I just returned from a 10-day trip to the Lower 48 to visit aging family members and I’m glad to be back home, even if the temperature was a chilly 7 below at my house this morning.
We were in western New York for four days and escaped just in time to miss Hurricane Sandy. We flew out of Buffalo for Chicago on Oct. 29, just as the hurricane was hitting the New Jersey and New York coasts. It was rainy and cold when we left Buffalo and sunny and warm — if you can call 50 degrees warm — when we landed in Chicago, though the wind did blow pretty good for a few days as a result of the storm.
The oncoming storm was the main topic of discussion while we were in New York, much the way it is in Fairbanks prior to the onset of a predicted cold snap in January. My family operates a large dairy farm between Rochester and Buffalo and my two older brothers, who manage the farm, ran around the day or two before the storm hit making sure the farm’s generators were working in the event of a power outage. Fortunately, the storm didn’t hit that area as badly as predicted. It was rainy and windy but the farm never lost power and there was no damage as a result of the storm.
What struck me most about the storm was that even though everyone knew it was coming there wasn’t really anything anyone could do about it. The storm was so big and the areas it hit are so populated, it wasn’t a matter of if the storm would cause damage and destruction but how much damage and destruction it would cause. As it turned out, it was more than anyone imagined.
After seeing all the pictures and reading all the stories about the storm, I returned to Fairbanks thankful to live in a largely unpopulated place where natural disasters come in the form of earthquakes, wildfires, snow storms and cold snaps, not hurricanes.
It’s yet another reason living in Alaska beats living in the Lower 48.