Just before Halloween, in October 2011, an early snowstorm moved swiftly across the East Coast. More than 2 million homes were without power for days, many for weeks. The year before, around the end of August 2010, Hurricane Irene visited and also left her mark. Storms have visited New York on other occasions but it had been a long time since the last really big one on September 21, 1938.
Two years ago, I researched and wrote a paper on the next big storm that would affect New York City. I forecast a Category 3 for 2018. I knew that one day we would experience a big one again. I just did not imagine a Category 1 in 2012. Nevertheless, all the signs were there.
Hurricane Sandy came through New York, New Jersey, and the rest of the East Coast and left a tale for us to tell. Winds, sometimes gusting and blowing at 95 mph, along with a full moon that changed the character of the tides, caused storm surges that are only predicted in 100-year storms.
Hurricane Sandy was expected. Everyone knew the storm was edging up, would eventually turn, and then make landfall. What was not known, or anticipated, were the different changes it made as it made its journey up the mid-Atlantic Highway. Meteorologists said Sandy was an extraordinary, complex, storm system, with many moving parts.
My office, which is located below Wall Street, is closed. Located right where the storm surged more than 13 feet high. We do not know when it will be re-opened. The entire area has been without power since Tuesday night. No one knows the extent of the damage. There is a lot of work to be done. This has been a long, exhausting week and yet we are only at Thursday.
As I sat and reflected over what had just taken place, I realized that many changes are about to occur in our lives because Hurricane Sandy came our way. I looked at the aftermath and thought about how often storms of life come and suddenly, all our well thought out plans have to change. We will come face to face with many storm-like events, such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a home, or a job. Just like unrealistic fear, if we allow them to come in and occupy then the danger will remain long after the storm has passed.
Needless to say, there are many storms ahead. Some of them will even try to knock us off our feet, even forcing us to stay down. How we react to the storms of life make the difference in the outcome.
I like how Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Christie both summarized the situation: we will rebuild, and better. In other words, we will learn from this storm and utilize what we have learned to build to withstand future storms. We have to wait till the tide recedes, clean up the mess, and then keep on moving. The same goes for unrealistic fear. We cannot and must not allow unrealistic fear to stay and occupy. Let us Kick Fear Now and begin the rebuilding process.