator; tell them them you got two of them for your birthday. Store away for next time all those

pithy little storm-prep jewels about not running the generator in a closed area and don’t even consider driving through standing water higher than your calves (stick your foot out and test).

And remember, over the next few days, all the TV stations will be running promos claiming their Sandy coverage was the best. One station probably will claim that it was on the air long before, and long after, the others signed on and off. Remember it was I who told you to consider whether it was useful information that the station gave you, or just another helping of Poultry Little Fricassee.

John McLoughlin is a freelance columnist and a veteran Capital Region journalist now at NewsChannel 13. Opinions expressed in his column are his own and not necessarily those of the newspaper. Reach him at JMcLoughlin@WNYT.com.

 
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