No one here is taking Hurricane Sandy lightly. The town of Ocean City and Worcester County, which is Maryland’s only oceanfront county, have ordered limited partial evacuations. Good thing the summer tourist season is over, or there’d be a lot more people to evacuate. For specifics, see the Ocean City Blog, AKA Maryland On My Mind.
A prolonged siege of rain, high wind, and flooding is expected. It’s raining now (1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon), with some very localized flooding already. But the worst is not expected until Monday afternoon and Monday night.
New York City and Connecticut seem to be getting most of the coverage and sympathy from the Weather Channel. Little Ocean City, MD, and Rehoboth Beach, Del., I suppose, are not major TV news markets. What about Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia? Significant hurricane impact is likely throughout that area, depending on . . . well, whatever it depends upon.
You can predict there’s a hurricane coming, but you can’t predict where and how bad the damage will be. No one could have predicted the extent of the calamity that befell New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. No one could have predicted that an earthquake in Japan would lead to a nuclear plant failure of near apocalyptic proportions. Makes me wonder about the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant near the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.
The “Black Swan effect” is what makes these natural disasters so dangerous. The consequences of the disasters can be something no one has even thought about, and the ripple effects are unknown. Natural disasters don’t happen on a schedule, but history tells us they do happen with some regularity, as the years go by. History does not suggest that a relatively garden-variety disaster might cause a nuclear meltdown, or flood the NYC subway system.
Far as I know, Sandy is still a Category 1 hurricane, but the forecasters say the size and extent of the storm may be unusual, to say the least. Stay tuned.
– John Hayden